Halfway through May is not too early to start thinking about who our starting guys are going to be when the football season kicks off September 3rd against Murray State.
After watching the Spring Game a few times through as well as looking at snap counts, coaches interviews and a few other data points, I’m going to try and piece together what I believe will be the starting group out there when the season kicks off for the Texas Tech Football team.
Obviously this is subject to change, but from what I’ve seen this as of right now looks like the possible depth chart once the season kicks off.
QB- Tyler Shough, Donovan Smith, Behren Morton
- Donovan Smith had some great performances when Shough went out for the season, but overall I feel like Shough will win the job to start with both Smith and Morton right there waiting for him to have a bad performance or two
RB- Tahj Brooks, Sarodorick Thompson, Cam’Ron Valdez, Nehemiah Martinez
- This is a two-headed monster in the backfield with both Brooks and Thompson taking a majority of the snaps amongst each other. Brooks could pull away as the possible lead back, but don’t count out Thompson and his explosive play ability. Valdez will look to be the third guy after redshirting last year but seeing action in two games.
XWR- J.J. Sparkman, Brady Boyd, Trey Cleveland
- Where the outside receivers lineup depends on how the new coaching staff sees them, but this seems to be the spots that fit these guys the best right now. Sparkman finished strong last year and should be one of the lead guys on the outside. Boyd is going to find himself in that rotation alongside Cleveland with how talented this group is.
ZWR- Loic Fouonji, Jerand Bradley, Nate Floyd
- Fouonji and Bradley will look to start in one of these positions, and both are very capable of doing so. Fouonji made some huge plays last year, and Bradley is looking forward to being the next big-time receiver to come out of Tech. Floyd might be the odd man out in this position group as he makes the transition to playing receiver.
Slot- Myles Price, Xavier White, Chadarius Townsend
- I believe that at the end of the year Price will lead the team in targets and be the best receiver on this team. He’s talented enough when it comes to route running to get himself open and has inside/outside versatility thanks to his knowledge of where to be on every play. White and Townsend will be making the change to full-time receiver, and I think that White will be on the field a lot with how much of a big-play threat he is.
TE- Mason Tharp, Baylor Cupp, Henry Teeter
- Tharp was going to be the starter and likely lead guy once Koontz left, but the addition of Cupp makes this tight end room a juggernaut for defenses to handle. Tharp will likely get more snaps, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Cupp eats into them more and more as the season goes on with how talented he is. Teeter is likely a run-situation guy who also is capable of getting open and making plays for the offense.
LT- Caleb Rogers, Ty Buchanan, Ethan Carde
LG- Weston Wright, Cole Spencer
C- Cade Briggs,
RG- Landon Peterson,
RT- Monroe Mills, Michael Shanahan, Sheridan Wilson
- The entire offensive line group is just a guessing game as to where the coaching staff sees these guys fitting in. Rogers was the starting RT last season and will likely head over to the left side. Briggs and Mills are two key transfers that likely become instant starters, and Wright will also come in with starting experience for this team. Peterson seems like the early favorite at the other guard position, but maybe one of the newcomers can push him for that spot. Tech has had a tendency of putting guys inside that have bigger frames.
Edge- Tyree Wilson, Myles Cole, L.B. Moore
NT- Jaylon Hutchings, Tony Bradford Jr.
DT- Philip Blidi, E’Maurion Banks, Blake Burris
- Wilson is the key guy on the defensive line and will likely be in the backfield on a majority of his snaps. Hutchings is the returning big man upfront and will be a huge factor in the run game for this new defense. Blidi likely finds his way in the starting role, but these QB Hunters are going to be rotating plenty in order to stay fresh. Look out for Myles Cole to be someone that could potentially lead this team in sacks if it isn’t Wilson.
Sam- Jesiah Pierre, Bryce Ramirez, Charles Esters III
Mike- Krishon Merriweather, Tyrique Matthews, Matt Young
Will- Dimitri Moore, Jacob Rodriguez, Derrick Lewis II
- This is another one of those position groups where the coaching staff will have to sort out where they see this guys fitting in. As of right now, I can say that Merriweather and Moore are best fit for the positions that I have them. Pierre, Ramirez and Esters are going to be key pass rushers but Pierre will likely be out there the most.
Star- Marquis Waters, Kosi Eldridge, Cam White
CB- Adrian Frye, Malik Dunlap, Rayshad Williams, Kobee Minor, Cameron Watts
FS- Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Tyler Owens
SS- Reggie Pearson Jr., Tyler Owens
- This is by far the best position group on this team. Everyone listed can start and give this team a chance to be great, lead by guys like Waters, DTD, Frye and Pearson. Williams will get some time out there as well, and I can’t wait to see how fast Owens plays as he is probably one of the fastest guys on the team.
K- Trey Wolff
P- Austin McNamara
KR- Chadarius Townsend, Nehemiah Martinez
PR- Adrian Frye, Myles Price
LS- Jackson Knotts
- Wolff has some of the biggest shoes to fill with Jonathan Garibay being gone. McNamara provides a solid leg at the punter position, and Knotts is one of the few guys that has his position locked up with how good he’s been. Frye provides a spark as a punt returner, but I’d like to see Townsend improve in the kick return game. Coach McGuire has been raving about Martinez, so if he’s not going to get many snaps at running back look for him to be out there on special teams.