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August 28, 2011

SIX: Newcomers to watch

There are just six days left until the Texas Tech football team kicks off its 2011 season against Texas State. We continue our countdown to kickoff by looking at the six newcomers that will make the biggest impact for the Red Raiders this year.

TE Jace Amaro - Amaro has an NFL-caliber frame and all of the physical tools necessary to be an All-Big 12 performer during his career at Texas Tech. The former Rivals100 prospect is still a little raw, but Amaro oozes potential. He enters the season listed second on the team's depth chart at tight end and could very easily push his way to the top of the two-deep before conference play starts.

RB Ronnie Daniels - Daniels wasn't listed on Tech's initial two-deep, but he will definitely play against Texas State. He is a slash player for the Red Raiders, meaning he can fulfill multiple roles -- running back, blocking back and inside receiver. Daniels arrived in Lubbock college-ready from a physical standpoint, and he's had an entire spring and summer offseason to increase his strength and stamina.

LB Blake Dees - From an on-field standpoint, Dees may be the surprise of the year for the Red Raiders. He was all over the field during the spring and entered the offseason on the team's two-deep. Dees didn't stop there, though; he worked his way into the top spot at strongside linebacker midway through fall camp and is now poised to become the first true freshman linebacker to start an opener for Tech since Brock Stratton in 2003.

DE Leon Mackey - What else is there to say about Mackey that hasn't already been said? He's done everything right up to this point, now he just has to do it on the field when it counts. Mackey has had a long journey to Division I football, so I can't help but think Saturday will be all sorts of surreal for him.

WR Bradley Marquez - If Dees is the surprise of the year, Marquez may be the surprise of fall camp. Everyone knew he was fast, but no one expected him to come in and firmly establish himself in the Red Raiders' rotation at outside receiver. Keep in mind, Marquez spent his high school career at running back; he's been a receiver for all of three months.

DT Delvon Simmons - Simmons, the last of Tech's 2011 signees to arrive on campus, missed the team's offseason strength and conditioning program and was admittedly out of shape when the Red Raiders opened fall camp earlier this month. The potential is there for Simmons to be starter later in the season, but he'll begin the season behind Kerry Hyder at defensive tackle.

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