Texas Tech football needs A.J. McCarty to bring experience to a rebuilt secondary

Baylor transfer AJ McCarty is now eligible and ready to bring some much-needed experience to a Red Raider secondary that returns only two starters.
Baylor v Texas Tech
Baylor v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

In the modern age of college football, when the transfer portal makes player movement easier than ever, it is becoming more and more unusual for a player to have to sit out a year after transferring. That's what former Baylor transfer A.J. McCarty had to do in 2023 because he didn't enter the transfer portal before the window for immediate eligibility closed.

Some suggest that he would have competed for a starting spot if he would have been allowed to play last season. Now, with his year of waiting behind him, McCarty is going to be counted on to be a key component of a rebuilt Texas Tech secondary.

After last season, Tech had to say goodbye to key secondary members such as Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Tyler Owens, Malik Dunlap, and Rayshad Williams. Now, a new crop of defensive backs will have to step forward and McCarty could be one of the most important.

That's because the Brownwood, Texas native is listed atop the Texas Tech depth chart at the "Star" position. Last season, Julien Baskerville started the season at that position before moving to a traditional safety role. Now, Baskerville appears to be staying put at the same spot that he finished the season in.

So what can McCarty do with this opportunity? Perhaps the most important thing he can bring to the table is experience.

Having appeared in 29 career games at Baylor, McCarty racked up 37 tackles in 2022 as a part-time starter. However, that was at the cornerback spot.

Now, he'll be asked to play a hybrid safety/linebacker spot. At only 6 feet, 190 pounds, we have to believe he'll primarily be used as a pass defender.

It will be important that Tech finds some answers at that spot because it is one of the keys to Tim DeRuyter's defense. However, there are no proven answers on the depth chart at the moment.

Behind McCarty is Brenden Jordan, a true sophomore who impressed in limited action last season. He made 20 tackles in 13 games in 2023.

Third on the depth chart at the "Star" is Marcus Ramon-Edwards. A 3-star signee in the class of 2023, he redshirted last season.

Tech has also toyed with the idea of moving speedy linebacker Miquel Dingle, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound redshirt freshman to the "Star" spot to utilize his athleticism. However, he is listed as a third-team inside linebacker on the post-spring depth chart.

Therefore, McCarthy must be able to give Tech some important snaps at the "Star". He had to wait his turn while sitting out a season ago and now he'll have his shot to help solidify the Red Raider secondary.