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.
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.