Texas Tech football: Who should be next Ring of Honor Inductee?

Texas Tech football: Who should be next Ring of Honor Inductee?
Next1 of 5Prev post
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

ARLINGTON, TX – NOVEMBER 25: Patrick Mahomes II #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders warming up before the game against the Baylor Bears on November 25, 2016 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Texas Tech defeated Baylor 54-35. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)

Since the inception of the Texas Tech Football Ring of Honor at Jones Stadium in 2012, the program has honored seven all-time greats, Donny Anderson, Dave Parks, E.J. Holub, Gabe Rivera, Zach Thomas, Michael Crabtree, and Elmer Tarbox.  What’s more, the program announced this past weekend that Patrick Mahomes II will be the eighth Red Raider to have his name immortalized on the west side of The Jones.

It is the most recent inductee that is causing a bit of debate among some Red Raider fans, though.  Some believe that Mahomes, despite being the most beloved and famous Texas Tech alum, perhaps ever, did not have a college career worthy of a Ring of Honor spot.

To be clear, Tech has put forth no specific criteria for induction.  While some programs require their Ring of Honor members to first be College Football Hall of Fame inductees or All-Americans, for instance, Tech’s criteria are apparently more subjective.

That’s why Mahomes’ inclusion is worth examining.  On the one hand, his college stats are certainly impressive.  In just 29 career games as a Red Raider, he passed for 11,252 yards and recorded 12,097 yards of total offense while tossing 93 TDs.  He ranks third in program history in all three categories behind Graham Harrell and Kliff Kingsbury.

What’s more, he’s gone on to have the most decorated NFL career of any Texas Tech football alum in history.  He won the 2018 NFL MVP award and hoisted the Super Bowl LI MVP trophy.

It’s that professional success that Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt pointed to when talking about Mahomes’ inclusion into the Ring of Honor.

“When you look at the face of the NFL, that is Patrick Mahomes,” Hocutt said. “Patrick’s accomplishments at Texas Tech are well documented with his success as one of the top quarterbacks in college football history. Patrick is an NFL MVP and a Super Bowl champion, but he’s, most importantly, a Red Raider who remains an avid supporter of our great university. We are excited to welcome home Patrick and his family later this fall to see his name formally honored inside Jones AT&T Stadium.”

On the other hand, Mahomes’ college career lacks such prestige.  In fact, some argue that Mahomes did not do enough during his Red Raider career to be included in the Ring of Honor.

His teams went just 13-15 in games that he started.  What’s more, he took Tech to only one bowl game, which the Red Raiders lost.

However, there is no denying that Tech’s struggles during those three seasons (2014-16) were due to factors beyond Mahomes’ control.  Most notably, Tech had arguably the worst defense in the nation in both 2015 and 2016 resulting in four losses in those two seasons in which Mahomes and the offense put up 50 or more points.

In the end, it is hard to argue against putting the face of the NFL into the Ring of Honor, especially given what he continues to mean to Texas Tech football as an ambassador of the program.  What’s more, there’s no doubt that ingratiating yourself to the best player on the planet, one who is perhaps on his way towards being a billionaire before his career is over, is a wise move.

Now, that leaves the question of who should be next to join the Texas Tech football Ring of Honor.  So let’s look at four logical candidates to be the ninth inductee at Jones Stadium.

Next1 of 5Prev post
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

n

Whatu2019s more, heu2019s gone on to have the most decorated NFL career of any Texas Tech football alum in history.u00a0 He won the 2018 NFL MVP award and hoisted the Super Bowl LI MVP trophy.

n

Itu2019s that professional success that Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt pointed to when talking about Mahomesu2019 inclusion into the Ring of Honor.

n

u201cWhen you look at the face of the NFL, that is Patrick Mahomes,u201d Hocutt said. u201cPatricku2019s accomplishments at Texas Tech are well documented with his success as one of the top quarterbacks in college football history. Patrick is an NFL MVP and a Super Bowl champion, but heu2019s, most importantly, a Red Raider who remains an avid supporter of our great university. We are excited to welcome home Patrick and his family later this fall to see his name formally honored inside Jones AT&T Stadium.u201d

n

On the other hand, Mahomesu2019 college career lacks such prestige.u00a0 In fact, some argue that Mahomes did not do enough during his Red Raider career to be included in the Ring of Honor.

