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Player to Watch: Ray Lima

The SOPHOMORE has quickly become one of the best defensive tackles in the Big 12.

Northern Iowa v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Last week, I pegged Kyle Kempt as my player to watch in the Kansas game. Due to the weather Kempt wasn’t asked to do much, finishing just 13 of 20 passing on the game. However, what I was mainly looking for the senior to do was avoid mistakes and continue being a good game manager. Kempt did precisely that, avoiding any turnovers, and actually preventing a few more due to bad snaps.

Ray Lima

Following his commitment, the coaching staff continually raved about Lima’s talent. Coming into this season, many had some high expectations of him, but Ray has exceeded those expectations ten-fold, and continues to get better seemingly every play. At the beginning of the season, Lima mainly did a good job of simply plugging the line and forcing running backs to bounce outside. Not bad, but probably not going to be a big difference-maker in a lot of games.

Now, follow #76 around, and you’ll the California native not only drawing double teams, but regularly splitting the lineman and creating havoc in the backfield. Against a not-even-a-little-bit mobile quarterback like Tech’s Nic Shimonek, having a defensive lineman that collapse the pocket as quickly as Lima will allow Iowa State to consistently drop eight into coverage and lock down Tech’s passing game. If you can lock down Tech’s passing game, they’re toast.

Look for Lima to be a huge factor in how well the Cyclone can slow down Texas Tech’s elite passing attack.