Spring steps forward: Texas Tech

We'll take a look at some of the Big 12's breakout stars this spring, but we'll move forward with a series looking at guys who will be stepping into bigger roles this season and what they have to provide. Some are going from being role players to starters. Some are going from starter to star. Some from stars to bona fide superstars.

Let's move on with Texas Tech.

Texas Tech's spring steps forward: Defensive linemen Kerry Hyder and Dartwan Bush

Hyder and Bush were very good last season, as good as we've seen a Tech defensive lineman in some time. Very good, but not completely dominant all the time. The duo combined for 26 tackles for loss and finished fifth and sixth in the Big 12, higher than any Tech defensive lineman had finished in the league ranking of the stat since 2009. Hyder cracked the media's first team All-Big 12 team but Bush was shut out of both.

That's got to change this year if Tech's defense is going to be good enough for the Red Raiders to make an impact in Year 1 of Kliff Kingsbury's tenure in Lubbock. Why? Hyder and Bush were breakout stars last year, but the Red Raiders lost five contributors from the secondary, including both safeties. Cornerbacks Bruce Jones and Olaoluwa Falemi will likely be the starters on the outside, but Tech's going to be dealing with tons of youth in the secondary. How do you offset that? A truly dominant pass rush.

That's where Hyder and Bush come in. Tech needs them to be even better next season and spend this offseason working hard and maturing into stars that every voter would be crazy to leave off the Big 12's first team next December. They've got the ability to do it, and if it happens, Tech will make good on its potential to be a big factor in the Big 12 title race.

See more Big 12 spring steps forward.