Meet Luke Stice, Team Leader and Your New Favorite Red Raider
Graduate transfer Luke Stice is new at Texas Tech, but it already feels like home. He spent the past four years in the big city of Houston, but the Midland native loves being back in west Texas.
"I'm a west Texas guy," Stice said, "It's a homecoming for me, honestly."
He's already made an impact in his short time in Lubbock. Coach Whitt listed him in a video as one of the players who have stood out to him. His work ethic was mentioned as being outstanding.
"One thing I take pride in is just going to work each day," is the mantra Stice told us he lives by. "You're gonna get everything I've got every day. You can instill trust in your teammates and your coaching staff if you're an everyday guy."
It's that trust that's made him an instant leader in this Texas Tech locker room.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes credits Stice as a the guy who's inspired him to be a meathead in the weight room this off season. Several players have named him as a leader of the defense. Stice hasn't even stepped foot on the field and he's already making an impact.
The defensive struggles at Texas Tech are well-documented. So are the rotating bodies that have filled the Defensive Coordinator position in the past eight years. What has been pegged as part of the problem has been unity on the defensive side of the ball. One guy not doing his job, or a blown assignment on nearly every play.
In an effort to eliminate that problem, there was an exodus on the defensive staff this off season, which obviously led to several new hires. And, while he may not be a defensive coach, Rusty Whitt has played a huge part in unifying the team. It's a sentiment that Stice echoes. "One thing I learned growing up: two things you control, attitude and effort. When all 11 guys are giving phenomenal effort and running to the ball."
One thing I take pride in is just going to work each day. You're gonna get everything I've got every day. You can instill trust in your teammates and your coaching staff if you're an everyday guy."
That's the attitude that's been lacking on the Texas Tech defense, and it's something Stice brings to the program.
In his time at Houston, Stice was listed as a linebacker, but played fullback, too. His stat sheet isn't a flashy one. His bio on the the UHCOUGARS.com website is mostly special teams accolades.
I don't know if he will get extended playing time at linebacker (and Texas Tech doesn't use a fullback), but I'm sure Stice is willing to do whatever is asked of him. He will give phenomenal effort during practice and make everyone around him better. He's a glue guy that might just galvanize a weak defense into something much stronger.
He will also play a major role on special teams, and you better believe he'll be sprinting down the field every opportunity -- even if he doesn't record a tackle.
I'm not downplaying the ability of Stice here, either. He's definitely a D1 athlete. Stice boasted 115 tackles and was named the 2011 3-5A District Defensive Most Valuable Player.
All he needs is an opportunity.
Another thing that Stice brings to the Texas Tech defense is raw, unfiltered passion, which is personified through his intense nature on the field and in the weight room.
Nothing sheds light on this personality trait more than the face slapping that occurs when Stice is lifting.
It's my understanding this isn't a one time thing. Mahomes and company at Texas Tech's football media day all dished on the fact that Stice is an animal with animal tendencies.
Stice labled himself as "a passionate guy." That's putting it lightly.
"Everyone's got a plan, 'til life punches you in the face." Stice continued, "I take pride in responding to stuff like that."
It's that unbridled passion and work ethic, along with the opportunity of playing time Stice will be competing for, that should spell improvement on the Texas Tech defense.
If not, the offense will be better from having to work with him at practice.
You can watch the whole interview with Luke Stice above, and the rest of 1340 The Fan's interviews at Texas Tech's football media day in the video playlist below.