Kliff Kingsbury brought excitement back into the football program in his first season as head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Now, the challenge will be capitalizing on the team’s momentum from 2013 and taking the next step towards the Red Raiders becoming legitimate Big 12 contenders in 2014. To do that, they’ll need big seasons from previously under-the-radar players like senior wide receiver Bradley Marquez.
Marquez had a strong junior season despite playing in a supplementary role in Kingsbury’s Air Raid attack. He finished fourth on the team with 633 yards receiving on 49 receptions and six touchdowns. With the loss of both Jace Amaro and Eric Ward this offseason, Marquez figures to move up into a featured role during his senior season opposite Jakeem Grant. With the way that Tech throws the ball around, you figure that will mean a huge boost in production for Marquez in 2014.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior has flashed some excellent playmaking ability during his collegiate career and has refocused his efforts on football this offseason (rather than playing baseball). The challenge for Marquez will be to continue to be productive without the likes of Amaro and Ward to take defensive pressure off of him. If he starts making big plays, will added defensive attention trip him up?
Whether or not Marquez is ready for the spotlight remains to be seen but he will certainly get his opportunities in 2014 for a monster senior season. Texas Tech found success by chucking the ball all over the field in 2013 and letting their playmakers at receiver take it from there. Will Marquez be able to carry that responsibility this fall?