Top Cal and Texas Tech Players Not Playing in the Independence Bowl

    Both Cal and Texas Tech will look dramatically different, but on opposite sides of the ball, in the Independence Bowl as they're set to be without a ton of playmakers.

    The 2023 iteration of the Independence Bowl will look a bit different than it looked like when it was announced just a handful of weeks prior to kick-off. With multiple players hitting the transfer portal from both the California Golden Bears and Texas Tech Red Raiders, just who will be suiting up on Saturday for both programs?

    Top Cal, Texas Tech Players Not Playing the Independence Bowl

    Thanks to the College Football Network Bowl Game Opt-Out Tracker, we know just who is set to sit out the contest between Cal and Texas Tech easily enough.

    For the full game preview and prediction: Independence Bowl Prediction: Cal vs. Texas Tech Odds, Spread, DFS Picks, and More

    Cal Players To Miss the Independence Bowl

    The first thing that jumps off the page when looking at Cal’s missing players is the quarterback depth. Both options behind Fernando Mendoza are in the portal and it’s Mendoza’s show. While they have their starting quarterback, if anything were to happen to Mendoza in this game, the Bears would have to turn to someone without any passing reps this season.

    Elsewhere on offense, Brayden Rohme and Everett Johnson will be gone from the OL, but only Rohme played in more than one outing this past season.

    The defense, however, is another story. Cal will be without Kaleb Elarms-Orr at linebacker and Jeremiah Earby at cornerback. Earby had an up-and-down career with Cal but recorded two interceptions and 17 pass breakups, including 11 a season ago.

    For Elarms-Orr, the Golden Bears are losing their leading tackler from this season. With 87 total tackles and a handful of splash plays in each facet, Cal’s biggest loss for this matchup with Texas Tech is absolutely their talented three-down linebacker.

    Kicker Mateen Bhaghani is also out, and in his place is Michael Luckhurst, who went 3-of-9 on field goals and 11-of-14 on extra points this season. If this game comes down to kicking, it’s advantage: Texas Tech.

    Cal players expected to miss Independence Bowl:

    • Sam Jackson, QB (transfer portal)
    • Jeremiah Earby, CB (transfer portal)
    • Kaleb Elarms-Orr, LB (transfer portal)
    • Mateen Bhaghani, K (transfer portal)
    • Everett Johnson, iOL (transfer portal)
    • Blake Antzoulatos, LB (transfer portal)
    • Brayden Rohme, OT (transfer portal)
    • Tyson McWilliams, DB (transfer portal)
    • Ben Finley, QB (transfer portal)

    Texas Tech Players To Miss the Independence Bowl

    Where to begin with the Texas Tech players not playing in the Independence Bowl? Where to begin?

    First off, let’s group them by position. At wide receiver alone, the Red Raiders are without Nehemiah Martinez, Nate Floyd, JJ Sparkman, Loic Fouonji, Tyler King, Jerand Bradley, and Myles Price. Here’s how their target share went in 2023:

    • Bradley – 70 targets
    • Price – 62 targets
    • Fouonji – 11 targets
    • Sparkman – 4 targets
    • Martinez – 3 targets

    That leaves Xavier White, Coy Eakin, Drae McCray, and Jordan Brown as their top targets and the only receivers who have caught over 10 receptions this season.

    QB Tyler Shough is also gone — already committed to Louisville — but Behren Morton had re-assumed the starting duties back in Week 5 anyway. As big as the loss at receiver should be, it could be said that the loss of starting left tackle Monroe Mills maybe even bigger.

    Mills started all 12 games for the Red Raiders this year and was one of the top tackles with his blend of size, speed, and pass-blocking prowess.

    If it’s Ty Buchanan in his place or if they decide to move someone else over, it remains to be seen, but it’ll likely be a downgrade.

    Texas Tech players expected to miss Independence Bowl:

    • Nehemiah Martinez, WR (transfer portal)
    • Nate Floyd, WR (transfer portal)
    • JJ Sparkman, WR (transfer portal)
    • Loic Fouonji, WR (transfer portal)
    • Jayden York, TE (transfer portal)
    • Brook Honore, P (transfer portal)
    • Tyler King, WR (transfer portal)
    • Nate Floyd, DB (transfer portal)
    • Seth Martin, OL (transfer portal)
    • Monroe Mills, OT (transfer portal)
    • Jerand Bradley, WR (transfer portal)
    • Matt Keeler, OL (transfer portal)
    • Myles Price, WR (transfer portal)
    • Landon Peterson, OT (transfer portal)
    • Tyler Shough, QB (transfer portal)
    • Jordan Green, TE (transfer portal)

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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