The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 35: Texas State’s Gabe Loyd
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
Gabe Loyd was a pleasant surprise for Texas State and first-year head coach Everett Withers last season. A transfer from Fort Scott Community College, Loyd stepped in as a junior and gave the Bobcats some much-needed help on defense. He was second on the team in tackles with 102 to go along with six tackles for loss and a team-high two sacks.
Prior to joining Texas State, Loyd was named a three-star recruit by 247Sports out of Fort Scott Community College. He left his mark on the program, setting the school’s all-time tackle mark with 224 in just two seasons of action. Loyd was a two-time all-state selection at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy in St. Louis before starting his collegiate career in the junior college ranks.
One of the most telling stories showing Loyd’s importance to the Bobcats was seen shortly after his arrival on campus last spring. A natural leader, Loyd was voted as a team captain just a few months after joining the program. That leadership was crucial to a defense that struggled for the majority of last year. Loyd has a consistent nose for the football – he’s had at least 100 tackles each year.
Loyd’s arrival and the emergence of Bryan London as a young star gave Withers and the Bobcats one of the most productive linebacker duos in the entire conference last year. The two have to feed off each other again this year and there is no doubt that the middle of the defense is the strongest unit on the team. Lloyd’s production and leadership will be vital heading into Withers’ second year in charge of the program as the Bobcats look to slash last season’s opponent scoring average of more than 41 points per game.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.