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Texas Tech Defensive Players to Watch vs. Texas

The Red Raiders will be returning one of the most experienced defensive units in the Big 12 in 2021

The Texas Longhorns will open up their Big 12 slate against one of their most heated rivals, the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The Red Raiders, who are coming off of a 4-6 record under head coach Matt Wells, finished eighth in the Big 12 last season and is looking to rebound in a big way in 2021.

So far, they have done just that, starting the season 3-0, with three impressive wins.

Defensively, Texas Tech returned the most experienced unit in the Big 12, led by eight seniors and three juniors.

Last season, the Red Raiders ranked 108th in the country in scoring defense (36.7 ppg), 99th in the country in total defense (444.9 ypg), 89th in the country in rush defense (186.4 ypg), and 101st in the country in pass defense (258.5 ypg).

So far in 2021, those numbers have largely improved, with the Red Raiders ranking 59th in scoring offense (21.3 ppg), 29th in total defense (290.3 ypg), and fifth in run defense (54.33 ypg). 

If the Longhorns are going to be able to exploit anything against the Red Raiders' defense, it should be with the pass, where the Red Raiders rank 87th in the country and give up 236 yards per contest.

Can the Longhorns build off of their explosive performance against Rice in the Big 12 opener?

READ MORE: Texas Longhorns 2021 Opponent Preview: Texas Tech Red Raiders

Make sure to stick with through our season preview series, where we will analyze every opponent on the Longhorns schedule in 2021.

Colin Schooler


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The younger brother of Texas defensive back Brendan Schooler, Red Raiders linebacker Colin Schooler is the team's second-leading returning tackler, finishing last season with 63 total tackles, and five tackles for loss. He also finished with a team-leading 3.5 sacks in 2020.  This season, Schooler leads the team with 20 total tackles and has two tackles for loss. 

Riko Jeffers


Ending the year with 58 total tackles, linebacker Rico Jeffers is another name in the talented Red Raiders linebacker group. Jeffers also led the team in tackles for loss with 8.5 and had 1.5 sacks last season. This season, Jeffers has 13 tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss.


Marquis Waters

Another incoming transfer, Marquis Waters will be brought in to help secure the back end of the Texas Tech pass defense, which struggled mightily in 2020. Waters comes to Lubbock after spending four seasons with the Duke Blue Devils in the ACC. Waters has been solid in his Tech tenure thus far, and has eight tackles with one interception that he took back for a touchdown

Krishon Merriweather


The Red Raiders leading returning tackler from last season, Krishon Merriweather is an athletic beast that can run sideline to sideline, and make plays at all levels of the defense. In 2020, Merriweather finished the year with 75 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks. This season, Merriweather has 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

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