Recruiting

2020 National Signing Day: December Recap

It’s in the books (mostly)!

Welp, the first half of the 2020 recruiting lass is over and done with, signing 15 high school prospects, 3 junior college players, and 1 graduate transfer thus far. Per the official site, here is the 2020 class thus far:

NAME POSITION HT / WT HOMETOWN (PREVIOUS SCHOOL)
Tahj Brooks RB 5-11 / 215 Manor, Texas (Manor H.S.)
Ethan Carde OL 6-8 / 325 Valrico, Fla. (Coffeyville C.C.)
Jonathan Davis DB 6-1 / 170 Dallas, Texas (South Oak Cliff H.S.)
Devin Drew DL 6-3 / 260 Kansas City, Mo. (Iowa Western C.C.)
Nate Floyd DB 6-0 / 175 College Station, Texas (A&M Consolidated H.S.)
Loic Fouonji WR 6-4 / 180 Midland, Texas (Midland Lee H.S.)
Ryan Frank DB 6-4 / 185 Magnolia, Texas (Magnolia West H.S.)
John Holcomb TE 6-5 / 215 Wellington, Texas (Wellington H.S.)
Derrick Lewis II LB 6-1 / 215 Schertz, Texas (Samuel Clemens H.S.)
Krishon Merriweather LB 6-0 / 230 Hazelwood, Mo. (Garden City C.C.)
Kobee Minor DB 5-11 / 160 Lake Dallas, Texas (Lake Dallas H.S.)
Larry Moore OL 6-5 / 285 Missouri City, Texas (Fort Bend Marshall H.S.)
L.B. Moore OLB 6-3 / 215 Amarillo, Texas (Tascosa H.S.)
Ja’Lynn Polk WR 6-2 / 185 Lufkin, Texas (Lufkin H.S.)
Myles Price WR 5-9 / 170 The Colony, Texas (The Colony H.S.)
Brandon Bouyer-Randle LB 6-2 / 235 Battle Creek, Mich. (Michigan State)
Caleb Rogers OL 6-5 / 275 Mansfield, Texas (Lake Ridge H.S.)
Donovan Smith QB 6-3 / 190 Las Vegas, Nev. (Frenship H.S.)
J.J. Sparkman WR 6-4 / 190 Longview, Texas (Pine Tree H.S.)

I’d also add that someone mentioned that some players, John Holcomb namely, had his highlights locked up and there are highlights of every player at the Texas Tech YouTube page.

There is also a National Signing Day Reception that looks like it was held in the football meeting room. Starting off with Robert Giovanetti, then from Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt. Things don’t start until about the 15 minute mark, so you can skip ahead. As an aside, Hocutt’s arm is in a sling, maybe he had recent surgery, maybe like a rotator cuff? Hocutt talked about how the losses stung this year and they hurt more each week, and this group never quit. Wells comments initially and speaks and then around the 49 minute mark coordinators David Yost and Keith Patterson answer questions from the crowd, but I’m not sure that Patterson’s mic was on. The first question is about the departure of Jett Duffey. And I didn’t have time to listen to all of this (just running out of time).

That’s almost half an hour for a press conference and this is my best attempt at a non-transcript. For those of you who are new, this is not a word-for-word quote of head coach Matt Wells, but me listening and typing as fast as I can. There were times I could not hear the questions but did the best that I can.

