In 2020, these Texas Tech football players look like boom or bust candidates as each could be either a significant contributor or a massive disappointment.
College sports are all about players having opportunities to break out. With the turnover that comes with four-year careers, almost every season asks previously unproductive players to take their games to new levels. And in 2020, the Texas Tech football team will need a number of players to become significant contributors after not producing all that much last fall (if at all).
But before we look at those individuals, let’s look at the players we think we know we can count on. First of all, there is Riko Jeffers. The senior LB has put up two-consecutive 70-tackle seasons including a career-best 76 in 2019.
Provided that he remains healthy, we can likely pencil him in for at worst 70 more stops in 2020. However, given the way he came on at the end of last year as he adjusted to life as a pass-rushing outside LB, much more will be expected from him this fall.
Likewise, the Red Raiders can be confident in what right guard Jack Anderson will give them. Named a freshman All-American in 2017 and a second-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018, the Frisco native is back to full health after missing nine games last year and we can be assured that his performance will be among the best in the Big 12 so long as he remains injury-free.
There are also players that we assume we can trust this year despite the fact they have not had multiple years of excellence. One of those is RB SaRodorick Thompson.
The Irving native has just one full season under his belt after rushing for 765 yards and 12 TDs last year. But what gives Tech fans confidence in his ability to repeat or even best that performance (provided he stays healthy) is that the way he went about piling up his yards seems to be rather repeatable.
Week after week, the 210-pounder ground away between the tackles to pick up almost all of his yards. There were no flukes and the vast majority of his yards came in bite-sized increments rather than in huge chunks thus making us believe that he’s going to be able to be a player we can count on for the duration of his career.
Then there are position groups where there are enough quality options that we can be confident that some answers will be found. For instance, there are the inside receivers.
Between Dalton Rigdon, McLane Mannix, and KeSean Carter, Tech has three players with the skill set to be effective. What’s more, both Rigdon and Mannix have proven capable of being 500-plus yard receivers, which isn’t amazing but is serviceable from that position.
But on the other side of the ledger are players that come into this season as true wildcards and how they perform will shape what happens in the second year of the Matt Wells era. So let’s look at these boom or bust players in order to get a sense of just how critical they are for the Texas Tech football program’s hopes of a return to relevance in 2020.