Ryan Bustin, junior kicker
The leading scorer for the Red Raiders is back. Last year, Bustin tied the all-time Texas Tech record for field goals made in a season and broke another Tech record for points scored by a kicker with 110. He was also the 14th kicker in school history to be perfect in extra-point attempts, making all 59. Bustin finished the season making 17 of 24 field goals, and 14 of thos were in the 20-40-yard range. His longest kick was a 50-yarder in the second game of the season against Texas State. This year, Bustin’s role is a question mark. Yes, he will still be the starting kicker, but how often will head coach Kliff Kingsbury use him? With the attack-minded offense, will Kingsbury want to take the shot at three points or go for it on fourth down? Either way, Bustin will be a reliable source for the Red Raiders to get points on the board in 2013.
DeAndre Washington, sophomore running back
Washington is poised for a big year. Though the sophomore from Sugar Land Marshall is listed as a backup to junior Kenny Williams, the amount of plays the Red Raiders plan to run means both could get 12 to 20 carries a game. Washington redshirted last season, which gave him more time to recover from a torn knee ligament he suffered in the next-to-last game of the 2012 season. “I’m past that,” Washington said during training camp. “It’s not even a factor for me anymore. I feel like the injury didn’t even occur.” Back in 2011, Washington earned honorable mention in the coaches’ voting for All-Big 12 Freshman of the Year. That year, he finished fifth on the team in all-purpose yards with 606.
Dartwan Bush, senior defensive end
While senior Kerry Hyder is being named to preseason award lists, he is quick to warn people about his teammate, Bush. With all the attention focused on Hyder, it’s easy to forget that both Bush and Hyder had similar numbers in 2012. Last season, Bush led the team with five quarterback hurries, tied with Hyder for the team lead in sacks with six and ranked second in tackles for loss, behind only Hyder. In the team’s new 3-4 front, Bush and Hyder will flank noseguard Dennell Wesley. Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt say they’ll be able to isolate Bush in one-on-one situations often enough to take advantage of his quickness and maximize his potential to rush the passer. And Bush should stay fresh while sharing time with Branden Jackson.
Follow Krista on Twitter