This year’s spring football game has been something that Texas Tech football fans have been looking forward to for a while. With the addition of Tyler Shough to the quarterback room, we all knew there would be plenty of position battles to look forward to. One of the positions that has been set in stone is junior Erik Ezukanma on the outside at receiver.
After a solid season that saw him finish as an All-Big 12 receiver, head coach Matt Wells confirmed that EZ broke his right arm when trying to land on the ground during practice on the Thursday before the spring game. He had surgery the following day and the hope is that he is able to return before the season starts in September.
With this injury coming at the end of spring ball, Tech is going to need someone to step-up in his absence in case he isn’t able to return in time for the start of the season. Replacing EZ and what he brings to the team is nearly impossible, but Tech has some guys that have shown promise this spring that can hopefully develop even further with the added reps they’ll be getting.
Most of the receivers who are upperclassmen are guys that will be used mainly in the slot. Trey Cleveland and Loic Fouonji are the two guys who will be playing outside receiver that saw some playing time last year. While their stats weren’t eye-opening, both players showed promise when they got the ball in their hands and made plays that showed they are capable of making an impact in the Big 12.
The two youngsters that have been opening eyes are J.J Sparkman and Jerand Bradley. Sparkman is a redshirt freshman and Bradley is fresh off of leading Desoto to the state semifinals in January. Sparkman is listed at 6’4 while Bradley is listed at 6’5, and both of them use that to their advantage.
I would like to see each of these guys take a leap this offseason for Tech and become reliable parts of this offense. The depth we have at inside receiver should help us as well with Mclane Mannix, Dalton Rigdon and Myles Price each being able to play significant snaps.
Another guy that I am really excited about is Sterling Galban. He’s a junior and hasn’t seen much playing time due to injuries but is a guy that I was looking forward to watching when he came out of Burnet. He’s a playmaker that can make an impact on offense and special teams as a returner. He has plenty of competition to overcome but if he can stay healthy, he’s a guy that can help Techs offense.
Ezukanma’s injury is very unfortunate and without him this offense will need to find another playmaker to help put a band aid over this loss. One thing that I’m sure of is that we will never be at a shortage of receivers as long as the name on the front of the jerseys says Texas Tech. I’m looking forward to the competition that will come from this, as well as a speedy recovery for EZ.