Texas Tech Football players earn All-Big 12 Second Team Honors

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Trevor Walker
AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Trevor Walker /

Texas Tech Football defeated Texas over Thanksgiving weekend to become Bowl eligible, and now, the Big 12 is recognizing its athletes who had the most significant impact this season.

Texas Tech Football finished the regular season at 6-6, Bowl eligible for the first time since 2015, and held a Top 25 ranking for the first time since the 2013 season where the Red Raiders finished at 8-5 with a victory over ASU in the Holiday Bowl. While the jury is still out on what team the Red Raiders will be playing to cap the 2017 season, eight of the Big 12’s ten teams are Bowl eligible this season, proving how competitive the conference has been.

With that said, it’s no surprise to see how competitive All-Big 12 Honors were this season, but what is surprising, is how many defensive players made the Second Team, and Honorable Mentions–especially given how flat Tech’s defenses have been in the past.

Texas Tech had four players named to the All-Big 12 Second Team, which includes junior linebacker Dakota Allen, junior defensive back Jah’ Shawn Johnson, and sophomore safety Justus Parker on the defensive side of the ball, plus junior wide receiver Keke Coutee. Per the Texas Tech press release, this season’s honors marked the first time since 2012 where Texas Tech had three or more defensive players earn first, or second-team honors.

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While many criticized head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s play-calling this season, this offseason, he committed to spending more time with the defense, and encouraged David Gibbs’ defensive unit to challenge the offense, and match or exceed the defensive production we’ve seen recently from the likes of TCU and West Virginia.

As a result, Texas Tech finished the season with 27 takeaways–14 more than its total from the entire 2015 season, marking the largest improvement in turnovers of all teams in the Power 5 this season. Moreover, the defensive side of the ball, and the offensive line were the focal points of the strength and conditioning coaches, whose purpose was to create a team that was more physically and mentally durable through all four quarters.

Justus Parker is a walk-on who will likely earn a scholarship for his contributions this season, which include four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 42 tackles, four pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, and four interceptions, one of which occurred in clutch time against Texas last Friday to seal a victory for the Red Raiders on the road.

Since returning to Texas Tech, Dakota Allen has amassed 93 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, four pass breakups, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

Jah’Shawn Johnson recorded 89 tackles during the regular season, registered a forced fumble and five pass breakups against a good Eastern Washington.

While Keke Coutee led in many NCAA statistical categories, including 443 more total yards, 21 catches, and equal touchdowns as Iowa State senior WR Allan Lazard, Coutee was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team. This season, Coutee ranks No. 6 nationally and No. 2 in the Big 12 with 1,242 receiving yards. He has also amassed over 150 receiving yards in four games this season, which tops the conference.

Texas Tech had 14 other players named to the All-Big 12 Honorable Mentions list, including Cameron Batson, Dylan Cantrell, Nic Shimonek, Paul Stawarz, Justin Stockton, Madison Akamnonu, Vaughnte Dorsey, Kolin Hill, Eli Howard, Mychealon Thomas, Broderick Washington, and Dominic Panazzolo.

With many expected to return in 2018, plus a favorable schedule, if improvements can continue and the impending quarterback battle this Spring light up the offense, Texas Tech fans could have some very exciting things to look forward to next season.

Next: Texas Tech Football releases 2018 season schedule

Texas Tech Football will know its fate on Sunday following all the conference championship matchups, so stay tuned for more information on Tech’s Bowl game.