n

His teams went just 13-15 in games that he started.u00a0 Whatu2019s more, he took Tech to only one bowl game, which the Red Raiders lost.

n

However, there is no denying that Techu2019s struggles during those three seasons (2014-16) were due to factors beyond Mahomesu2019 control.u00a0 Most notably, Tech had arguably the worst defense in the nation in both 2015 and 2016 resulting in four losses in those two seasons in which Mahomes and the offense put up 50 or more points.

n

In the end, it is hard to argue against putting the face of the NFL into the Ring of Honor, especially given what he continues to mean to Texas Tech football as an ambassador of the program.u00a0 Whatu2019s more, thereu2019s no doubt that ingratiating yourself to the best player on the planet, one who is perhaps on his way towards being a billionaire before his career is over, is a wise move.

n

Now, that leaves the question of who should be next to join the Texas Tech football Ring of Honor.u00a0 So letu2019s look at four logical candidates to be the ninth inductee at Jones Stadium.

n

"},{"title":"Texas Tech football: Who should be next Ring of Honor Inductee?","permalink":"https://wreckemred.com/2022/08/26/texas-tech-football-who-should-be-next-ring-of-honor-inductee/2/","shortCodeTitle":null,"content":"

ntttthttps%3A%2F%2Fwreckemred.com%2Fwp content%2Fuploads%2Fgetty images%2F2017%2F07%2F83648186 | Biggamefishinttttttttt

LUBBOCK, TX u2013 NOVEMBER 08: Quarterback Graham Harrell #6 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Jones AT&T Stadium on November 8, 2008 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

nttttttt

nttn

Graham Harrell

n

The most logical choice to be the ninth member of the Texas Tech Football Ring of Honor is the programu2019s most accomplished quarterback, Graham Harrell.u00a0 In fact, many think that he should have gone into the Ring of Honor at the same time that Crabtree did given how linked those two players are in Red Raider history.

n

Harrell is the programu2019s all-time leader in too many categories to list.u00a0 His name sits atop the Texas Tech lists for career passing yards, career total yards, and career touchdown passes, the latter of which was an NCAA record (a record that has since fallen).

n

In all, Harrell still holds eight NCAA records.u00a0 But his standing as one of the greatest Red Raiders of all time goes beyond just statistics.

n

The Red Raiders experienced their greatest period of success during Harrellu2019s three years as a starter.u00a0 Going 28-11 from 2006-08, Tech gained national notoriety like never before.

n

Of course, in that unforgettable 2008 season, Tech reached No. 2 in the national polls for the only time in program history and that came after Harrellu2019s shining moment.u00a0 His last-second TD pass to Crabtree to down No. 1 Texas 39-33 in Lubbock is the most iconic play in Texas Tech football history and one of the most memorable moments in NCAA history.

n

He also produced other jaw-dropping moments like when he hit Robert Johnson in the endzone for a last-minute win at Texas A&M in 2006, when he engineered the largest comeback in bowl history against Minnesota in the 2006 Insight Bowl, or when he and Crabtree stunned No. 4 Oklahoma in 2007.

n

Harrell never went on to NFL fame as Mahomes did.u00a0 But as a Red Raider, he did far more than Mahomes and he deserves serious consideration as the next member of the Ring of Honor.

n

"},{"title":"Texas Tech football: Who should be next Ring of Honor Inductee?","permalink":"https://wreckemred.com/2022/08/26/texas-tech-football-who-should-be-next-ring-of-honor-inductee/3/","shortCodeTitle":null,"content":"

ntttthttps%3A%2F%2Fwreckemred.com%2Fwp content%2Fuploads%2Fgetty images%2F2017%2F07%2F2552678 | Biggamefishinttttttttt

RALEIGH, NC u2013 SEPTEMBER 20: Wes Welker #27 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders is tackled by Troy Graham #27 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 20, 2003 at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. NC State defeated Texas Tech 49-21. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)

nttttttt

nttn

Wes Welker

n

Perhaps the next player inducted into the Texas Tech Football Ring of Honor should be a player who was iconic and successful at both the college and NFL levels, Wes Welker.

