Photo By Steven Chapman

Critical 20: No. 16 Tevin Madison

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.

Tevin Madison is one of only two Texas Tech defensive backs to start all 13 games last season (Jah'Shawn Johnson), and he started them all at cornerback. It is theoretically possible, however, that Madison won’t start a single game in 2016 but will be even more important to the team than he was a year ago.

In a surprising development, Madison was formally moved to safety during the spring and finished as the backup behind Johnson. It was also reported, however, that Madison wasn’t exactly entrenched at safety inasmuch as he got reps a few positions, including nickel back, during the spring.

At 5-foot-10 and only 165 pounds, Madison is hardly a prototype safety at the Power 5 level. But Madison certainly has the mentality to at least provide relief snaps in that role. Hence, he’s always been a tough competitor who is willing to lower the shoulder and stick his head in a pile of muscle and sinew. 

Photo By Steven Chapman
 But realistically, although the mind may be willing, the body is unlikely to hold up to 12 or 13 weeks playing safety and only safety. Instead, look for Madison to lend a hand in various different roles, and it is hardly out of the question that he could again start at cornerback at some point. 

No Texas Tech defender had a knockout season in 2015, but Madison was about as effective as anybody. He registered 67 tackles (fifth best on the team), two interceptions, a team best 11 passes broken up and 13 passes defended, and two forced fumbles. The two forced fumbles, incidentally, suggest that Madison plays more physically than his physique would suggest. And indeed, that is the case. 

Going into summer camp Texas Tech will be thin at cornerback. Excluding Madison, the only corners on the roster likely to see significant snaps during conference action will be Paul Banks, Justis Nelson, D.J. Polite-Bray and Thierry Nguema. Incoming freshmen in the forms of Douglas Coleman, DaMarcus Fields and Desmon Smith may provide help, or they may not. The more the freshmen play at corner, the more Madison will be freed to contribute at other positions in the secondary.

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