Texas Tech's all-decade team

January, 21, 2010
1/21/10
5:36
PM ET
Despite its isolated location, Texas Tech became one of the prime stories in college football during the last decade.

Tech was an underrated program on the field, qualifying for a bowl game in every season under Mike Leach.

In building his program, Leach was known for his love of pirates and Sherlock Holmes and many other things that had little to do with football. He was a breath of fresh air in the coaching fraternity.

When he was fired after the 2009 regular season, it was a national story because of its abrupt nature.

The Red Raiders claimed 85 victories during the decade, trailing only Oklahoma and Texas. All but one of those wins was earned by Leach, who was fired shortly before Tech’s Valero Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State.

The Red Raiders certainly were the Big 12's most entertaining program with a high-powered offense and the quirky Leach in charge. And when they were at their very best, the Red Raiders had an underrated defense directed by Ruffin McNeill that accentuated the team’s offensive firepower.

Here’s a look at my selections for the top moments and players for Tech from the last decade.

OFFENSE

QB: Graham Harrell

RB: Taurean Henderson

RB: Baron Batch

WR: Michael Crabtree

WR: Joel Filani

WR: Wes Welker

OL: Brandon Carter

OL: Rylan Reed

OL: Luis Vasquez

OL: Daniel Loper

C: Dylan Gandy

DEFENSE

DL: Aaron Hunt

DL: Adell Duckett

DL Brandon Sharpe

DL: Brandon Williams

LB: Lawrence Flugence

LB: Mike Smith

LB: Marlon Williams

DB: Dwayne Slay

DB: Kevin Curtis

DB: Darcel McBath

DB: Jamar Wall

P: Alex Reyes

K: Alex Trlica

Ret: Wes Welker

Offensive player of the decade: WR Michael Crabtree. Despite playing only two seasons, he became the most productive receiver in Tech’s history. He was a two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award with 231 receptions and 41 TD grabs setting an NCAA record for two seasons of production.

Defensive player of the decade: S Kevin Curtis. A fiery, hard-hitting safety, Curtis was the most decorated and one of the most versatile defensive player of the decade for the Red Raiders. Curtis earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 1999 and 2000 and second-team all-conference honors in 2001. He was a second-team All-American in 2000 while playing strong safety and a second-team All-America choice in 2001 after moving to free safety.

Coach of the decade: Mike Leach. He perhaps was the most influential coaching figure in Big 12 history as he helped push the conference from a stodgy run-based attack to one where cutting-edge passing attacks predominated. He also became a national figure because of his personality and his guest appearances on television shows as diverse as “Sixty Minutes” and “Friday Night Lights.”

Moment of the decade: Michael Crabtree’s late touchdown grab beats Texas in 2008. Graham Harrell’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree was one second left helped push Tech to an area it had never been before. It not only boosted them to a 39-33 triumph over Texas but also served as a national coming-out party for Leach, Crabtree and the rest of the Tech program. In the process, the Red Raiders earned an unprecedented share of the Big 12 South title that season.

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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12