There are a lot of questions heading into spring ball. Over the next several days leading up to the first practice we'll be looking at five of the biggest questions surrounding the team one question, one day at a time.
4. Which Redshirts will make the biggest splash in 2016?
For the first time in the Kliff Kingsbury era Tech was able to redshirt a substantial amount of freshman as 13 of the 19 players from the 2015 signing class who made it to campus redshirted.
I really am excited to see what all of those guys can do this spring, but I have begrudgingly narrowed the list down to five players I am most curious to see if they can step up and take over pivotal roles on the team.
Corey Dauphine (pictured above left) is definitely one of those guys, but we talked about him with the running backs story Wednesday so I'm going to use his spot on someone else.
Quan Shorts (pictured above middle): He's big and fast. He's also extremely athletic when battling for the ball in the air and runs with physicality after the catch. Yep, I'm a big fan of Shorts. A lingering hamstring injury in fall camp led to the redshirt which may have been a blessing in disguise.
Donta Thompson (pictured above right): He's one of the more impressive athletes on the roster at 6-foot-5, 200-plus pounds. I'm anxious to see where all Kingsbury moves him around the formation as he has been given looks in the slot at Y, and outside in an effort to give Mahomes and Co. a bigger target on the perimeter.
Madison Akamnonu (pictured above): Beast stud. The guy is just a monster at 6-foot-5, 300-plus pounds with a freakish wingspan and athletic ability. He's also one of the funnier and outgoing guys on the team. I will be absolutely shocked if he doesn't start next season. The question is where?
Broderick Washington: We know he's strong. Several players and coaches have commented on Washington's strength, but he was also reportedly lost in fall camp. Recent reports have been promising, but it's time to see him line up and whip a double team so we can all scream hallelujah! and rejoice.
Jamile Johnson: Who is this guy? He was committed to North Carolina, then flipped to UT, then flipped to Texas Tech shortly before National Signing Day. Kingsbury and Gibbs both said on NSD he could start at corner as a true freshman. By the end of fall camp he was a safety. By the end of the season his redshirt was intact and he was in the linebackers meeting room. He's big, fast and looks the part, but can he play and at what position are the questions right now.
Other freshman redshirts:
OL Terrence Steele--Could start.
OL Trace Ellison--He could, too.
OL Cody Wheeler--Curious to see how he's progressed.
OL Conner Dyer--Suffered a tough knee injury, but expected to make a full recovery and has a lot of potential.
OL Paul Stawarz--Not a freshman, but part of the signing class. Could develop into a solid lineman, if not a starter.
DE Lonzell Gilmore--Put on a lot of weight and possesses a lot of athleticism.
SAF Christian Taylor--He's big and likes to hit. He's definitely looked the part in the limited amount of time I have seen him in practice.
My question for you is which freshman redshirt are you most excited to see on the field?
Bonus: Who is your pick for most underrated of the bunch?