n

Long before Patrick Mahomes was the programu2019s favored son, the undersized Welker was a fan-favorite thanks to his penchant for coming up big in critical moments.u00a0 For instance, no one will ever forget his acrobatic punt return TD down the sideline against Texas A&M in 2002, nor will anyone forget his 14-catch,169-yard, two-TD performance against No. 4 Texas as the Red Raiders pulled the upset later that year.

n

In all, the Oklahoma native who almost didnu2019t get a scholarship offer from any major college program would finish his career ranked as the programu2019s all-time leading receiver with 3,069 total yards.u00a0 Today, he still sits third on that list.

n

Whatu2019s more, while at Tech, Welker was the nationu2019s most feared punt returner.u00a0 Setting the then NCAA all-time records for punt-return TDs (8) and punt-return yardage (1,0761), he was named to the Sports Illustrated All-Decade team as a punt returner.

n

n

However, it was his unlikely NFL career that is truly what Welker will be remembered for.u00a0 Thatu2019s because he revolutionized the way the game is played on Sundays.

n

Proving that diminutive slot receivers can be the focal point of an offense, Welker defied the odds as an undrafted player and paved the way for other small slot receivers to get a shot in the NFL.u00a0 In fact, his success as an inside receiver made that position one that every NFL team spends significant resources addressing to this very day.

n

A four-time All-Pro selection and 5-time Pro Bowler, he led the NFL in receptions in 2007, 2009, and 2011.u00a0 He ended his career with 903 receptions for 9,924 yards and 50 touchdowns.u00a0 He also racked up 6,722 yards as a kick returner.

n

If with Mahomesu2019 induction, Texas Tech has set the precedent of taking a playeru2019s NFL success into consideration for the Ring of Honor, Welker has as good of a case as any Red Raider alum could hope to have.u00a0 He was at the forefront of the NFLu2019s spread offense revolution and he almost single-handedly made the slot receiver position a marquee job.

n

No player in Tech history has done more to change the way the game is played at both the college and NFL levels than Welker.u00a0 Thatu2019s why his name will likely one day be in the Ring of Honor.

n

"},{"title":"Texas Tech football: Who should be next Ring of Honor Inductee?","permalink":"https://wreckemred.com/2022/08/26/texas-tech-football-who-should-be-next-ring-of-honor-inductee/4/","shortCodeTitle":null,"content":"

ntttthttps%3A%2F%2Fwreckemred.com%2Fwp content%2Fuploads%2Fgetty images%2F2017%2F07%2F235843 | Biggamefishinttttttttt

18 Nov 1995: Running back Byron Hanspard #4 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders carries the football during the Red Raiders 44-14 victory over the SMU Mustangs at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Robert Seale/Allsport

nttttttt

nttn

Byron Hanspard

n

There was a time when Texas Tech football was known more for its ability to produce running backs than for its ability to produce quarterbacks and receivers.u00a0 That was during the Spike Dykes era when defense and the ground game were the Red Raidersu2019 calling cards.

n

No Tech player from that era had more collegiate success than running back Byron Hanspard.u00a0 In fact, he is still considered the best running back to ever don the Double T.

n

Playing for Tech from 1994-96, he was a star in the Southwest Conference.u00a0 In fact, after rushing for over 2,000 yards as a junior, he would win the Doak Walker Award given to the nationu2019s top running back.u00a0 He would also finish sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

n

Hanspard was a unanimous All-American in 1996, making him just the third in program history at the time.u00a0 Additionally, his 2,084 yards that season are over 300 more than anyone else in Red Raider history has ever run for in one season.

n

The DeSoto, Texas native still sits atop Techu2019s career rushing list with 4,219 yards, a number that may never be broken given how the passing game has supplanted the ground game as the preferred means of moving the ball in West Texas.

n

Unfortunately, injuries prevented Hanspard from having the same impact in the NFL.u00a0 A promising rookie campaign saw him amassu00a01,375 total yards (with most of that coming as a kickoff returner) but in training camp of his second NFL season, he suffered a knee injury that essentially ended his career (though he would try to make a comeback, he was never the same explosive runner as he was before the injury).

