Texas Tech football: 3 predictions for the Red Raider running backs

Texas Tech football: 3 predictions for the Red Raider running backs
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Dec 28, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders running back Tahj Brooks (28) runs with the ball as Mississippi Rebels cornerback Miles Battle (6) defends during the first quarter in the 2022 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The running back position is often overlooked at Texas Tech.  It isn’t that the program itself devalues what that group brings to the table, but rather, many people think more about quarterbacks and receivers when the Red Raiders come to mind instead of the running backs.

However, this program has had some fantastic backs to carry the rock during the “Air Raid” era.  What’s more, when that position had been elite in Lubbock, so too has the entire offense.

The best running back Tech has featured since the turn of the century was Taurean Henderson.  From 2002-05, he put up over 1,000 total yards every season as a key cog in some of the best offenses in the history of the Big 12.

In fact, in Henderson’s Red Raider career, Tech never averaged below 488 yards of offense per game.  Much of that was due to his role in the passing game as he set an NCAA record for receptions by a running back with 303 including a whopping 98 as a freshman.

The dynamic 2008 offense headlined by Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree also featured two excellent RBs.  That year, both Shannon Woods and Baron Batch surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in total offense with each rushing for over 700 yards.

It was Pat Mahomes who got the headlines in 2015 as he amassed over 5,000 yards of total offense.  However, Deandre Washington was also stellar that season with 1,492 rushing yards and 1,877 total yards.  It was the second straight year in which he surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground making him the only Red Raider RB of the “Air Raid” era to achieve that feat.

Of course, this season will find the program looking to replace one of the most productive backs to ever don the Double T, SaRodorick Thompson.  With 3,184 yards of total offense and 41 total TDs to his name, the former 2-star recruit had a stellar career in Lubbock.  In fact, his 40 rushing touchdowns rank third in Tech history behind Henderson (50) and James Gray (45).

While last season’s leading rusher, Tahj Brooks, is back for another year, he will need a new running mate to help carry the load.  In 2022, the duo of Brooks and Thompson nearly had a 50-50 workload split with the former logging 147 carries and the latter 139.  What’s more, each found the endzone seven times and Brooks only outgained Thomspon on the ground 691 to 684.

So what’s in store for the exciting Red Raider running back room in 2023?  Let’s take a look at three predictions as to what the group will provide this fall.

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