Following their season-opening win over the University of Houston, Texas Tech football had two members of its defense named winners of Big 12 weekly awards. Third-year defensive back Reggie Pearson was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, while fifth-year linebacker Riko Jeffers won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.

Pearson spent his first three years at Wisconsin, staying in the northern half of the nation after being born in Detroit, Michigan, but was only able to play one full season before transferring to Tech. 

In his Tech debut, Pearson recorded eight tackles, one forced fumble, as well as the first of four interceptions made by the Red Raiders’ defense and the first interception of his collegiate career.

After spending his first year at Wisconsin as a redshirt season, Pearson developed into a starter at Safety in 2019, when he tallied 60 tackles in 14 games, starting all but one of them. 

By finishing the season tied for the team high in forced fumbles as well as fourth-highest in tackles, Pearson played an integral role in causing Wisconsin's 10-win season and Rose Bowl appearance.

Pearson missed the entire 2020 season due to an unspecified medical condition and decided to enter the transfer portal following its end. On May 5, Tech’s head coach Matt Wells’ announced the signing of Pearson with three years of eligibility remaining. 

Unlike Pearson, linebacker Riko Jeffers has spent each of his four completed seasons in Lubbock and will continue to do so with his final season of eligibility granted by the NCAA. 

Jeffers also contributed to Tech’s four-interception performance, returning one of Houston quarterback Clayton Tune’s passes 13 yards to the opposite end zone, tying the score at 21-a-piece midway through the third quarter and erasing a 14-point halftime deficit. 

In addition to the first interception of his collegiate career, Jeffers tallied four tackles and a sack in the season opener against Houston. In his second season opener as Tech’s defensive coordinator, Keith Patterson showed an affinity for blitzing Jeffers. 

The Red Raiders held Houston to 251 total yards on offense in their comeback win, with performances by Riko Jeffers and Reggie Pearson playing a large role in Tech’s defense, allowing under 300 yards for the first time since the 2020 finale and leading to the selection of both for their Big 12 weekly awards.

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