Position: Running back
Ht./Wt.: 5-7, 179
High school: Spring Dekaney
Last year: Dekaney dipped to 2-8, but not for lack of effort on Felton’s part. He carried 227 times for 1,783 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Outlook for 2014: Though not as acclaimed as fellow freshman running back Justin Stockton, Felton also is making a case to get on the field this year, according to his position coach.
Position: Bandit outside linebacker
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 236
High school: Longview
Last year: Robertson broke into the lineup as a sophomore and started all 13 games. He was fifth on the team with 60 tackles, which is second most among 2014 returnees. His numbers got a boost with a career-high 11 tackles, eight solo, and two tackles for loss in the Holiday Bowl upset of Arizona State.
Position: Defensive tackle
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 284
High school: Tucker, Ga.
Last year: In his second season at Highland (Kan.) Community College, Thorpe was credited with 31 tackles, three sacks, 3 1/2 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and a recovery.
Justin Stockton, a 2,000-yard rusher each of the last two years at Cibolo Steele, will play as a true freshman this year, running backs coach Mike Jinks said. Demarcus Felton, who ran for 1,700 yards last year at Spring Dekaney, might, too.
But Stockton’s speed ensures he won’t redshirt.
“It’s elite. It’s special,” Jinks said. “He can go 60 in the blink of an eye with his ability to accelerate.”
Jinks said Felton has plus speed as well.
Sam Atoe, a transfer who joined the team just before August workouts, could make Texas Tech’s two-deep at inside linebacker, defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said Monday.
The battle for a backup spot appears to be between Atoe, who played the last two years at College of San Mateo (Calif.), and sophomore Malik Jenkins, who played mostly special teams last year as a true freshman.
Jenkins tailed off in spring practice, but Wallerstedt said the 6-foot-1, 212-pound Ennis graduate played well in Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage.
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 315
High school: Arlington Houston
Last year: Morales was hurt — last year and the year before that and the year before that. The most luckless Tech player in terms of injuries, the one-time high-profile recruit missed 2011 with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, missed 2012 with a strained knee ligament and missed 2013 with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Position: Strong safety
Ht./Wt.: 6-0, 189
Class-Exp.: Redshirt freshman
High school: Port Arthur Memorial
Last year: Barnes suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in mid-August last year and underwent surgery. That ensured he’d use his redshirt season. He returned to practice on a non-contact basis before the Holiday Bowl and went through spring drills with coaches still being careful to protect his shoulder.
Tech Roster Analysis
Position: Free safety
Ht./Wt.: 6-0, 189
High school: Seminary, Miss.
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 302
High school: Wadesboro, N.C.
Last year: In his second year at Highland (Kan.) Community College, Smith got credit for 49 tackles, 41/2 sacks and 31/2 tackles for loss. His team finished 6-4. Smith signed a financial aid agreement with Tech at mid-term, but did not finish his coursework and transfer in until after the spring semester.