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Monday, June 17, 2013
Plenty to prove: Texas Tech Red Raiders

By David Ubben

Every season, every player feels he's got at least something to prove. Otherwise, all the work wouldn't be worth it. That said, some guys have more to prove than others.

These are the guys with the most to prove on their respective Big 12 teams.

Next up: Texas Tech

More guys with plenty to prove.

Plenty to prove: TE Jace Amaro

Not long after he got the job as Red Raiders head coach, I got some time to talk with Kliff Kingsbury about his new team. Kingsbury said he wasn't too familiar with the personnel just yet -- getting tunnel-vision while coaching at another program in another conference will do that, even if it's your alma mater -- and hadn't gone back to watch any of Texas Tech's games from the previous season. He wanted to go in fresh, but said he knew a few names, and the first one he dropped was no big surprise.

Jace Amaro. He's a freak athlete with the potential to be a game-changing tight end -- and he has been that at times. Amaro's got speed uncommon for his position, great hands and a fantastic ability to use his 6-foot-5, 257-pound frame to box out defenders and free up space to use those hands. He just hasn't done it enough yet. Along the way, he's had a few bumps. Some his fault. Some not.

There was the arrest last March on alleged credit-card abuse and a bowl-game ejection for punching a defender he'd pinned on the ground. At the very least, neither is what you'd want to see out of a team leader.

A fluky hit in a blowout win over West Virginia left Amaro with an internal injury that cost him six games after the biggest one of his career -- a five-catch, 156-yard outburst against the Mountaineers. In his second season on the field, it was a flash of what he could be. This season, in what should be a high-powered offense under Kingsbury, with promising quarterback Michael Brewer at the helm, the potential is there for a breakout season for Amaro. There's certainly not a more gifted tight end in the Big 12, a player capable of being the go-to target in an offense.

Amaro can be that, but as a junior, he's got to prove he can do it, stay healthy and stay out of trouble. If he does all three, the Red Raiders will reap major benefits.