As he prepares for his senior season, wide receiver T.J. Vasher knows he will be a huge part of the Texas Tech football team’s success in 2020.
T.J. Vasher has one last shot to become the type of receiver that Texas Tech football fans have always expected him to be. We’ve seen glimpses of stardom from the uber-talented Wichita Falls native over the last three years but he’s never put it all together for an entire season.
We’ve been both fascinated and frustrated by Vasher given the expectations that accompanied him when he signed with the Red Raiders in 2016. As a 4-star prospect and the No. 53 overall player in Texas in his recruiting class, he held offers from the likes of Ohio State, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State but decided to call Lubbock home.
When you look at Vasher, there’s no way one can’t envision him being a star wide receiver. At 6-foot-6 and with an insane wingspan, he’s going to have a considerable size advantage over every corner he lines up against. What’s more, knowing that he had a fantastic high school basketball career has given him the ability to go up and make plays on the ball in the air.
He’s certainly had his share of magnificent receptions in the last three years as he’s put that basketball background to use. But it’s been the routine aspects of the game that have prevented him from being an All-Big 12 player.
After redshirting in 2016 because of an injury that kept him out of all but one game, he’s been a starter for the last two and a half years, taking over a starting job in the middle of 2017.
Thus far, his 687-yard, 54-catch, and seven-touchdown season in 2018 mark his most productive campaign to date. What’s more, last year he took a step back despite being his team’s most experienced receiver and entering the year knowing that he needed to lead the way for an offense short on upperclassmen at the skill positions.
But he saw action in only ten games and posted a career-low (outside of his redshirt season) 515 yards while seeing his catches drop by 12 from his sophomore season. He did find the endzone six times, an area of the game in which he’s been rather consistent as a collegiate as he’s had seasons of six, seven, and six TDs respectively since 2017.
I remember being on hand for an airing of the Kliff Kingsbury radio show in 2017 when then offensive coordinator Eric Morris was a guest. He discussed Vasher and said that the only person that could stop Vasher from being a first-round NFL pick was Vasher himself.
Thus far, that’s what’s happened. Despite his immense talent, he’s proven to be his own worst enemy as his dedication to improving and maturity off the field have both been questioned. That’s why he hasn’t truly broken out in the last two years after putting up arguably the best redshirt freshman season of any Red Raider receiver this side of Michael Crabtree.
The good news for Vasher though is that he’s got one final set of games (presumably) to make his mark as a Red Raider and show the rest of the football world what people in Lubbock already know; that there’s a star WR somewhere inside him. So let’s take a look at some goals that Vasher should strive for this season beginning with the biggest way he can help his team in what is a critical year for Matt Wells.