Forgetting about Dre
DeAndre Washington became Texas Tech’s first back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher in nearly 20 years but the Red Raiders will move forward without their every-down back this season.
Filling in for Washington won’t be an easy task but expect junior Justin Stockton to have the first opportunity to take the main responsibilities at running back. Texas Tech may not hand the ball to the Cibolo Steele standout 233 times similar to the workload Washington received last season, but Stockton brings a different dynamic to the Red Raiders’ offense as a one-cut back that often uses speed to run away from defenders whereas Washington often engaged in and welcomed contact.
Demarcus Felton, Quinton White and Corey Dauphine will also have opportunities to contribute throughout the season as spell backs. The Red Raiders will likely use a ‘by committee’ approach in their attempt to replace Washington’s production this season.
Winner: Justin Stockton
Replacing perimeter weapons
Texas Tech will find a way to get its playmakers on the field, even if that means rotating at the position heading into spring practices. With several established receivers returning to the program and a pair of newcomers expected to make immediate impacts, the competition at wide receiver should be an interesting follow in spring practices.
The Red Raiders have at least one opening in the first group after losing Jakeem Grant, which will likely transition into a spot for transfer Derrick Willies. Dylan Cantrell is also an interesting follow in spring practices. After missing all of last season, Texas Tech will need to find another spot in the rotation for the 6-foot-3 vertical threat.
Winners: Derrick Willies, Dylan Cantrell
Similar to Washington, the Red Raiders will have big shoes to fill searching for a replacement for two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection Le’Raven Clark. Clark was a four-year starter on the offensive line, three seasons at left tackle, and now Texas Tech will have to move forward without its edge-setting left tackle.
Possible replacements include Madison Akamnonu, Poet Thomas, Baylen Brown or Justin Murphy. Murphy started four games at right tackle last year before his season reached an abrupt end due to injury.
Offensive line coach Lee Hays often praised Murphy’s intensity and tenacity early in the season, even going as far as to suggest Murphy would have been an All-Big 12 candidate had he finished the season. Look for Murphy to likely get the first opportunity at replacing Clark.
Winner: Justin Murphy