Recruiting

Grading the 2016 Recruiting Class: Offense

This was a project that involved Brian, Spencer and Seth to grade the 2016 recruiting class based on four different categories. I asked that all three grade each position and Brian did the write-ups for the receivers and quarterback and I took the offensive line. The grades that are shown are the average of our three evaluations. Thanks to Brian and Spencer for helping out with this project.

Offensive Line

Grades:
Quantity: A-
Quality: B
Immediate Impact: C-
Long-Term Impact: B

Analysis:
Quantity: Texas Tech grabbed four offensive linemen in the 2016 class: Giovanni Pancotti, Travis Bruffy, Zach Adams and Bailey Smith. Considering Texas Tech grabbed five offensive linemen in the 2015 class and already have three committed for the 2017 class, that’s some terrific depth. It’s tough not consider this group, in terms of quantity, just as good as last year’s class. For all intents and purposes, this is a full class.

Quality: All we have to base this off of is potential. We haven’t seen the 2015 class just yet (we’re about to see them this spring) and we probably won’t see this class for two more years. Just based off of the valuations from the recruiting services and my own eyes, I think the talent was better, on a high end, in the 2015 class with Madison Akamnonu and Conner Dyer. Trace Ellison, Terrence Steele and Paul Stawarz on that middle plane and Cody Wheeler on a third tier. With this class, I think Pancotti and Adams would have been on that second tier while Bruffy and Smith would be on that third tier. And we should all acknowledge that how the recruiting services grade players isn’t how things shake out. Steele wasn’t supposed to be a first tier guy, but from everything we’ve read, that appears to be the case. Justin Murphy would have been a third tier guy, but he’s ended up as a first tier. Still, from the video I’ve seen, I think that Adams has a chance to be very good as an outside guy and Pancotti could smash on the inside. I’m not sure what to make of Bruffy and Smith at this point, but I’ve still got them on the third tier right now.

Immediate Impact: I think the odds are low that any of these offensive linemen make an impact in 2016 and most likely, won’t make an impact until they are juniors or redshirt sophomores. Of the ones that I think are ready, it’s Adams for sure and I’d have to debate the others. With so many young players as part of the 2015 class, and the fact that they’ll have to play as redshirt freshmen, that might block these guys for a while. Still, the more time that they have to grow and get strong, the better the chances for those third tier guys to be a big part of the program moving forward.

Long-Term Impact: Thus far, Lee Hays has done a terrific job of finding guys that fit and he acknowledged after National Signing Day that he couldn’t understand why these guys aren’t rated higher. I do think that they are very young and there are, right now, physical limitations, but I think a guy like Rusty Whitt can change guys to be significant players.

-By Seth C

Running Back

Grades:
Quantity: C
Quality: B
Immediate Impact: C
Long-Term Impact: B

Analysis:
Quantity: One running back commit per class is about right. Too many running backs is a crowd and not taking a running back is usually bad news. The 2014 class had 2 running back, Demarcus Felton and Justin Stockton and it’s worked out well thus far for Stockton because he was such a change of pace, but odds are (these are my odds and things could change with a new running back coach) that Felton gets his turn to shine with DeAndre Washington graduated. In 2015, the only running back was Corey Dauphine and after a redshirt year, he’s going to be itching to make his impact on the field.

Quality: Personally, I think that Da’Leon Ward is a terrific back and really underrated. He’s about perfect for what Texas Tech wants to do and truthfully, he’s taller than most Texas Tech running backs. Ward was a top 100 player by every service and to get a top 100 player at a key position is great for Texas Tech. And the running back position is a lot like the quarterback position in that if you don’t have a great running back, the entire offense will struggle. I don’t think Texas Tech is going to struggle at running back for some time.

Immediate Impact: With so many running backs in the fold, I can’t envision Ward making an immediate impact this year and maybe even the next year. It’s loaded, but I think that’s a good thing. Either you rise to the top, or fall to the bottom.

Long-Term Impact: Long-term, I would absolutely expect Ward to be a huge part of the long-term success at Texas Tech.

-By Seth C.

Quarterbacks

Grades:
Quantity: B+
Quality: A
Immediate Impact: C
Long-Term Impact: A-

Analysis:

Quantity: Texas Tech added two quarterbacks this class in Jett Duffey and Colt Garrett (preferred walk-on). This brings the Tech QB total back up to 5.

Quality: Jett Duffey, otherwise known as Mr. Texas Football 2015, should give Red Raiders plenty to get excited about. Though a bit shorter, Duffey is seen by many as a Pat Mahomes starter kit, but with an added advantage: should everything play to script (knock on wood), Duffey will have the advantage of getting to sit behind Mahomes and learn/lift for 2 years instead of going right into the fire. Duffey already features great pocket awareness and can hose the ball downfield, but has shown flashes of being able to stand tall in the pocket instead of the scramble/run being his first option. And don’t turn a nose at Colt Garrett; the PWO pulled in his own Texas Football Player of the Week honors this past season. As experience has proven, you can’t have enough depth.

Immediate Impact: Hopefully none

Long-Term Impact: Long gone are the days were Tech would trot out a 5th year senior quarterback consecutive years in a row. Indeed, it feel like it’s been far too long since the Red Raiders have had the luxury of letting any of their quarterbacks avoid a trial by fire. Regardless of the amount of time that Duffey has to wait to take the reins, he certainly looks to fit the prototype of what Kliff looks for in his quarterbacks.

-By Brian DonCarlos.

Wide Receivers

Grades:

Quantity: A
Quality: A-
Immediate Impact: A-
Long-Term Impact: A-

Analysis:

Quantity: The 2016 class featured 5 receivers and an additional PWO, making for a total of 6 new Red Raiders

Quality: Kingsbury and Co. seemed to have put a premium on outside threats, a glaringly absent dimension at times the past 2 seasons, and the signing class delivered. 3 of the signees eclipse 6’-4”, and two of those carry a general 4 star rating. Derek Willies has the frame of a big time receiver, and the skills to complement. Not a burner but fast enough to get a step on corners, Willies does an excellent job tracking the ball and will be a boon both in the red zone and when stretching the field deep. The same could be said for TJ Vasher, whose film also features an amazing leaping ability and some quick moves when breaking routes. As for speed, both De’Quan Bowman & Bryson Denley bring the heat with sub-4.4 40 times. Look for Bowman to compete for returning duties as soon as he steps on campus

Immediate Impact: Willies could be just what the doctor ordered for Tech’s downfield woes. Given the performance of the outside receivers last season, anybody that can give Mahomes a legitimate target will rise to the top of the depth chart. Aside from that, Tech has a ton of receivers in the wings, so I would think any of the other commits aside from Bowman will have to really make a name for themselves to not be red-shirted.

Long-Term Impact: While Willies is most likely to cause the biggest impact now, TJ Vasher is definitely the receiver of the future. Both he and Antoine Cox-Wesley could use some quality time with Rusty Whitt, Vasher definitely already has all of the tools he’ll need to succeed at Tech. Here’s to hoping he and Duffey become best friends in the very near future.

-By Brian DonCarlos.

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