So in Koch’s keys we have looked at the five players to
watch in each class of Red Raider football.
We have examined the top five freshmen, sophomores and
juniors for Kliff Kingsbury in the upcoming 2013 season.
Now it’s time for the seniors, the group of Red Raiders that
we should look towards for leadership and the most production in the upcoming
Here are the top five seniors to watch in 2013.
5) Tre’ Porter (SR - Safety)
This group of seniors is very defensive heavy.
Tre’ Porter has been an asset for
the Texas Tech defense since he got in Lubbock. His freshman season recording
76 tackles, leading all Big 12 freshmen in that category.
Since then it has been up and down for the Midwest City,
In 2011, Porter recorded 24 tackles with 21 of those being
solo in just seven games played and in 2012 got more playing time with 11 games
played and racking up 30 tackles.
With Cody Davis gone it is now it is time for Porter to
really shine in his senior campaign.
In the spring game where the defense truly shined, comparing
to the past few years, and Porter put in some good numbers recording four
tackles, all solo.
This next season, Porter will be a key part of the defensive
unit along with a few other seniors.
4) Bruce Jones (SR - Cornerback)
& Will Smith (SR –
In a senior class it is always hard to boil it down to the
top five players so at number four I have decided two players qualify.
Starting it off with Bruce Jones.
In the Big 12 Conference, where every team likes to air it
out and average 300-plus yards passing in every game it is crucial for a team
to have not only a good secondary but a great
secondary to hope to finish atop the conference.
Jones will be a key part of the secondary and has shown flashes
of great moments so far. The Eastvale, California
native, who transferred from Riverside Community College, played in 13 games,
six starts, recorded 31 tackles.
The tackles were spread across the season with him recording
five tackles in a single game on three occasions and recorded a tackle in
12-of-13 games in 2012.
Along with the tackles, Jones was good at breaking up
passes, finishing second on the team with seven including three against former
West Virginia Mountaineer and current New York Jet Geno
Joining Jones on the defense is former teammate at Riverside
Community College is linebacker Will Smith.
Smith finished the 2012 season with 55 tackles and 34 of
those being solo. His performance in his inaugural season in the red and black
earned him onto the Phil Steele All-Big 12 Third Team and a
Honorable Mention on the Dallas Morning News All-Big 12 team.
The middle linebacker area of the field is going to be fun
to watch in 2013 with Blake Dees and Will Smith joining forces.
I expect Will Smith to be named to the All-Big 12 team after
this season and his NFL stock to skyrocket. Smith possesses speed, power and
when he hits someone it’s just fun to watch.
3) Sadale Foster (SR
- Running Back)
Now switching gears from the defense to the offense for a
bit, the backfield is going to be one of the areas to watch in 2013.
People think I am crazy when I start talking about how much
of the running game we will see this upcoming season, considering everyone is
expecting the Kingsbury-style offense to average 450 yards passing per game.
But with the set of running backs that this roster
possesses, handing the ball off will be a big part of the offense in 2013.
One of the running backs that will be getting a good amount
of playing time will be Sadale Foster.
Foster a 5-foot-7 187-pound running back out of Riverside,
California played in 13 games in 2012 with one start.
In his junior campaign Foster rushed the ball 91 times for
451 yards and three touchdowns.
Foster also recorded 18 catches for 88 yards and 18 kickoff
returns for 392 yards averaging 21.8 yards per kickoff return.
Foster has been a multi-tool player with his ability to
barrel out of the backfield and run routes to perfection.
2013 will be a big season for Foster in the backfield and
going out for passes.
2) Kerry Hyder (SR - Defensive
When counting down the top five players for the Red Raiders
in the senior class, it would be a crime to leave out Kerry Hyder.
Really a remarkable young man who, despite having a
different defensive coordinator each year he has been at Tech, has gotten
better and better each season.
In his first season he recorded just 13 tackles in 11 games,
in 2011 it was a breakout season with 42 tackles in 12 games, 29 solo.
Finally in his junior campaign it was 56 tackles with 42 solo that put him above the rest. Getting better each season
was not a joke; the stats are there to prove it.
With those stats, Hyder finished fifth in tackles for loss
and seventh in sacks in the Big 12. His 10.5 tackles for loss in Big 12 play
marked the most by a Red Raider in league play since Brandon Sharpe recorded 14
Following a standout junior season, people took notice with
Hyder being named to the AP All-Big 12 First Team, All-Big 12 Defensive Lineman
of the Year Honorable Mention and Austin American Statesman All-Big 12 First
Of course there is a whole list of accolades that Hyder
received following the 2012 season but there are too many to list.
The last two seasons the Red Raiders have failed to have
anyone drafted into the NFL. Of course there have been players to sign
free-agent contracts but none drafted.
Hyder is one of those players that could break that streak
and I am expecting to have another stellar season for the Red Raiders in 2013.
1 ) Eric Ward (SR - Wide Receiver)
Well the top player to watch in the senior class is a player
that could have gone to the Big Show after last season and more than likely
would have been drafted, but decided to come back for one last ride.
Eric Ward has not only become a good wide receiver but a
go-to target for whoever has taken the snaps from under center for the Red
Raiders the last two seasons.
Ward finished with 800 yards receiving on 84 catches for 11
touchdowns. Well that was only an appetizer of what was to come in his junior
In 12 games in 2012 the Wichita Falls,
Texas native went bonkers with 82 catches for 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Ward increased his average on yards per catch from 9.5 per catch in 2011 to
12.8 per catch in 2012, which is an impressive step up.
When it came to the Big 12, Ward finished fourth in 100-yard
receiving games with five, third in receiving touchdowns, fifth in receiving
yards and receiving yards per game.
At the end of the season Ward earned his way onto a few lists
including All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, San Antonio Express-News All-Big 12
First Team and Biletnikoff Award Watch List.
Expect Ward to have another 1,000-yard receiving season in
2013 and improve on his numbers some more. Just like Hyder I fully expect Ward
to be drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft and make a big impact on the next level.
But first we get to enjoy watching him make safeties and
corners look silly and leap for more touchdown passes in the red and black for
at least one more season.
So be excited that the 2013 season is almost here and Eric
Ward will have another season to finish etching his name in the Texas Tech