- David Ubben, College Football
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We're walking through each Big 12 team and identifying its most irreplaceable talent on the blog right now. He's the guy they can least afford to lose and the guy to whom an injury or departure would have the most effect.
Let's move on with Texas Tech.
Most indispensable player: TE Jace Amaro
It's not the only reason, but you have to wonder about Texas Tech's record last season, don't you? With Amaro in the lineup during the regular season, Tech was 5-1 with a lopsided win against West Virginia that included five catches for 156 yards and a touchdown from Amaro.
However, he suffered a rib injury against the Mountaineers and Tech fell to just 2-4 the rest of the regular season before Amaro returned for the bowl game. A tougher schedule had a lot to do with that 2-4 stretch, but Tech's offense just wasn't the same without him. It was held to 24 points or less in losses to Texas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. I don't believe the losses were solely because of Amaro, but his absence changed the offense. He's an impossible matchup for defenses at 6-foot-5 and 257 pounds. He knows how to use his body, he's got great speed and is unbelievably difficult to bring down in the open field. The Red Raiders simply don't have another player like him, and obviously makes him irreplaceable. We saw the results last season. Amaro was the best tight end in the Big 12 last season, but an injury kept him off the All-Big 12 team. He'll be the league's best tight end again this season, and if he can stay healthy, he won't have much competition for that first-team spot. No question about this one: This season, Amaro is Tech's most irreplaceable talent.
1dJake Trotter, Brandon Chatmon and Max Olson