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Texas Tech DB Reggie Pearson Jr. Compares Red Raiders to Big Ten Team

Pearson Jr. has seen both sides of the coin during his collegiate playing career.

Texas Tech Red Raiders safety Reggie Pearson Jr. has seen both sides of the coin during his collegiate playing career. 

Playing his first two seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers, Pearson Jr. got to experience the tough-nosed defensive style that the Big Ten has become known for, partly due to the elite performance on that side of the ball by the Badgers in recent years. 

In his two seasons in Madison, he totaled 65 tackles, four passes defended, and two forced fumbles. 

Pearson Jr. transferred to Lubbock following the 2019 season but sat out due to an undisclosed medical issue. He tallied 54 total tackles, three passes defended, one forced fumble, and his first-career interception in his first year with Tech last season.

But he wasn't shy in admitting the stark difference he saw in cultural approach once he arrived. 

"At Wisconsin, it's tradition," Pearson told The Rob Breaux Sheaux Friday. "Tradition is a big thing up there. We are tight-knit. We know what we signed up for. It naturally gelled that relationship up there. To this day, I still talk to my friends up there from Wisconsin - even the ones that did transfer out. We definitely have a natural love for each other."

Different doesn't always mean better. And joining a Red Raiders team still searching for its first 10-win season since 2008, Pearson Jr. said this drought of winning production would be unacceptable at Wisconsin.

"Coming down here, when I first got here, it was a different atmosphere," he said. "It was super individualized. I don't think they understood the hunger and the natural grit to win. Up there at Wisconsin, we were a winning program. You do have a natural grit to yourself like 'We are winning 10 games or more and if we don't, it's a terrible season.'"

The Texas Tech Athletic Department clearly showed there wasn't going to be any more waste of time with average on-field performance, as they fired coach Matt Wells midseason last year.

Luckily, Pearson Jr. has seen a change since the hiring of coach Joey McGuire this past November. Though the team's record sits at 0-0 in early August, the general consensus has been that air in Lubbock and Jones AT&T Stadium has started to fill up with optimism as of late.

"I came down here and everyone is used to losing to certain teams," Pearson Jr. said. "You see it, the fear, and not wanting to play. I couldn't really understand it. Now, thankfully that changed. We do have the confidence, we do have the mentality to win every game this season. The culture changed throughout the three years that I played."

Pearson Jr. is aiming to be a major reason for continuing this change, particularly for a defense that still has tons to prove after a poor performance last season. The Red Raiders' secondary allowed the most passing yards per game in the Big 12 last season (266.4) and the third-most points per game (32.1). 

But with newfound pride in winning and combined with a team-first approach, Pearson Jr. is looking to take a wide-open Big 12 by storm this season. 

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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