Texas Tech Football: Three Earn Preseason All-Big 12 Honors

BIRMINGHAM, AL - DECEMBER 23: Justus Parker /

The Big 12 Conference has released its preseason all-conference football selections and in a twist for the Texas Tech football program, three Red Raider defenders earned recognition.

In what is yet another sign that the Texas Tech defense is no longer the laughing-stock of the Big 12, three Red Raider defensive players have been named to the preseason all-Big 12 team.  Senior safety Jah’Shawn Johnson, junior defensive back Justus Parker and senior linebacker Dakota Allen were the only three Red Raiders to earn preseason all-Big 12 honors this year.

What’s more, Texas Tech is the only school to place three players on the preseason all-Big 12 defense.

Last year, that trio played critical roles in helping the Texas Tech defense increase 25 places in total defense rankings from 2016 to 2017. Now, they hope to see that trend continue as the Red Raiders look to rebuild the defensive identity under third-year defensive coordinator David Gibbs.

Allen is the unquestioned star and leader of the defense.  The middle linebacker and former “Last Chance U” star recorded 102 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery last year on his way to earning all-Big 12 honors.

Meanwhile, Johnson continued what has been one of the most productive careers in Texas Tech football history.  In what was his best season to date, the Ennis, Texas native put up 97 tackles, the third time in his career he has recorded at least 77 stops in a season.

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But while Johnson feels like he has been around forever, Parker was a newcomer who came out of nowhere to be one of the keys to the Texas Tech defensive resurgence. The walk-on transfer led the team with four interceptions while also returning a fumble for a TD.

This marks the first time since 2015 that a Texas Tech defensive player has earned preseason all-conference honors.  That year, defensive end Pete Robertson was named to the preseason team after recording 13 sacks in 2014.

But while this marks progress for the Red Raider defense, the Texas Tech offense is conspicuous in its absence from the all-Big 12 team.  But in a year when Texas Tech is replacing its quarterback and three starting receivers, there did not figure to be too much love for Kingsbury’s offense in the preseason.

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Fortunately, preseason honors are meaningless and almost never reflect what will happen once the season begins.  It will be interesting to see how many Red Raiders wind up on the all-conference teams in December.  Here’s hoping that it is more than three.