The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 23: Texas Tech’s Travis Bruffy
AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.
The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team or in a unit is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2017 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.
50 – Lamar DE Daniel Crosley / 49 – TCU WR KaVontae Turpin / 48 – UTEP QB Ryan Metz
47 – UMHB RB Markeith Miller / 46 – Sam Houston State DE PJ Hall / 45 – Baylor WR Blake Lynch
44 – Texas Tech WR Jonathan Giles (transferred) / 43 – Texas Tech RB Justin Stockton
42 – PVAMU WR Joshua Simmons / 41 – Rice RB Samuel Stewart / 40 – UNT WR Jalen Guyton
39 – Texas RB Chris Warren / 38 – Rice OL Trey Martin / 37 – Texas A&M Commerce QB Luis Perez
36 – Baylor DL K.J. Smith / 35 – Texas State LB Gabe Loyd / 34 – Texas State WR Thurman Morbley
33 – Houston DB Khalil Williams / 32 – Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks / 31 – SFA DL John Franklin
30 – SMU DE Justin Lawler / 29 – Texas State QB Damian Williams / 28 – ACU QB Dallas Sealey
27 – UTSA QB Dalton Sturm / 26 – Texas A&M RB Trayveon Williams / 25 – UTSA WR Josh Stewart
24 – TCU LB Travin Howard
A few years ago, Travis Bruffy was playing on defense at Fort Bend Ridge Point High School. But after spending his sophomore year transitioning to the offensive line and continuing to get bigger and stronger over the years, he has developed into a left tackle with a lot of potential for coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Red Raiders. Bruffy spent last season mostly as a blocking tight end in short yardage situations and even caught a five-yard touchdown pass against Oklahoma State. But he took over first-team duties at left tackle in the spring and has emerged as one of Texas Tech’s most improved players up front.
In two years at the varsity level for Ridge Point, Bruffy was an all-district selection both seasons before earning all-state honors his senior year. He was an important part of the two deep playoff runs for the Panthers in 2014 and 2015.
Bruffy is still adjusting to life on the offensive line, especially at the Division I level. He only played two varsity seasons on the line and was used mostly as a tight end last season. Regardless, he has shown enough promise and potential to catch the eye of Kingsbury and the rest of the coaching staff throughout spring practices. He has put on more weight and is stronger heading into the fall, and certainly looks the part now standing at 6-6, 300 lbs.
Texas Tech has a lot of young talent up front, with Terrance Steele returning and Jack Anderson joining the roster as one of the top offensive line recruits in the country. Developing Bruffy into a reliable and consistent piece at left tackle can help solidify an important position up front while also giving Tech another guy who can continue to grow and improve over the next few years. With a new quarterback taking over for Patrick Mahomes, Bruffy will have to play well to help ease that transition.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.