1. QB Tyler Shough (6-5/225): Shough’s season last year was middling and I think that a lot of fans were ready for a change at the quarterback spot when he was injured. At the spring game he threw two interceptions so I don’t know that his spring performance helped either. Shough has treated his senior year as a job, he’s got one class and he’s spending pretty much his entire day at the football facility, and if there is anyone that has something to prove, it is Shough. I’d also add that Zach Kittley’s offense will end up being a benefit for Shough because he’ll display (that could be good or bad) his ability to read defenses. Shough’s arm is good enough to play in the NFL and I think it has always been between the ears for Shough and that decision-making, so this is either going to work fantastically or he’s going to be what he’s always been.
2. S Marquis Waters (6-1/215): Waters was another injury candidate that didn’t quite get to display what he could do. I think that from a physical standpoint, Waters is an NFL player physically and it makes sense for him to return and show that he can play at a high level and he really needs to play at an All-Big 12 level to have a shot playing in the NFL. DeRuyter is probably a better defensive coordinator to display what he can do over Keith Patterson (disguising coverages and think that Marcel Yates has the credentials to be a defensive coordinator), but I want to see what DeRuyter does with him. He’s a perfect candidate to play a hybrid role between safety and linebacker and be a tackling machine.
3. IR Chadarius Townsend (6-0/220): I think it has been two years at running back with very little to show from it as a transfer from Alabama. He was never really let go as a runner, he was a change of pace and sometimes returner. I don’t know how much burn that Townsend will get at inside receiver, but an inside receiver that is 220 that can spell Myles Price could be really beneficial. And when Kittley wants to go 4-wide, then he makes a ton of sense to pair with Price. I think it goes without saying that Xavier White (6-0/200) is another player that can benefit from a move to inside receiver. Aside from Price, I think that Nehemiah Martinez is really the only other inside receiver option other than true freshman Tyler King.
4. DL Philip Blidi (6-3/295): I am ready to led Blidi eat, I’ve sort of felt that Blidi needs to have a bigger opportunity, and maybe he needed to earn it or maybe the prior coaches were afraid to trust him when Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford were available, but Blidi offers the ability to be a defensive tackle that can get up the field and there’s not a ton players like him on the roster. And the prior staff has developed him from a size standpoint, but he just haven’t had the opportunity to play, largely because they trusted Hutchings and Bradford so much.
5. S Reggie Pearson, Jr. (5-11/200): Another player where last season was cut short because of injury and he’s another guy that seems to have NFL written in his future, he is a hard-hitting safety that is known for big hits that he really didn’t have the opportunity to display last year. Pearson transferred from Wisconsin seeking more opportunity and a medical diagnosis that cut short his campaign at Wisconsin (they essentially notified him that he would not be able to play at Wisconsin any further) and found new life at Texas Tech (from what I recall last year he was cleared by Texas Tech doctors and a third party medical opinion). There are three defensive backs that McGuire and DeRuyter and Marcel Yates mention on a regular basis at safety: Waters, Pearson and Dadrion Taylor-Demerson.
Who do you have as someone to prove? Let’s hear from you!