The top 10 players returning to the Texas Tech Red Raiders for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Alan Bowman, QB
2. Dawson Deaton, C
3. SaRodorick Thompson, RB
4. T.J. Vasher, WR
5. Zech McPhearson, CB
6. Riko Jeffers, LB
7. Eli Howard, DE
8. Erik Ezukanma, WR
9. KeSean Carter, WR
10. McLane Mannix, WR
Honorable Mention: Jaylon Hutchings, DI; Nick McCann, DI; Damarcus Fields, CB; Xavier Benson, LB
There's a reason Jett Duffey saw great success but still transferred away following the end of the 2019 season, and that reason is Bowman. An incredibly accurate and big-armed quarterback, Bowman was basically designed for the Air Raid offense. He easily progresses through his reads and does a great job of taking what the defense gives him. He can throw receivers open and has a great deep ball as well. He is the ideal Matt Wells QB.
Deaton is arguably the best center in the entire country, yet has to be compared to Creed Humphrey in his own conference. Still, Deaton is as powerful as he is skilled and should be a stalwart in pass protection for the Red Raiders once again this year.
And, yes, you read that correctly, a running back is the third-best player on the team because that's how good Thompson is. He can take any throw out of the backfield for a first down and recorded a whopping 284 yards after the catch last year, despite being credited for just 152 total yards. He also secured 4.8 yards per carry and averaged 2.9 yards after contact per touch on the ground.
As far as receivers go, this team is of course lined with talent. Vasher is a big-play moment waiting to happen, but so much more than that. He hauled in an average of 12.2 yards per catch last season and 27 first downs and touchdowns combined. Ezukanma is a tackle-breaking machine, Mannix is a dominant inside threat and Carter can use his 5-foot-11 frame better than most can, hitting his stride as the season wore on last year.
On defense, this team will absolutely be without their two best players from last year as Douglas Coleman and Jordyn Brooks have moved on. McPhearson is a wildly talented cornerback with great ball skills. He utilized his speed to his advantage as well and he's got great technique to boot. Jeffers should pick up where Brooks left off and will be needed to fill that void of elite-level pass-rusher, coverage defender and run stuffer.
Howard will have all the chance to breakout in 2020, a year after recording eight combined sacks and hits.