Texas Tech Freshmen Shine in Tumultuous Season


The 2014 Texas Tech football season was a disappointment in the minds of Red Raiders near and far. However, that’s not to say it didn’t include hope for the future success of the program.

Upon taking over head coaching duties in December of 2012, Kingsbury began laying the groundwork for a potent offense and high performance defense. In his first two recruiting classes Kingsbury has addressed needs on each side of the ball and has begun augmenting a Texas Tech roster depleted by attrition and suffering from the negative impact of a revolving door of coaching staffs.

Patrick Mahomes’ record setting performance against Baylor may still be fresh on the minds of most Texas Tech fans, however there were many other progressions of note. Key in these moments have been stand-out members of Texas Tech’s respective 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes.

Top Five Impactful Rookies:

Justin Stockton

– The freshman running back entered the Texas Tech program coming off an astounding senior year at Steele High School where he rushed for over 2000 yards and 35 touchdowns, averaging 11.9 yards per carry. He wasted little time introducing himself to the Red Raider faithful and became an immediate role player on offense. In his first season as a Red Raider, Stockton has rushed for 396 yards on 48 attempts, averaging 8.25 yards per carry. Stockton is still raw but has tremendous athleticism and is a home-run threat any time he’s in the backfield.

Patrick Mahomes II

– The Whitehouse, Texas product was ranked by


as the No. 12 Dual-Threat quarterback in the 2014 recruiting cycle. Mahomes’ first playing time came in relief of an injured Davis Webb against Oklahoma State and later against Texas Christian. Tentative at first, and thrust into a less than ideal situation, Mahomes displayed freshman tendencies. However, something changed in the game against Oklahoma where he showed the ability to extend plays and utilize his mobility. Mahomes would start the rest of Texas Tech’s games and notched a hard fought victory over Iowa State where he threw for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. The young freshman improved as the season went on, culminating with an absolutely earth shattering performance in Arlington, where he torched the Baylor Bears for 598 yards and 6 touchdowns. Baylor would survive on a failed Texas Tech two-point play, but the result was clear: Mahomes’ stock had risen tremendously, thrusting him into the forefront of the upcoming Spring quarterback competition and making way for another exciting off-season in Lubbock.

Devin Lauderdale

– The JUCO transfer out of Navarro College first made his presence known in Tech’s victory against UTEP with his downfield blocking that enabled fellow newcomer Justin Stockton’s long touchdown run. The Houston native solidified his place in the starting wide receiving corps and became a legitimate threat in Texas Tech’s vertical passing game, routinely burning defensive backs with his speed and shiftiness. In his first year Lauderdale accumulated 589 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns, including an 82-yard bomb against Iowa State. Expect the sophomore wideout to feature prominently in Texas Tech’s offense for years to come.

Nigel Bethel II

– The Florida native was the prized possession of Kingsbury’s 2014 class as the Rivals No. 24 four-star cornerback and has solidified his starting position in Texas Tech’s young defense. Coach Kevin Curtis was instrumental in flipping the speedy Bethel from his hometown Miami Hurricanes and Tech has benefited greatly. In only nine games Bethel has accounted for 30 solo tackles, 11 assists, and 6 pass break ups.  More importantly, Bethel never backed down from the slew of stud Big XII receivers he faced during the season. Bethel offers the most upside of any cornerback on Texas Tech’s roster and has shown the ability to bounce back from adversity and be better for it. Texas Tech will be bringing in some exciting talent defensively next year, but don’t sleep on Bethel in 2015.

Ian Sadler

– The young receiver from Argyle, Texas has been compared to the likes of Wes Welker and Danny Amendola during his short time at Texas Tech. The comparisons are valid as Sadler has a similar style of play and an underrated quickness about him, especially in crossing routes. Sadler accounted for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns during the 2014 season and became a reliable receiving target when Tech’s offense struggled with untimely dropped passes. Along with Patrick Mahomes, Sadler seemed to spark a reinvigorated Texas Tech offense late in the season. Sadler garnered increased playing time towards the end of the 2014 season seemed to gain confidence week in and week out. He will definitely be in the mix at one of Tech’s inside receiver positions heading into the Spring and 2015.

Kingsbury’s record at Texas Tech thus far reflects a program in transition, reloading at skill positions and forging a new identity. Nevermind the labels of “Coach Bro” and criticisms of the Texas Tech staff being too inexperienced for competitive play in the Big XII, one thing is for sure: Kingsbury has an eye for talent, and it’s already showing.