Photo By Steven Chapman

Texas Tech Spring Ball Superlatives

Now that Texas Tech has wrapped up spring practice the staff takes a look at the top performers, biggest concerns and 2017 season outlook for the Red Raiders. Tech fans also weigh-in on what they saw throughout the spring.

Texas Tech QB Nic Shimonek/Photo By Steven Chapman


Alyssa Chrisope, reporter: Nic Shimonek

Jarret Johnson, publisher: Shimonek

Joe Yeager, senior writer: D.J. Polite-Bray

Zach Tanner, reporter: Shimonek

Fans, Tech's are the best: Shimonek. Also receiving votes: Keke Coutee, defensive line

Texas Tech receiver Keke Coutee/Photo By Steven Chapman

Offensive MVP

Alyssa: Keke Coutee

Jarret: Coutee

Joe: Dylan Cantrell

Zach: Keke

Fans: Cantrell. Also receiving votes: Shimonek, Coutee

Texas Tech CB Octavious Morgan/Photo By Steven Chapman

Defensive MVP

Alyssa: Jah'Shawn Johnson

Jarret: Broderick Washington

Joe: D'Vonta Hinton

Zach: Octavious Morgan

Fans: Morgan. Also receiving votes: Broderick Washington, Joe Wallace, D.J. Polite-Bray

Texas Tech DL Nelson Mbanasor/Photo By Steven Chapman

Top Newcomer

Alyssa: Nelson Mbanasor

Jarret: Octavious Morgan

Joe: Jack Anderson

Zach: Eli Howard

Fans: Morgan, Vaughnte Dorsey. Also receiving votes: Tony Jones

Texas Tech CB D.J. Polite-Bray

Top Surprise Performer

Alyssa: T.J. Vasher

Jarret: Lonzell Gilmore

Joe: Justus Parker

Zach: Polite-Bray

Fans: Polite-Bray. Also receiving votes: Gilmore, Shimonek, Howard

Texas Tech WR Dylan Cantrell/Photo By Steven Chapman

Top Position Group 

Alyssa: Defensive line

Jarret: Receiver

Joe: Defensive Backs

Zach: DL

Fans: Receiver. Also receiving votes: Defensive line, secondary

Photo By Steven Chapman

Top Spring Moment

Alyssa: When Nelson Mbanasor got a monster tackle behind the line of scrimmage in one of the practices I was at.

Jarret: Shimonek's 25-yard bullet off his back foot with pressure in his face to TJ Vasher to convert a third down in the Lubbock scrimmage. 

Joe: Keke Coutee catches an intermediate ball over the middle, and with some help from Cameron Batson, and a lot of fancy footwork of his own, houses it from about 78 yards in Saturday Night Lights.

Zach: Nick McCann's TD 

Fans: Frisco/Make-A-Wish kids. Also receiving votes: Kingsbury's culture change, McCann's interception for a touchdown, Da'Leon Ward being OK after the scare

Tanner Mordecai (© Greg Powers)

Most Important Recruit Visitor

Alyssa: It was Aaron Cochran…but we know how that turned out.

Jarret: Tanner Mordecai on junior day at the beginning of spring ball.

Joe: Aaron Cochran

Zach: Cochran 

Fans: Cochran

Texas Tech receiver Cameron Batson/Photo By Steven Chapman

Biggest Team Strength

Alyssa: Wide receivers 

Jarret: Passing game

Joe: receiving depth and overall talent

Zach: receiver depth 

Fans: Receiver. Also receiving votes: Defensive back depth, passing attack, attitude.

Texas Tech OL and RB Demarcus Felton/Photo By Steven Chapman

Biggest Team Concern 

Alyssa: Offensive line

Jarret: Running game

Joe: generating a pass rush

Zach: Interior offensive line

Fans: Offensive line. Also receiving votes: Running back, defensive end. 

Overall Evaluation 

Alyssa: Defense does look improved, but I am not giving them full credit until the season starts.

Jarret: The defense has upgraded personnel and depth with more help to come in the summer, though a lack of a dominant pass rusher is troubling. Offensively, the passing attack looks stout with Shimonek behind center and an elite receiving corps to distribute the ball to. There doesn't appear to be a bonafide star in the running back room, but perhaps a collection of players who all do at least one thing well. The inexperienced offensive line struggled mightily all spring and is a major concern moving forward.

Joe: The defense has upgraded its speed, depth and athleticism considerably. But has it upgraded enough? That defense was starting from a very low baseline. Offensively Nic Shimonek will be a good quarterback. But will he be Taylor Potts good or Graham Harrell good? That will tell much of the offensive story in 2017. I also believe the offensive line is already showing improvement, and if that's so, it will be massive for the Red Raiders because a stout line will make Tech's offense two-dimensional rather than unidimensional. 

Zach:  This is a wildcard team that has regressed offensively and improved defensively. Not sure where that nets out, but I'm betting they're a fringe bowl team. 7-6 after an average regular season and a bowl win to save Kingsbury's job. 

Fans: The overall evaluation from Texas Tech fans who responded to these questions is renewed hope generated from a change in attitude by Kliff Kingsbury and the whole program, a strong performance this spring by the defense and an impressive group of receivers. However, the poor showing from the offensive line this spring, lack of a proven pass rusher and recent struggles of the team under Kingsbury has produced an overall feeling around the program of "I'll believe it when I see it."


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