Position: Running back
Ht./Wt.: 5-7, 200
High school: College Station A&M Consolidated
Last year: White played in all 13 games, seeing regular work on special teams. He carried 10 times for 130 yards and a touchdown and caught a pass for 5 yards. He needed to show a better understanding of the offense, because his flashy runs were offset by missed assignments that kept him for pushing for more time.
Outlook for 2014: The move of leading rusher Kenny Williams from running back to primarily linebacker gives White the chance to prove himself. Junior DeAndre Washington and White have to be reliable week-in, week-out. Otherwise, coaches will be forced to retrieve Williams from the defensive side or fast-track one of the freshman signees such as speedy Justin Stockton.
No doubt, White would prefer the first option. Coaches were encouraged after watching him in the spring.
“He was a freshman (in 2013),” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “It was his first year in a new system. I think he’s approached the game more seriously this year than he did. That’s been fun to watch, and so I expect him to be a big contributor on offense.
Position: Split end
Ht./Wt.: 5-11, 183
High school: Lithonia, Ga., Martin Luther King
Last year: Coaches decided to forgo a redshirt year for Polite-Bray and used him in eight games as a freshman. Polite-Bray caught only two passes for 5 yards, but it was noteworthy that he was Eric Ward’s top backup by the end of the season, having moved ahead of some veteran receivers.
Outlook for 2014: Kliff Kingsbury wants to see his team throw the ball down the field more and thinks that’s realistic now that quarterback Davis Webb has a year under his belt. Polite-Bray stands to be the primary beneficiary of a vertical passing game, because those routes are his forte.
Polite-Bray’s father Travis Bray was his high school’s wide receivers coach, which has helped his transition.
“He’s a guy whose effort has always been great,” Kingsbury said. “His dad’s a coach and you can tell that he’s been coached up on a lot of technique things and on effort particularly.”
Kingsbury said being focused is his main message for the young receiver.
“He’s got to show up ready to understand the game plan each and every day, study the film where he can go out there ready to go full speed,” Kingsbury said.
Second-semester transfer Devin Lauderdale will push Polite-Bray for the starting job, but offensive coordinator Eric Morris says Polite-Bray’s the more complete receiver who has the edge at this point.
Position: Offensive tackle
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 294
High school: Franklinton, La., Bowling Green
Last year: Fortenberry put a series of injuries behind him and started all 13 games at right tackle, rarely leaving the field when the Red Raiders were on offense. Just before spring practice, he had his senior-year eligibility restored, a consequence of his missing all but three games in 2012.
Outlook for 2014: Fortenberry’s return means the Red Raiders shouldn’t have to worry about right tackle. He made strides last year and isn’t likely to regress. Line coach Lee Hays likes Fortenberry’s even-tempered personality and his willingness to put in extra time to improve himself.
“Reshod is one that I’m really proud of,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said when asked after the spring which linemen stood out. “He sat around, kind of waited to see on that extra year and once he got that back, he’s embraced it and run with it. He really made strides, from even the last game of the season, how far he’s come.”
Something to keep in mind is that Fortenberry played left tackle during a spring scrimmage when Le’Raven Clark was gone for a class field trip. Though it’s not a likely scenario, he could be a consideration if injuries crop up or if new left tackle Dominique Robertson takes time adjusting to the Big 12.
Hays said Fortenberry had “probably his best scrimmage ever” the night he played left tackle this spring.
“He was a left tackle in junior college, I believe, and he thinks he fits better on the left side,” Hays said. “So any chance he gets to show me he can work that left side, he is working it.”
Compiled by Don Williams