Texas Tech football: Best JUCO tranfers in program history

LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 31: Dakota Allen
LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 31: Dakota Allen /
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(Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) /

No. 6 DE Tony Jones

Getting to the QB has long been a problem for the Red Raiders.  That’s why in 2017, they brought in Tony Jones, one of the best JUCO pass rushers in the nation.

Playing outside linebacker for the Red Raiders, the 225-pounder saw his pass-rush pedigree translate to the Big 12 as he finished his career with eight sacks, four in each season.  Overall, he registered 77 tackles while intercepting one pass, recovering three fumbles, and being credited with three pass defenses in his career.

Jones proved to have a knack for making big plays.  In Tech’s 27-24 win at Houston in 2017, he came up with two fumble recoveries as part of a five-turnover day for the defense.

Last year, he had four tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry in Tech’s 17-14 road win at TCU.  In both of his seasons, he finished second on the team in sacks as he provided steady pressure off the edge.

In 2018, Jones was a part of a Red Raider pass rush that ranked 50th in the country in total sacks with 28.  That was an increase of 61 spots overall from 2017 when the Red Raiders managed just 17 team sacks.

It is too bad that Jones has exhausted his eligibility because he would be a perfect fit for new defensive coordinator Keith Patterson’s scheme.  Patterson wants to bring tons of pressure from all over his 3-3-5 scheme and he deploys a hybrid defensive end / outside linebacker that would be the ideal role for a player with Jones’ skill set.

Without Jones to bring pressure off the edge, Patterson may turn to grad transfer linebacker Evan Rambo who joins the Red Raiders from Cal.  He may also see if he can get senior DE Lonzell Gilmore to finally realize his potential and become a consistent force.  But there’s no doubt that he wishes he would have been able to plug Jones into his defense for at least one season because he might have been able to turn the former JUCO star into a double-digit sack player.