The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake: February 3rd

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LAJ’s Don Williams has a very lengthy article about the defensive line players who are returning from the 2016 class and how the coaches only recruited and signed one defensive line player, Nelson Mbanasor. This is pretty detailed and goes over the defensive line rotation. Inside, Broderick Washington, Mychealon Thomas, Joe Wallace, Nick McCann and Eli Howard. I think the Howard addition is interesting and I think one of the coaches said that he was up to 280 rather than the 265 that he walked onto the program at. The coaches are incredibly high on Wallace, Washington is going to be terrific as last year was his first year to play defensive line ever.

Kolin Hill will move to the rush defensive end, which will hopefully improve the pass and three redshirt defensive linemen, Noah Jones, Nick McCann and Houston Miller. Jones wasn’t practicing with the team for a while, but he seems to have figured out the academics part and then this is how Williams ended the article (emphasis mine):

“That was huge,” Kingsbury said. “We kind of went back and forth with him, and I think he went back home over the break refocused, got his priorities in order and he’s been great since he’s been back. He’s a talented young man, smart kid, athletic and if we can get him rolling, he’d be a big help this year.”

Patrick made an interesting observation Wednesday, given the recent departures of Fehoko and Moore, a pair whose production never seemed to match their potential.

Our best players are still here,” Patrick said. “Some of them were very young and still learning how to play Big 12 football, which they all go through. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a whole lot around them that could always lead them that way. We had some. But for those guys, this past year will prove invaluable.”

I too think this is accurate and I dont want this to sound like sour grapes, but I do think that Texas Tech’s best defensive linemen are still in Lubbock and on the team. Judging that sort of thing will be difficult, but watching how some of these guys played at the end of the year, I feel pretty comfortable with that statement.

Via RedRaiderSports held a roundtable and they focused on the hits and misses of the class and I wanted to highlight Matt Clare, who is a Red Raider and also handles a big portion of the Rivals high school recruiting in the Houston area. He’s connected and he sees recruiting. In any event, I thought his misses were a perfect criticism of the class:

For starters, recruiting was essentially done by Dec. 14, after these JUCO players signed.

If we are to believe the amount of scholarships or “numbers” kept the coaches from pursuing other targets, then okay. I don’t entirely buy that and believe the coaches have to be more aggressive on the recruiting trail to some extent.

Regardless of what the coaches say, the gold standard in college football – Alabama – is grayshirting Rivals100 prospects while the Tech coaching staff is holding open spots for grad transfers? Look, I get it, Tech is far far away from being compared to Alabama… but hopefully you see my point.

I think the coaches handled the DL and RB recruiting poorly this season, and the offers match the effort in each position category.

Only taking one WR was a risk and it backfired. Being overly picky at RB was risky and it backfired. Offering very few DL prospects after last spring was risky and the results speak for themselves.

There are a lot of nice pieces in this 2017 class, but the coaches have to find a better balance of talent on offense and defense moving forward.

The numbers that Clare is referring to is that Texas Tech allegedly had 22 or so spots available, which means that they were already skating a pretty thin line with a class of 20 if you included Boyd and then reserving two spots for a graduate transfer or two.

I too have a big problem with how running back played out and I pin that solely on DeShaun Foster. He was looking for a very particular type of player and if there’s one thing about Texas high school football it’s that there are lots of running backs that can fit what Texas Tech wants to do and this infatuation with just getting big backs seemed like a terrible idea. Good players come in all sorts of sizes.

Texas Football’s Greg Tepper ranks the signing classes in the state of Texas and ranks Texas Tech 5th:

There were two clear goals for the Red Raiders in this class: get bigger and get older. They accomplished both. First, the size — this may be the state’s best offensive line crop, featuring a pair of Frisco standouts in Anderson and center Dawson Deaton (who will need to adjust from running the Flexbone offense at FHS to Tech’s Air Raid) and Fort Bend Travis guard Will Farrar. Then, the age — Tech signed nine junior college players in this class. All eyes will be on QB McLane Carter, who guided Gilmer to a title in 2014, but watch out for the linebacker Allen out of East Mississippi Community College (of Last Chance U fame); he was a dynamo for Humble Summer Creek in 2014 and could make an immediate impact on the defense. The future of the program may rest with QB Xavier Martin, a dual-threat game-breaker who guided Cibolo Steele to a title game.

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