In the Red Raiders’ three-man front, Randolph has Eli Howard and Nelson Mbanasor at defensive end, Jaylon Hutchings and Nick McCann at nose tackle, and Tony Bradford and Drew at defensive tackle. All were part of the rotation in 2019 except Drew, who earned NJCAA all-America recognition at Iowa Western.

Howard has 30 career starts, the past 22 in a row. Hutchings cracked the starting lineup early last season and has a 10-game streak. McCann and Bradford started twice apiece last year.

Part of the optimism stems from the fact players such as Mbanasor, a junior, and Hutchings and Bradford, both sophomores, have some experience and could be entering their prime as college players.

Among all the defensive linemen, Texas Tech D Line Coach Paul Randolph said without hesitation Mbanasor has made the best showing in preseason workouts.

“He’s really been off the charts the whole camp,” Randolph said. “He’s bigger, faster, stronger, more explosive, practicing at a high level.”

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