Photo By Steven Chapman

Texas Tech Regular Season Report Card

A look at how every Texas Tech position group graded out for the 2015 regular season according to RaiderPower.com senior writer Joe Yeager.

Quarterbacks

As expected, Patrick Mahomes showed tremendous promise as a sophomore. He finished third nationally in passing yardage per game (357) and No. 28 in passer rating. He also rushed for 484 yards and 10 touchdowns. If the Red Raiders manage to rise to elite status in the next two seasons, Mahomes will be in the Heisman conversation. As it is, a modest 7-5 win mark and a couple of shaky mid-season performances keep Mahomes’ final grade from being as gaudy as it could be. Grade: A-

Running Backs

 DeAndre Washington had one of the greatest seasons by a running back in Texas Tech football history. He also fared well in national rankings finishing No. 12 in total rushing yards, and No. 13 in rushing yards per game. Not bad for a back in a spread offense. Washington was also a tiger in pass protection, and contributed 34 receptions and 304 receiving yards to the passing game. Justin Stockton was more than adequate as a backup. Grade: A

USA TODAY Sports

Receivers

Jakeem Grant had a spectacular season, and that’s what most people will remember about the 2015 receivers. However, this unit was also quite inconsistent earning grades in the C, D and F range four times this season. Dropped passes were an occasional problem, as was the inability to get open. The loss of Dylan Cantrell, who was expected to be a huge contributor to the offense, undoubtedly hurt the receiving corps. True freshmen Jonathan Giles, Tony Brown (pictured above) and Keke Coutee did a few good things, but will be expected to do much more in 2016. Grade: B-

Offensive Line

The offensive line began the season in superb fashion and played like gangbusters through the first quarter of the slate. But injuries to Justin Murphy, Baylen Brown and Le'Raven Clark, combined with a step up in competition, brought this unit back down to earth somewhat. For a few weeks the Red Raiders led the nation in sacks allowed, but finished No. 49 in that category. Five sacks allowed to Kansas was the undoubted low point. But Le’Raven Clark had an exceptional season, and the group as a whole blocked well in the running game. Grade: B

Defensive Line

The defensive coordinators change, but the song remains the same. Hence, the inability to stop the running game, which seems like an eternal problem, again reared its ugly head in 2015. The Red Raiders finished No. 126 nationally in rushing defense, No. 126 in rushing yards per carry allowed, and No. 101 in sacks. The defensive line did show some improvement late in the season, but fatigue caused by a lack of depth resulted in inevitable late-game collapses. Unheralded Demetrius Alston may have been Tech’s best defensive lineman, and although freshman Breiden Fehoko took his lumps, he also delivered some in the last few games of the season. Grade: D-

Linebackers

What goes for the defensive line also goes for the linebackers. Micah Awe and Dakota Allen were 1-2 on the team in tackles, but most of them took place after ball-carriers had already gained significant yardage. But, given that youngsters Allen, D'Vonta Hinton and Malik Jenkins played huge roles for the linebackers, there is some excuse for their ineffectiveness and hope for the future. Hinton in particular, looks like he could be a playmaker, and that’s one thing this defense desperately needs. Grade: D-

Photo By Steven Chapman

Secondary

The Red Raiders finished No. 93 nationally in pass defense efficiency, and No. 114 in pass defense, so it was hardly a great year for this group. Still, safeties Jah'Shawn Johnson and J.J. Gaines (pictured above) were probably the defense’s best players, and corners Tevin Madison and Nigel Bethel were occasionally impressive. Tackling, however, was a problem as Tech’s DBs had trouble contending with big, fast running backs barreling through the line of scrimmage without so much as being touched. Grade: C-

Special Teams

There were bright spots. Jakeem Grant finished No. 21 nationally in kickoff returns, the combination of Taylor Symmank and Michael Barden punted well, and Clayton Hatfield banged home 14 of 16 field goal attempts. But Tech’s punt return game was anemic, and punt return coverage (No. 117), and kickoff coverage (No. 118) were abysmal. Grade: C 


Raider Power Top Stories