Texas Tech football's 5 top returning defensive players for 2023

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Welcome back to the 5 in 5 series looking at the 2023 Texas Tech football team.
Yesterday we took a look at the top five returning offensive players for the Red Raiders. Today we'll take a gander at the best returning defensive players.
Here's some of the names to know leading Tim DeRuyter's unit.
Tony Bradford Jr., senior, lineman
The future cop with the booming voice, Bradford was one of six players to start and play in all 13 games last year. He matched his career high with 32 tackles (22 solo) and earned career marks in tackles for loss (9.0) and sacks (5.5).
Malik Dunlap, super senior, defensive back
A second-team All-Big 12 selection a season ago, Dunlap was among the national and conference leaders in passes defended, totaling 12 pass breakups and an interception. He also had 85 snaps on special teams as a member of the field-goal blocking unit and kickoff coverage.
Jaylon Hutchings, senior, lineman
Tech's lone defensive representative on the preseason All-Big 12 team, Hutchings forms the other half of the stellar interior duo with Bradford. Hutchings posted 50 tackles (30 solo), 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He was also a threat on offense, scoring a rushing touchdown against Oklahoma.
Jesiah Pierre, senior, linebacker
Pierre is making the switch to the boundary inside linebacker after starting 10 games at the boundary edge position in 2022. He trailed Tyree Wilson in total tackles among Tech's outside linebackers last year with 40 to go with 4.5 sacks.
Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, super senior, defensive back
Rabbit made his return known before the 2022 season was even completed. Now the super senior is back after leading the Red Raiders with three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Taylor-Demerson also tallied five pass breakups and 74 tackles.

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