LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech’s linebacker group is the team’s premier unit heading into the 2021 season. There are veterans who’ve proven themselves as productive Big 12 players and plenty of depth behind them.
“I think we’ve got a lot of experienced guys, like guys that have played a lot of ball getting really comfortable in the system, especially in the linebacker room,” linebacker Jacob Morgenstern said. “We got a lot of salty veterans and we have depth too. So it’s really a unique year in that regard.”
Depth and experience is nice, but what really makes this group special is the top end talent, and that starts with Colin Schooler.
His huge, touchdown-preventing hit on Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer made lots of highlight reels, but it was just one of many winning plays Schooler made all season.
The Arizona transfer was the team leader in sacks with 3.5, and has a nose for the football that makes him valuable against the run. He Division I college football’s active leader in tackles for loss with 51 in his career.
In addition to Schooler, Texas Tech has Krishon Merriweather, who has terrific sideline-to-sideline speed that allowed him to make a team high 75 tackles.
Riko Jeffers is back for his fifth year at Texas Tech. He’s a team leader on and off the field.
A couple of players who came in through the transfer portal last season, Brandon Bouyer-Randle (Michigan State) and Morgenstern (Duke), are returning after they played a lot last year.
There’s also Jesiah Pierre, who is set to make his debut in the scarlet and black after transferring in from Florida.
There are question marks on Texas Tech’s defense up front and in the secondary, but the linebackers are the heartbeat of the unit and will make plays week in and week out.