Jett Duffey Will Be Named the Starter at Quarterback. I may be one of the few that think this, but I believe that that Jett Duffey will be the guy next year. I know a lot of things can happen between now and then and I also think that given the pedigree of Duffey versus the pedigree of McLane Carter, I think Duffey should win out here. I hope that it’s not easy and I hope that Duffey has to work his tail off to earn it, but Duffey should be the guy starting next year.
Texas Tech Defense Will be 70th or Lower in Defensive S&P+. Texas Tech finished 82nd overall in defensive S&P+. That’s an increase of nearly 43 spots on that list and that’s one helluva accomplishment. I think though that there’s still room for improvement. the defensive backfield still has a ways to go and the pass rush can be better. But lots of you were asking for serious improvement and that’s numerical real improvement. It’s not perfect, but it’s real. The next step is to get a top 70 ranking. Oh, sure, I think there’s more meat on the bone than 70, but let’s try to be realistic. A top 70 defense essentially means a defense in the top half of the country.
Dakota Allen Will Be the Team MVP. Consider the last time that the team MVP has been anyone other than the quarterback and I simply cannot recall that player being a defensive player and I think that ends next year with Allen being the best player on the field for Texas Tech in 2018. Allen led the team with 102 tackles, 2 interceptions, 6 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 4 passes broken up, 3 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble for his return to the Texas Tech defense. That’s a pretty amazing season and he’s just getting better.
T.J. Vasher Will Have At Least 10 Touchdowns. Vasher really only played the last half of the season for the most part. Vasher had his first big impact on a game against West Virginia where he caught 2 passes for 113 yards adn 2 touchdowns. Then Vasher disappeared against Iowa State before showing up for good the rest of the way. Vasher had his worst game against TCU where he only caught 1 pass for 7 yards, but Vasher was consistently involved in the offense for just about every game and he was involved and he had 6 touchdowns in 2017 and I think he’ll have 10 pretty easily in 2018. For comparison purposes, Keke Coutee had 9 to lead the team this year, Jonathan Giles had 13 in 2016, and Jakeem Grant had 10 in 2015.
Xavier Martin and De’Quan Bowman Will Start at Inside Receiver. Maybe the likely names would be Jojo Robinson and Antoine Wesley, but that seems like an odd combination in some respects. I like Wesley, but the way the offense has been run in the past is that the inside guys have primarily been smaller and quicker than taller. What I do know is that Xavier Martin is ridiculously quick, has spatial awareness, has moves that won’t quit and after redshirting this year, my guess is that he starts. The other player that I’m guessing gets the call is Bowman, which seems like an unlikely choice with Robinson on the roster, but I’m calling it a hunch more than anything else. Robinson caught 2 passes for 26 yards and Bowman caught 2 for 11. It’s not like stats stack up in favor of one player or another, but I’m thinking with as long as Bowman has been in the system, he’ll get the first crack. I think all three will play significant snaps, but I’ll take these two for now.
Eli Howard Will Have at Least 8 Sacks. Howard was the leading pass rusher with 5.5 sacks, first to Tony Jones, who had 4 sacks. Howard seemingly missed some time early in the season, although he had half a sack against Arizona State and then sacks against Houston and Oklahoma State. Howard is probably the team’s best option to get 8 sacks, or he’s the most known commodity and truthfully, there are guys that could be the sack leader, but I like Howard’s motor. If there is going to be one area that needs to improve along the defensive line, it’s getting to the quarterback, where Texas Tech was 109th overall.
Texas Tech Will 8 Games. I am on the ledge here and my off-season optimism is already at a 10. My reasoning for Texas Tech to win 8 games is that I think at this point, the defense is going to carry the team and with an improved defense, one that is in the top half of the country, and an offense that I think will be marginally improved because I think there will be more quick passes and a reliance on the running game with an improved offensive line, then yeah, maybe you can see it too. Oh, and here’s one more reason. See below.
Texas Tech Will Have 9 All-Conference Performers. here are the guys that I think will be up for all-conference consideration: Jack Anderson; Terance Steele; T.J. Vasher; Dakota Allen; Jordyn Brooks; Jah’Shawn Johnson; Justus Parker; Broderick Washington; and Eli Howard. The biggest stretch is Steele so maybe it’s closer to 8, but I think all of these players will deserve some sort of preseason all-conference consideration. When you have good players, then good things tend to happen.
I’ve given you my predictions, now I’d love to hear yours in the comments.