Occasionally there may be some doubt as to which player is most critical to the Texas Tech football team’s success. Particularly in years when the Red Raiders don’t have a supernal offensive player, and the defense needs all the help it can get, one can make a case for a defensive player being numero uno.
That is not the case in 2016.
Leading the Red Raiders squad into action this season will be a truly special quarterback. Many gray-bearded Tech fans declare that Patrick Mahomes will go down as the best quarterback to come through this institution to date. Some will assert that Mahomes’ name and number will one day be added to Texas Tech’s Ring of Honor alongside Zach Thomas, Gabe Rivera, Dave Parks, Donny Anderson and E.J. Holub.
Still others believe that Mahomes is currently the best player in college football regardless of whether or not he actually wins the Heisman Trophy, which is not impossible.
His statistics as a sophomore were certainly impressive enough to make the case that the above encomium is valid. Mahomes passed for 4,653 yards and 36 touchdowns. He completed 64 percent of his passes. He rushed for another 456 yards and 10 more touchdowns. And he led the entirety of the FBS in total offense.
What’s more, he accomplished all of this while frequently scrambling for his life as enemy rushers collapsed the pocket or looped around the edge. (If you doubt this, take a look at Mahomes’ highlights from 2015.)
As great as Mahomes was last season, it is likely that he will be even better in 2016. You see, Mahomes is also an ace baseball player, and hitherto has split his time between practicing for Texas Tech’s football and baseball teams.
No more. Mahomes now concentrates solely on the gridiron, and his grasp of football’s nuances has assuredly improved. And at this point, his overall skill is such that further strides will be confined to the subtleties and peripherals of the game.
Furthermore, a Mahomes who was big and stout enough to truck unsuspecting tacklers a year ago, is now up to 230 pounds. He is a quarterback built very much like an outside linebacker. A quarterback who was strong enough to slough off many a would-be sacker last season, will be even better equipped to do so in the present. Mahomes was very tough to sack in 2015; he’ll be double tough in that category in 2016.
At this point, virtually everything that can be said about Mahomes has been said. All that remains is for him to put on the pads and do his thing. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to begin watching.