Amaro's Home Finale?

Saturday may very well end up being Jace Amaro's last game at Jones AT&T Stadium as the junior tight end hinted Thursday on Twitter. Fans shouldn't be surprised as Amaro has been lighting it up all year and possesses all the physical tools to excel at the next level.

Texas Tech's Jace Amaro is the best TIGHT END (are you listening Mackey Award committee?) in the country and easily the Red Raiders' top NFL prospect.

As someone who covers Texas Tech for a living it would be easy/lazy to write a weekly Amaro story dedicated to his ridiculous production this season, so I've waited.

On Thursday, the junior rattled many Texas Tech fans with this seemingly innocuous tweet about the Red Raiders' home finale Saturday against Kansas State, "If you have no other reason to go out to this game, come for our seniors. Who knows, it might be my last game at the Jones too."

I'm sure Amaro knew it would generate a reaction. And I'm not about to question the merits of Twitter or his use of it. As a journalist, who in their right mind would criticize another avenue of information?

But are people really surprised he might forgo his senior season and leave early for the NFL?

He is 6-foot-5, 260 or 270 pounds -- depending on who you ask, has been clocked at a 4.6-second 40-yard time and has caught 79 passes for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns this season. He's also a very capable and physical blocker at the point of attack, which is an underrated part of his game because he's almost exclusively split out in the slot, so the uninitiated have, at times, questioned his blocking ability. Which is a joke.

I hope he leaves after this season. Not because I don't want him to play for Tech anymore, but because he's ready.

Some might ask, what about getting his degree? That's important, but he can still do that after he signs his NFL contract.

More than anything I'm worried about him getting injured and never getting his shot in the league. He takes more vicious hits over the middle on a regular basis than anyone I can remember in a long time. He took a season's worth just last week against Oklahoma State.

You have to know that every week the opposing defensive coaches are challenging their linebackers and safeties to hit Amaro as hard as possible on every snap. I would.

I find myself shocked every week that he's made it through the game. In fact the only question I asked at the postgame press conference Saturday was basically "Jace are you OK?" which came out something like "where are you health-wise after taking all those vicious hits tonight?"

His response?

"I play hurt most of the time. It's just one of those things where you've got to keep going. I'm definitely not 100 percent, anywhere close to that. But I just take it to heart because you never know when your last play is going to be. If I can play, I'm going to play. There's just a little tweak or whatever. I'm not going to come out. That's just kind of the things I take."

I can't remember ever worrying about a non-quarterback's health as much as Amaro. After all this is football, no matter how much the rules change it's still about physically moving someone against their will somewhere they don't want to go.

Maybe it's because I've been blessed to cover amazing athletes at all three levels of the sport and have seen some incredibly talented players lose their shot due to injury.

Those worried about losing Amaro's production next season, don't. Though he is a unique talent, if there's one position Texas Tech has absolutely no trouble recruiting it's wideout, especially inside receiver. Tech has an abundance of talent at the position and more on the way in the 2014 class.

I remember when he committed to Texas Tech as a four-star recruit and how exciting it was for fans to land one of the best players in the country.

He came in as one of the cornerstones of the most heralded recruiting class in Texas Tech history in 2011.

It hasn't always been a smooth ride for Amaro in Lubbock. His freshman season the Red Raiders fielded one of the worst teams in decades before he was arrested that spring for felony credit card abuse with teammate Kenny Williams. He missed most of last year due to injury and was then ejected for throwing a punch in his return in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

It doesn't make him a bad kid just a college kid who has made some mistakes. What I do know is Jace Amaro is a heck of a football player, who has put it all together on the field and can play in the NFL right now.

I don't know if his tweet will put any more butts in the stands that were not already going to be there, but Saturday may be and should be his last game at the Jones, and that is worthy of recognition.

Raider Power Top Stories