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June 19, 2013
Key Red Raiders: Kerry Hyder
Even though Delvon Simmons' recent departure doesn't impact Hyder's job directly, the Red Raiders need him to come through more than ever on a line that has the potential to be very solid in 2013.
The former Rivals.com three-star recruit from Austin's Lydon B. Johnson High School has exceeded that ranking in his first three seasons as a Red Raider and the upcoming season could be a special one in Matt Wallerstedt's 3-4 defense. As an end, Hyder has more responsibilities; rushing and containing the edges with help from some talented outside linebackers.
But talented is the key word. As defensive ends themselves last season, Pete Robertson and Branden Jackson don't have any real game experience at their new position and they're going to be key allies in run support.
You're looking for Hyder to aid, especially early on, in providing a challenge at the first level for runners.
From a pass rushing standpoint, they don't get much better than the senior.
Hyder had 5.5 sacks and broke up four passing attempts while recording a team third-best 56 tackles, 42 of them solo. Those stats don't include forcing the quarterback to tuck and run or at least moving in the pocket.
The converted end's pass rushing skills will be greatly needed this season as the Red Raiders break in a completely new secondary and he looks the part after a breakout 2012 season.
Furthermore, losing the 6-foot-2, 281-pounder would be a bad thing. Dartwan Bush and Jackson Richards are the only other established defensive ends without having to make major positional adjustments.
If Tech is to field a respectable defense this season, Hyder will be a big part of it.
UP NEXT: No. 8 on our countdown has played every position in the secondary for the Red Raiders.