Texas Tech Football: Five New Faces To Know For 2018

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Joshua Johnson
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Joshua Johnson /
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(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) /

DE Nelson Mbanasor

One sign that Texas Tech defensive coordinator David Gibbs has finally put together the type of roster he feels can compete in the Big 12 is the fact that prized 2017 signee Nelson Mbanasor was redshirted last season.  The former three-star recruit from Pflugerville, Texas was the program’s top defensive signee last year and was talented enough to play immediately had he been needed.

But Gibbs had the luxury of letting the 6-foot-1, 280-pounder develop last year in preparation for a significant role in 2018.  Gibbs has indicated that in his first two years at Texas Tech, he would have been forced to play a player with Mbanasor’s skills illustrating how highly he is thought of.

Texas Tech was last in the Big 12 in 2017 with just 18 total sacks and only 9.5 of those came from defensive linemen.  Redshirt freshman Eli Howard led Tech with 5.5 sacks a year ago and he is back but Tech needs another defensive linemen to be a disruptive force on the d-line.

Mbanasor is expected to move around the line this year as the situation dictates.  His size allows him to play inside at tackle on occasion but his pedigree as a rush end means he will get plenty of opportunities to come off the edge on obvious passing downs.

Former Texas Tech defensive line coach Kevin Patrick, who recruited Mbanasor to Lubbock, was impressed with him from the moment he began to build a relationship with Mbanasor.

"“There’s guys out there that can run,” Patrick told the A-J in 2017.  “You run in the wrong direction, you’re not that fast. He understands the game. When you sit down and talk to him, at his age right now and where he is in his life, it’s above and beyond the normal person. He ‘gets’ the game and when you tie that into his physical attributes — we’re going to shine that up a little bit — it’s only going to be better.”"

Many are hoping that junior DE Lonzell Gilmore will finally emerge as a pass-rush force this fall.  If he and Mbanasor are able to put pressure on the quarterback opposite Howard, the Red Raider defense will finally have solved is huge pass-rush problem.