The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake: July 10th

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

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 A really nice article from LAJ’s Carlos Silva, Jr. on Tommy Hamilton IV, the transfer center who will be eligible this fall. Silva tells the story of Hamilton, who has gone from a 300 pound center that might not be so motivated to a highly motivated 253 pound center who is eating right and training his tail off. Hamilton acknowledges that the year off for him was a blessing as it allowed him to work on so many things without the pressure of playing.

While it’s not often you’ll catch Hamilton without a smile on his face, the low-post scorer turned serious when asked what his year off provided.

“It gave me time to get everything under control,” he said. “I’m from there (Chicago), and I didn’t want to sit out. That’s why I didn’t transfer until my third year.

“As I see now, it was probably the best thing that’s happened in my career. I had time to work out, change my habits and with no pressure, you know? That’s what I needed at that point of my life.”

Hamilton attributes strength coach John Reilly as someone who helped him immensely.

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Buy your very own Staking The Plains t-shirt at the Staking The Plains Threadless Shop. Click on that danged shirt (or the link).

 LAJ’s Don Williams writes about the linebacker position being both good and deep, defensive coordinator David Gibbs comments on Jordyn Brooks, Dakota Allen and D’Vonta Hinton. Here’s a bit on Brooks:

“He’s 245 pounds and can run and hit,” Gibbs said. “He’s what everybody else is playing with. That’s how I look at it. He’s what everybody else we’re playing against is playing with at linebacker.”

Brooks started from week one last season and made a season-high 18 tackles in the finale against Baylor. Asked to what extent Brooks met expectations, Gibbs said, “Probably the first half of the season not very good, and the second half much better.

“And he played with a bad shoulder the whole year, so that showed some toughness. He didn’t tap out. He kept grinding and kept competing, and then he played his best game against Baylor, which only helps your confidence.

“You hope that’s what he is. You hope that’s who he is, but he’s got to go do it again.”

 LAJ’s Don Williams profiles quarterback Nic Shimonek and his where his dogged attitude comes from as well as his work ethic:

“Then when he came in (to Tech), right when he got here,” Cantrell said, “he was one of the hardest workers right off the bat. Always getting extra work in the weight room. Always wanting to throw extra, so it didn’t take long at all. Right off the bat, everybody knew how determined and hard-working he was, so we have all the faith and confidence in him.”

Since leaving behind his scholarship at Iowa to walk on at Tech, Shimonek’s proven himself to coaches, who made him one of the team’s eight captains for winter conditioning. Strength and conditioning coach Rusty Whitt said Shimonek gave Patrick Mahomes a good push last year. He’s won over Kingsbury, who compares Shimonek to B.J. Symons in persona and style of play.

“Last year is when I really saw the light turn on,” Kingsbury said, “when he started getting reps with the ones because of Pat’s injuries. He was moving the football consistently when we put him in there, handled himself like a starter all last year. That’s when I knew we had something.”

 LAJ’s Don Williams also covers the safety position (as an aside, I’ve done a whole write-up on the position battles at safety to be posted later this week) and talks with defensive coordinator about the four players vying for playing time, including Jah’Shawn Johnson, Justus Parker, Kisean Allen and Vaughnte Dorsey:

Kisean Allen started the last nine games last season at right safety, and now he’ll try to fend off newcomer Vaughnte Dorsey. It’s easy for some to write off Allen, once a no-name recruit, but he never goes away.

“He just comes to practice every day, and he works his butt off and he competes,” Tech defensive coordinator David Gibbs said. “He’s that guy that, if somebody gets sick or gets hurt, he goes and plays nickel. Last spring (2016), he played corner the whole spring. He has versatility and he’s got enough football savvy.

“He’s that guy you’re always trying to beat out. He plays hard.”

 Miscellaneous . . . LandGrant Gauntlet’s Chris Ross looked at the USA Today financial reports and the overall income related to the other conferences and the Big 12 is doing just fine . . . also from LGG’s Ross the most and least hated teams in the Big 12 and Baylor tops the chart while Texas Tech is in the middle, 5th . . .

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