Intriguing Texas Tech football players who have opportunities in spring football

These Texas Tech football players are worth keeping an eye on as the program continues its spring practice sessions.

Texas Tech's Mike Dingle attends football practice, Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, at the Sports Performance
Texas Tech's Mike Dingle attends football practice, Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, at the Sports Performance / Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY
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Isaac Smith can win a job as a top Texas Tech pass rusher

Many people may have forgotten about Isaac Smith who missed all of last season due to injury. However, he is a name worth watching because he could develop into one of the better pass rushers on the roster.

It's hard to believe that the Oklahoma native is already listed as a junior. That's because he's played only one season at Tech. After redshirting in 2021 and not seeing any game action, he appeared in 11 games in 2022 making two starts.

It was after NFL first-round draft pick Tyree Wilson went down with a foot injury that Smith really shined in 2022. Against Iowa State, he registered three tackles and against Oklahoma in the regular-season finale, he made four stops including his first career tackle for loss. Then, in the Texas Bowl against Ole Miss, he had four more tackles with one being his first career sack.

Now, he's up to 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds and ready to compete for a starting job at outside LB, a spot that is focused mainly on rushing the passer. That's something Tech will have to address this spring with last year's starting outside LB, Steve Linton, having left the program.

In addition to Smith, players such as sophomore Dylan Spencer, junior Joseph Adedire, and redshirt freshman Isaiah Crawford are all vying for snaps at that position as well. Someone from the group must emerge as an effective pass rusher and Smith is a player who has shown brief flashes of being able to do that. So keep an eye on this high-energy player because he could remind people why he is highly regarded within the program.