Texas Tech football: The 5 most indispensable Red Raiders in 2022

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Oct 16, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; A general view of a Texas Tech Red Raiders helmet against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks.  That’s all we have to endure until the return of Texas Tech football.  We can do this.  And to help get us ready for what should be a fascinating fall, let’s take a look at the five members of this year’s team that will be the most indispensable.

When talking about players that a team can’t live without, you would normally start with the starting quarterback.  And certainly, over the past four years, we’ve had to learn first-hand what life is like when your QB1 is lost for a significant period of time.

In 2018, it was Alan Bowman who twice suffered a collapsed lung causing him to miss four full games and half of two others.  Then, in 2019 Bowman sustained a broken collar bone in the third game of the year ending his season before Big 12 play even began.

Though 2020 was free from a QB injury, it did see Bowman benched for a handful of games in favor of Henry Colombi.  Then, last season the Red Raiders lost starting QB Tyler Shough in the middle of the fourth game with his own collar bone injury.  Unfortunately, in each of these instances, Tech was ill-prepared to handle the loss of the most important player on the roster.

But that concern should be lessened in 2022 thanks to the incredible depth this program has at that position.  With Tyler Shough and Donovan Smith in the fold, Tech has two QBs who have proven capable of playing well and winning games at the Power 5 level of the sport.  What’s more, former 4-star signee Behren Morton is waiting in the wings for his shot at the job.  It all adds up to a QB room that has to be the deepest this program has had since the Leach years.

Likewise, Tech has tremendous depth at the running back spot.  With SaRodorick Thompson and Tahj Brooks both back, Joey McGuire’s team has a pair of runners that topped the 500-yard mark last season.  Thus, an injury to either wouldn’t be the end of the world for this team, especially considering that former 4-star recruit Cam’Ron Valdez is ready to embark on his redshirt freshman season.

Another position where the Red Raiders appear to be set up with enough depth to absorb an injury is the secondary.  With the return of safeties Marquis Waters, Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, and Reggie McPhearson, Tech has as much talent at that position as it has had in recent memory.  What’s more, at corner, veterans like Rayshad Williams, Adrian Frye, Keyon Blankenbaker (a transfer from Wyoming), and Malik Dunlap give Tech a rangy and seasoned group of pass defenders, many of whom can play multiple roles in new defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter’s system.

But there are spots on the roster where the depth is not as reassuring meaning that one injury could deal a significant blow to the Red Raiders’ hopes of reaching a bowl game.  So let’s take a look at the five players Tech can least afford to lose this season.

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