Whenever Texas Tech goes out for a punt — which is a few times a game — the official has to make an announcement to alert the crowd that No. 9, Branden Jackson, is now wearing No. 90.
The crowd reacts to it, but mostly because the announcement seems needlessly clerical.
"I’m not sure they know what’s going on," said Jackson, a sophomore linebacker. "But they know something is."
What most haven’t known is that Jackson switched jerseys from No. 90 to No. 9 in honor of his stepbrother, Chauncey Williams, who was murdered last year in their hometown of McKeesport, Pa., and wore No. 9 in high school.
It would seem like an easy switch. But since Texas Tech already has a No. 9 on the punt team, Jackson is forced to switch back to 90 when he plays special teams. So he wears a velcro-equipped tearaway No. 90 when it’s time for the Red Raiders to punt. Thus, the announcement.
"It keeps me going," Jackson said. "[It feels] like he’s right next to me."
This week Texas Tech plays at West Virginia (Noon ET, FOX Sports 1), an hour from McKeesport.
"This is the first time my family gets to see me," he said. "I’m sure it’s really going to hit home when they see No. 9 in person."