No. 5: OT Monroe Mills gave Texas Tech solid play at a position of need
The biggest weakness when it comes to this program’s roster is the offensive line. That’s true today and it has been true for at least a decade.
That’s why eight transfers that Tech has added since 2019 have been offensive linemen. That group includes players such as Josh Burger, T.J. Storment, Cole Spencer, and Rusty Staats, all of whom became starters for the Red Raiders.
However, the best lineman that the portal has brought to Lubbock has been Monroe Mills, who started his career at Oklahoma State. Since then, he’s started 22 games for the Red Raiders playing right tackle in 2022 and left tackle this season.
It was no certainty that the Missouri native would be such a contributor for Tech, though. When he arrived, he had played only 24 total snaps in two seasons in Stillwater and he had never started a game.
Mills seized the right tackle job, though, as a redshirt sophomore where he would start ten games last season. Though it was his first time to be a starter, he would be Tech’s highest-graded offensive lineman and he would allow only one sack.
This year, he started every game of the regular season at the all-important left tackle spot. Last week, he received honorable mention All-Big 12 recognition for his play.
Projecting what young offensive linemen will become might be as difficult as anything a coaching staff must do. There is just no telling how the body of people that big will develop after a couple of years in a college strength and conditioning program.
Also, high-level offensive linemen are coveted by literally every program in the nation making it tough to land difference-makers there. Those are two of the reasons Tech has struggled mightily when it comes to O-line recruiting.
As a result, the portal has been a huge factor along the line and that will be the case again this offseason. Unfortunately, Mills has decided to jump back into the portal and seek a third college football home making it necessary for Tech to bring in another tackle from the portal to replace him.
While Mills isn’t likely to be an All-American next year, he is a solid stop-gap who gave the promising young linemen on the roster time to develop before being thrown into the fray. In fact, Tech would be happy to find another Monroe Mills or two this year.