Lone Star 25: 10-6
Our countdown of the 25 most important college players in Texas continues.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football is introducing the Lone Star 25, a countdown of the 25 most important Texas college football players in 2014. Keep in mind: this is not necessarily a ranking of the top 25 best college football players in Texas, but rather the 25 players whose performance will most impact the college football scene in Texas in 2014.
10. QB Matt Joeckel, TCU
TCU fans don't need us to tell them how bad the Frogs' offense was last year. There were any number of reasons that TCU struggled to move the ball last season, but perhaps the most telling stat is the yards-per-attempt number: 6.5. That's tied with Idaho for 95th in the nation. Enter Joeckel, the A&M transfer who looks like the presumptive starter for the Frogs. If he and new co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacam and Sonny Cumbie can get on the same page quickly, they'll be able to immediately stretch the field farther than they did all last season, which will open up the entire offense. Put another way: if Joeckel plays like we think he can, the TCU offense will be unrecognizable from last year, and that's good news for the purple faithful.
9. OL Dominic Espinosa, Texas
Texas’ lack of experience along the offensive line is downright frightening. If this group doesn’t gel quickly, things could get ugly in Austin — fast. And you can forget about David Ash staying healthy the entire season. So it’s easy to see why Espinosa checks in at No. 9 our list. Espinosa is entering his fourth year as a starter, and his leadership and play from his center position will be instrumental in how well the Longhorns’ offense functions. It’s also imperative for Espinosa to help groom guys like Rami Hammad and Darius James on the interior of the line.
8. QB Davis Webb, Texas Tech
When Kliff Kingsbury was hired as the Red Raiders' head coach, all eyes immediately — and understandably — went to the shuffling quarterback position. After a year in which three different guys saw some time under center, the Prosper product Webb has won the job, both by outperforming his competition (he led all freshmen in passing) and default (Baker Mayfield and Michael Brewer transferred). You know the drill here: Kingsbury's offense is only as good as the guy triggering it, so Webb will go a long way toward determining how Kingsbury's sophomore season goes.
7. S Floyd Raven, Texas A&M
New secondary coach Terry Joseph takes over a group that was absolutely torched last season. The Aggies gave up 32.2 points per game and fell to Alabama and Auburn despite scoring more than 40 points in each game. A large portion of the blame can be put on the defensive backs, specifically the safeties— a position group that must make big strides this offseason. Raven could be an X-factor this year after a tumultuous 2013 campaign that saw him get arrested and miss most of the year with injuries. Raven showed flashes of potential as a sophomore and could give this secondary the boost it so desperately seeks.
6. QB Matt Davis, SMU
Say this about SMU coach June Jones: he has a knack for turning cast-off QBs into stars. Look what he did for Garrett Gilbert last season after his career cratered at Texas — Gilbert finished second in the nation in total offense for the Ponies last season. Is Matt Davis the next to soak in that Hilltop magic? The A&M transfer apparently saw the writing on the wall that he wasn't going to win the job in College Station, so he moves to SMU with an opportunity to start right away. Considering the roster situation, he should be the starter; can he follow in Gilbert's footsteps and dazzle with a change of scenery? If he does, the Ponies will be bowing again.
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