Two weeks ago, Texas Tech football went on a recruiting shopping spree, gathering up commits from two handfuls of commits, so much so that I lost track and wouldn’t have been able to keep track without LaBarre helping out with a few of those commits. Let’s recap where the class is at and where the class might be going.
The Long-Time Commits
The longest commit is Steven Parker, committing in April of 2017. In fact, I don’t even have a write-up from Parker’s commitment because I sorta have this policy of not writing these commitment posts for kids that far out because the likelihood of that player staying with that commitment don’t stick (in fact, this post will serve as the commitment post for Parker and Cameron Cantrell). But that hasn’t been the case with Parker, who is probably this team’s best defensive player committed.
Parker played defensive end almost exclusively last year, had 86 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and a safety last year. And just by watching his video, you can tell he’s physically imposing and simply just better than who he’s lining up against. And those 21 tackles for loss and 13 sacks are no joke. Parker is one of those guys that projects to be a 6-3/250 defensive end and general bad ass.
Cameron Cantrell is the other long-time commit, committing in August of 2017, almost a year ago, Cameron committed when his brother Dylan was entering his senior year. If there’s anything that speaks to the Cantrell’s love of Texas Tech’s it’s the fact that Cameron committed as Dylan was entering his senior year, having no way to know how things would turn out.
I also didn’t do a commitment post with Cameron because it was so long ago, and Cameron is a lot like his brother, catches literally everything and is really talented at getting to the highest point to grab the pass. Cameron probably lacks a little athletically, but he’s ridiculously effective.
The Month of June 2018 on Offense
I should mention that I finally got around to creating the 2019 commitment table and map. It’s fully updated and complete and as of right now, I’m the only blogger to have the map and consider it trademarked (not really, it’s actually pretty easy to create the map and don’t claim any trademark). The offensive commits started with DeSoto wide receiver La’Vontae Shenault, who committed on June 13th, and is probably not as highly rated, but I think he will be by the season’s end. Shenault continues this staff’s focus on receivers who are over six foot tall.
Three days after Shenault committed, tight end Simon Gonzalez and offensive lineman Trevor Roberson committed on the same day. Gonzalez’s commitment is the first real tight end commitment, no offense to Donta Thompson who was really a receiver coming out of Ennis, since Jace Amaro’s commitment way back when. I wish that Kingsbury would have taken advantage of Amaro’s success, but that never happened. I’m happy as heck to see this happen, the versatility is something that can’t be replicated with any other position. Roberson’s commitment is the only offensive line commit thus far and after taking two classes, 2017 and 2018, of five offensive linemen in each class, you might see a lighter class to see a focus on the defense.
Trey Cleveland committed a day after Gonzalez and Roberson, June 17th, and Cleveland is another receiver that I absolutely love. Good size and highly productive. Yes.
The last offensive commit is quarterback Maverick McIvor. After Jacob Zeno spurned Kliff Kingsbury for Baylor (and truthfully, I was really out on Zeno after he really started to look around after a handful of visits to other programs because you just sorta knew he had moved on) I was all in on McIvor. And to be clear, Zeno wasn’t the only offer out there, also being offered was Grant Gunnell from Houston that committed to Arizona, Michael Johnson, Jr. from Oregon who is uncommitted, and Grant Tisdale from Allen, who is committed to Ole Miss. Personally, I think McIvor is just as good, but being in San Angelo somewhat hurts his visibility to scouts who may rate him one way or another. I’m totally happy with McIvor’s commitment and really happy for the staff that they were able to get him on board.
The Month of June 2018 on Defense
The actual June avalanche, offense or defense, was started by linebacker Bryce Robinson, the linebacker from Sachse, who committed on June 11th and seems like a Jordyn Brooks starter kit. Then, on the 17th, Texas Tech got commits from linebacker Tyrique Matthews, who seems like an outside guy that’s got a lot of range, and then one of the defensive back clones, Keeyon Stewart, committed. I write “clones” because David Gibbs seems to have a type of defensive back, and just about every defensive back that has committed to Texas Tech over the last few years, maybe except for Vaughnte Dorsey, was around 6’1″ and in the neighborhood of 170-180 pounds. Stewart fits that mold to a T.
Two next day, defensive back clone #2, Markel Reed, committed, who again fits the mold. Both Reed and Stewart will be trained to play safety or cornerback and so much of their position will depend on how they put on weight and their actual speed (which is always a tough thing to determine given so many fake 40-yard dash times).
The final defensive commit for June was defensive end Tony Bradford, Jr., and Texas Tech has a very productive defensive end, but is probably dinged a bit because of his height, which is only 6’1″. Bradford probably gets ranked much higher if he’s 6’3″ rather than 6’1″, but these kids are so young, who knows how their bodies will continue to develop as they get on campus. This is one of those deals where if a player ends up developing, then the scouts missed out on a player.
We know two things: 1) The 2019 class will most likely need to be a full class of 25 spots; and 2) Kingsbury has said that it will focus on the defensive side of the ball more than the offensive side of the ball.
The tough thing for me will be what position the staff will want to fill with a few JUCO guys. My reaction to this a month or two ago was probably the rush defensive end spot, where Kolin Hill and Tony Jones are both seniors. I’d have to think that they’ll grab some sort of defensive end that’s a JUCO guy, and, in fact, Butler C.C. defensive end Jacoby Jones (6-4/250) is an early offer and the only JUCO defensive end offer. Butler C.C. is where Octavious Morgan and Tony Jones played, so that’s probably a pretty big connection.
It also wouldn’t surprise me if there are two defensive tackles taken with this class. I think you always need to be developing those defensive linemen and there’s a pretty decent group in place, but you have to keep that roster churning with those guys.
So, as of right now, there are 6 offensive commits and 6 defensive commits. I’d guess that there will be 2 more defensive ends and a couple of defensive tackles, maybe even a JUCO defensive tackle, that gets you to 11 defensive commits. I’d probably also add 3 more defensive backs, that gets you to 14 total defensive commits and that’s probably a pretty good number.
On the offensive side of the ball, with 6 already committed, there’s maybe 5 more spots left. I’m guessing at least 1 or 2 running backs and the rest on the offensive line, maybe an inside receiver type?