n

Still, his collegiate exploits might be enough to someday put his name in the Ring of Honor.u00a0 He was the focal point of three Texas Tech bowl teams including the 1994 team that won a share of the Southwest Conference crown and played in the Cotton Bowl.u00a0 In all, his teams would go 22-14 over his three years and though we usually only attribute team wins to head coaches and QBs, we should consider Techu2019s success during that time as part of Hanspardu2019s legacy because he was easily the teamu2019s best offensive player.

n

So while Hanspardu2019s name might not be as popular with Texas Tech fans of today as it was with Red Raiders in the 90s, he still is one of the greatest to ever play for the Red Raiders.u00a0 Thus, we could one day see his name next to Mahomesu2019 in the Ring of Honor.

n

"},{"title":"Texas Tech football: Who should be next Ring of Honor Inductee?","permalink":"https://wreckemred.com/2022/08/26/texas-tech-football-who-should-be-next-ring-of-honor-inductee/5/","shortCodeTitle":null,"content":"

ntttthttps%3A%2F%2Fwreckemred.com%2Fwp content%2Fuploads%2Fimagn images%2F2017%2F07%2F9671745 | Biggamefishinttttttttt

Nov 12, 2016; Stillwater, OK, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury reacts during the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

nttttttt

nttn

Kliff Kingsbury

n

Finally, it would be unfair not to consider Kliff Kingsbury as a potential Ring of Honor inductee.  But one has to wonder if it will take time for the stench left behind by his head coaching tenure in Lubbock to fade before he’s properly remembered for being one of the greatest players in program history.

n t

n t

ntttttt

ntttttttttntttttt

nttttt

n t

n t

n n

The New Braunfels native was a three-year starter at QB during the first three years of the Mike Leach era.  And during that time, Kingsbury was at the very tip of the offensive revolution that would sweep across the nation by the end of the decade.

n

His 12,429 passing yards are second in program history as are his 95 passing touchdowns.  Additionally, he helped the program reach three bowl games as he would go 23-16 as a starter.   In all, Kingsbury was only the third player in college football history to throw for over 10,000 yards, gain over 10,000 yards in total offense, and complete over 1,000 passes in a career.

n

But unfortunately, his six years as a head coach, during which he was just 35-40, have soured many on his legacy.  Sure, everyone in Lubbock still loves Kingsbury for the person that he is and for the great memories he gave us as a player, but it feels like this program needs some time to distance from his failed coaching tenure before it can fully embrace him as one of the all-time greats.

n

Perhaps a return to relevance and winning under Joey McGuire will accelerate that process.  Once Tech football returns to the land of the living, fans may be quicker to forgive Kingsbury of his shortcomings as a head coach.

n

It might also require AD Kirby Hocutt to move on before Kingsbury can get the Ring of Honor call.  That’s because it would be a bit awkward for the man who had to fire Kingsbury to then turn around and put him in the program’s most prestigious club.

n

Ultimately, Kingsbury’s NFL success may also help his case.  Currently the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, he’s built an NFC contender in the desert, and should he become one of the NFL’s top coaches, that may help him earn a spot in Tech’s Ring of Honor.  After all, Mahomes was inducted almost solely on what he’s done at the next level.

n

Kingsbury is a bit of a polarizing figure in Lubbock right now and that’s a shame.  He is a great Red Raider and his playing career was one of the best we will ever see at Jones Stadium.  So eventually, once enough time has passed for us to move on from his coaching disappointments, there’s a great chance that Kingsbury could find himself in the Ring of Honor as well.

"}),"useSlideSources":true,"themeType":"classic","prevPost":"https://wreckemred.com/2022/08/24/texas-tech-football-super-seniors-will-be-key-for-this-seasons-defense/","nextPost":"https://wreckemred.com/2022/08/27/texas-tech-football-could-joey-mcguire-be-this-generations-spike-dykes/","prevText":"Prev","nextText":"Next","buttonWidth":0,"buttonWidth_post":0,"postUrl":"https://wreckemred.com/2022/08/26/texas-tech-football-who-should-be-next-ring-of-honor-inductee/","postId":55129,"refreshAds":true,"refreshAdsEveryNSlides":1,"adRefreshingMechanism":"javascript","siteUrl":"https://wreckemred.com","prevText_post":"Prev post","nextText_post":"Next post"}; (function ($) { $(document).ready(function () { try { tpsInstance = new tps.createSlideshow(tpsOptions); } catch(e) { } }); }(jQuery));

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *