Don’t Underestimate Justin Stockton – 2016 Texas Tech Football Preview
Just a month and some change away from college football season, it's time to take a look at the 2016 season in depth and get a good look what is in store for the 2016 season.
As important as the Texas Tech's offense is, you might think that Patrick Mahomes would be the lead story. But the biggest reason Mahomes has been successful at Texas Tech has been the offensive balance. In 2016, that balance rests on the legs of Justin Stockton.
DeAndre Washington had a spectacular career at Texas Tech University, delivering back-to-back seasons over 1,000 yards and breaking into the top ten of the record books in many categories. Washington was so good that many expect a drop off in RB production in 2016.
If Justin Stockton has anything to say about it, there won't be a drop off at all. During the spring camp, Kliff Kingsbury touted Stockton as the guy to replace Washington's productivity. Stockton will also be the one replacing Jakeem Grant's play making.
Beyond Grant, Stockton has been the most electrifying play maker on the Red Raider roster. He made several plays in the 2015 TCU contest that kept the Texas Tech in the game til the very end. It seems like every screen he caught was going the distance.
It won't be his playmaking that will be a question mark moving forward, though. The question is whether or not he can maintain his dynamic ability getting 20 touches a game compared to seven touches a game.
In Washington's Junior season, he carried the ball 188 times for 1,103 yards. In his senior campaign, he touted 233 carries for 1,492 yards. That's right around six yards per carry. That's what made Washington so good; he ate up yardage in chunks. He had his share of break away runs, but he also got the tough yards inside to keep momentum going.
Stockton, as a freshman, carried the ball 48 times for 396 yards. That's a 8.3 yard per carry clip. As a sophomore, he carried the ball 61 times for 367 yards for six yards per carry. He also had five touchdowns, which is a touchdown every 12 carries. Stockton added 22 receptions and six receiving touchdowns that's like a touchdown every four catches.
With Washington out of the equation, it's up to Stockton to eat up as much of the 400+ rushing attempts the Red Raiders will use next season. Patrick Mahomes will get 100+ of them. Whether that's scrambling or called runs, he will get his fair share of ground time.
So even if Stockton only gets 175-200 carries, he will have to maintain that six yard per carry average that made Washington so successful.
I believe he can.
That leaves around 100 carries for the rest of the team. Reginald Davis and Cameron Batson are leading candidates for the WR carries, which might total 10.
The rest will fall to a RB core that could be the fastest in the country as a unit.
Demarcus Felton will also have the opportunity to get 50-75 carries. Quinton White might see an expanded role. Corey Dauphine is probably going to get the rest of the available touches as a redshirt freshman.
Dauphine is a freak athletically, but was redshirted to learn the nuances of blocking and pass protection schemes that the college game demands. If Dauphine has learned and excelled at the blocking aspect of his game, look for his role to expand as the season moves forward.
Both Dauphine and Felton fit the speed back profile that Stockton has carved out in this offense, and as the three Kliff Kingsbury recruited running backs on the roster it's obvious what Kliff wants in a running back. It's speed he wants in his running game, and offense for that matter, and Stockton and the gang are full throttle.
I have complete confidence in Kingsbury to continue the trend of a "balanced" offense. Yes, the offense is skewed toward the passing game, but to give credit where credit is due, Kingsbury has maintained at least a 60-40 ratio when it comes to the air game vs. the ground game.
It's this commitment to the running game that makes me hopeful that Stockton will get his chance to be a premier back and not just be another underutilized talent after the 2016 campaign. If the Red Raiders want to be above 6th in the conference and be in a marquee bowl match up, they must have a strong running game, and that starts with Justin Stockton.