Critical 20: No. 6 Micah Awe

Like any football team, Texas Tech has several players whose performance will be particularly critical to the squad's success. These players, whether by virtue of experience, leadership, importance of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be very conspicuous were they absent for any reason.

Heretofore, Micah Awe’s Texas Tech career has been a bit of an enigma. The author first noticed him during the Red-Black Scrimmage of Awe’s freshman year. A receiver caught a pass on an intermediate crossing route on the other side of the field from Awe. Yet Awe, like Gabe Rivera tracking down Arkansas quarterback Tom Jones, sprinted across the field and leveled—with utmost hostility, I might add—the receiver just before he reached the goal line. Based upon that play alone, I foresaw great things ahead for young Awe.

Yet here we are on the cusp of Awe’s senior campaign and he has started only four games, all of them last year. What’s more, when Awe has gotten snaps in actual games, he has made plays, and has proved to be, without question, pound for pound, Tech’s most physical defensive player. Strange then that he has played relatively little. And it’s not as if he’s been biding his time, waiting for a host of All Americans to matriculate. Quite the opposite, actually.

If one didn’t know any better, one would suspect that Awe got in a doghouse early on, and only now, with a new man at the helm in the form of David Gibbs, has he gotten fully out of it.

Speculation aside, however, Gibbs has certainly taken a more positive approach to Awe than any previous coach. Following the Petro-scrimmage he stated that Awe was, without question, the best linebacker on the roster. Suffice it to say we never heard such words about Awe before!

Now as a junior Awe accumulated 69 tackles, third best on the team, and only 12 behind team-leading Pete Robertson. That is rather salty productivity for a player who started only four games. He also had three tackles for loss, a sack and three passes defended.

So now Awe, who has always had a bit of an edge about being smallish and certain schools declining to recruit him, gets his chance. He will start at middle linebacker from game one, with freshman Dakota Allen in support. Not only is the job entirely his, he occupies one of the most important positions on the defense. The opportunity is there for Awe to really make his mark and to show everybody—including those associated with Tech football—just what they’ve been missing.

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