Texas Tech has been waiting for a guy to step up as a pass rushing threat since Pete Robertson had 12 sacks in 2014. Since then, we’ve had plenty of guys who were offseason stories that showed potential to be that guy, but none have been able to have that dominant impact.
Following his two sack performance against Mississippi State that helped him finish with seven overall for the season, Tyree Wilson is that guy heading into this season. Wilson has the physical profile of someone that will play on Sundays in the future, and if he wants to boost his draft stock this is going to be his last chance.
Wilson is likely going to have the same role as Kayvon Thibodeaux and lineup on the strongside of the offense. His 6”6’, 275lb frame is going to be hard for anyone to move and he should be a solid contributor in the pass and run game.
With Wilson being the guy that teams are going to have to key in on, the biggest question is who will step up alongside him?
A few guys that I would like to see fill that role include Jesiah Pierre, Charles Esters III, L.B. Moore and Robert Wooten. Pierre has been at Tech for a while now after transferring from Florida and has a chance to finally get into that starting lineup and make an impact.
Esters III is a Redshirt Freshman who was getting plenty of reps in the spring game and is a guy that I would like to see take a big step forward this season. He was a 3-star prospect coming out of high school and has all the potential in the world to be a threat getting to the quarterback.
Moore and Wooten were on the field a lot during the spring game and both should be key pieces on the outside for Tech this season. Obviously in a new scheme it’ll take a bit for guys to get accustomed to new roles, so I would like to see how both guys improved from the spring game as they both seemed to overcommit on the run and would get washed in by offensive linemen pretty frequently.
Other guys that could contribute to the depth of the Edge rushers include Jackson Baggett, Bryce Ramirez, James Grando and Issac Smith.
Ramirez was in the mix last season but mostly on special teams. He was given some opportunities in the spring game and looked solid defending the run and pass. Grando is one of the faster guys at the position and I saw him chase a few plays down from the backside in the Spring Game that showed some promise. He has a high motor and will be someone to keep an eye out for.
Baggett and Smith were on the field with each other quite a bit in the spring game and didn’t have much of an impact. I don’t expect either to start this year but they could give some of the main guys a break and hold their own.
Overall I like the potential of this group, but I would like to see a few guys step up and show that they can be key contributors. I’m tired of seeing Tech end up with as many team sacks as some guys are getting on their own.
I would love to set a goal for this team and see if we can get over 25 sacks as a whole this season. Given that the last time we were anywhere near that was 2018, I don’t think that’s too low of a bar.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this new defense uses the athleticism that these guys possess and the impact that these guys will have on the game.