  • What a difference a year makes, last year, just trying to keep a few of the signees committed to Texas Tech, this 2020 class is 80% assembled, just have a few things remaining.
  • 17 signees were 2-sport athletes, 10 of them were 3-sport athletes.
  • Every high school signee is from Texas, we’ve been well-received, the high school coaches have helped us out a bunch, the prior relationships, and reconnecting last year has helped. Straight line recruiting is a big thing, just the connection we have with our high school coaches, the character evaluation in being very transparent is conducive to great recruiting classes, I commend them for that.
  • Arriving in December: Michigan State linebacker Brandon Bouyer-Randle (transfer), linebacker Krishon Merriweather (JUCO), defensive end Devin Drew (JUCO), offensive lineman Ethan Carde (JUCO), and receiver Ja’Lynn Polk (high school).
  • We signed 4 guys from West Texas, we believe they can come in here and develop, and to get to November and play for a Big 12 Championship, these 4 kids from West Texas are a huge part of this. Coaches did a big job of building those relationships in December of last year, that’s a year’s worth of recruiting, Donovan Smith committed early because of that relationship, the relationships with the high school coaches and assistants on the staff were key.
  • Part of what we do, recruit and develop. That’s how we will develop the locker room, today is a big step in that direction.
  • Loic [Fouonji] is a tremendous person, he’s going to be the third one in the family that is going to get an engineering degree, he’s 6-4/195, and he’s a sub 22 200-meter kid, Patterson was watching highlights and he’s talking about victory defense with him. Loic is a multi-sport athlete, he’ll play the Z or the X, doesn’t matter. That recruiting was a year and 2 weeks. Loic is from a tremendous family, high school staff is here a bunch, led by Coach Hartman, can’t say enough good things about him.
  • Polk, Loic and J.J. [Sparkman] are all three outside receivers.
  • We put a lot of stock into multi-sport athletes being able to evaluate in multiple sports, I think it breeds competition, Donovan had 16 points last night, L.B. [Moore] had 20 points, [John] Holcomb had 10 and 20 rebounds (may have had more than 20 rebounds), Kobee Minor is playing basketball, Nate Floyd is playing tremendous basketball for A&M Consolidated, it breeds confidence, competitive nature. Tahj Brooks played some other sports early in his career, student council president, 3.0 GPA, going to contribute early.
  • Re. Donovan Smith(I think): Raw, talent, has really over the last year improved his accuracy, tighter release, tremendously athletic, he is big young man, fast, a multi-sport guy, the sky is the limit for him, football, basketball, and track.
  • L.B. Moore: He played d-line in high school, will start at outside linebacker, he could eat his way down to the line. He is a big young man, a lot of coaches have commented how they had to play him, good to keep an Amarillo kid here at Tech, I’m told. He wanted to be a Red Raider his whole life, when he gave his word, he was very loyal.
  • Holcomb, when you have a staff room, multiple coaches saying that they will take him, Patterson would take him at outside linebacker, Randolph thinks he could eat his way to being a pass rushing defensive end, Luke and Yost won’t let him go from tight end, he’s a sub 50 400-meter kid, he has his pilots license.
  • Playing from day 1, the biggest thing from playing day 1, we had 12 true freshman this year, how quick do you mature in your transition to college, as soon as things become simpler, you can focus on school and ball, and those kids are able to use those talents sooner, the 5 mentioned earlier, those guys have an early start, will have an impact, every one of those will play next year. Some of the DB’s and wideouts, the O-lineman, Ethan is a year older, he’s played a little bit, so I would say those guys, I like a lot of our skill guys are talented enough.
  • Merriweather will play inside, in high school, competed in track and he threw the shot, disc, and high jump, was a St. Louis high school product and was at Garden City. He’s fast, comes in skinny and comes out thick, does a lot of stuff inside the box.
  • Randle can play outside, which he did at Michigan State, really smart, graduated in 3 1/2 years, Randle could have multiple spots, they’ll be trained at multiple spots. We played Riko on the line, allowed him to rush, want some flexibility with the linebackers.
  • [Could not hear, but think he was talking about Devin Drew.] Will be a d-end.
  • John Davis will strike you, going to have to lower his strike zone. Ryan Frank will probably play spur, big and longer and is 6-3/195 pounds, met him in December, saw him a year ago. Kobee Minor plays both ways, kick returner and punt returner, was MVP in that district. Nate Floyd is a tall corner, successful high school program, is selfless, plays both ways, in the return game, plays basketball and a tremendous teammate.
  • [Could not hear question, think it was about Davis.] He is absolutely a safety.
  • [Re. Randle] When he got in the portal, the offensive staff knew him, they said they had a hard time blocking him, had to bring the defensive staff. Our offensive staff knew who he was.
  • In turning this program around, we are going to have to recruit and develop, and you can’t beat teams on the field until you beat teams in recruiting. I get that there are times those things happen, when you’re doing recruiting you have to win some battles, we won our fair share.
  • We have several scholarships available, we have some May-outs, or grad transfers, so being here in June. Yes, there are some other spots.
  • Hopefully it is not the pinnacle of the mountain for these kids, they are one of the 6.5% in America, congratulations, if they are a multi-sport guy, go enjoy that, prepare your mind to compete in June. The second part of the message, make sure the people around you feel that they are blessed to be a part of your life, so many people behind the scenes in these kids’ lives instill discipline, pay fees, pay athletic fees, so many moms, grandmas, aunties, carpooling, they never get to today by themselves, that was the other part of the message and making sure that they say thank you to those people.
  • It is completely different than last year, a year ago, I’m still trying to learn Texas Tech, we knew what our needs were, there were 4 grad transfers/JUCO kids, 80% of the class is high school kids, we set out with that plan in place. Relationships, high-end recruits with multiple offers, it does take time and relationships with parents.
  • I think the grad transfers and the two JUCO’s on defense will be immediate impact guys, same thing with Randle. There is no way you can replace Jordyn Brooks with one guy, between those two guys, and Riko [Jeffers], and grow Xavier [Benson], and Kosi [Eldridge], and Tyrique [Matthews], trying to develop those guys. The young skill on offense, will bring in at least 1 quarterback and running back in every class. On the perimeter, maybe the best 3 wideouts in a long time, it was a need, Joel Filani is a happy guy today, Erik [Ezukamna] has a bright future, I think those outside receivers, there are still some needs, we’re still going to bring some guys in over the next few months.
  • Caleb Rogers’ father cooked a phenomenal steak, Fouonji’s mother had a tremendous feast with myself and Filani last week, that’s not to say that the other mom’s can’t cook, a lot of those visits we had to visit at the school, that’s just two meals that stand out a little bit.
  • Moore is playing for a state championship on Saturday, Rogers out of Mansfield he has been a leader in this class, he’s kept everyone together, a lot of these guys, L.B. included, committed in June and committed for 6 months.
  • [The offensive linemen] They are all tackles right now
  • JJ Sparkman, 6-5/210, Longview’s finest, got hurt and played through some injuries this year, a bit of a comedian, great mom, great family, has a bright future.
  • [Inside receiver Myles Bright] He can make you miss in a phone booth, guy can play corner, Luke won’t let him go, he’s going to play slot receiver, Smith thinks he could play running back, coach put him at Wildcat in the playoffs, big smile, when we flipped him this summer, was tremendously loyal.
  • [Linebacker Derrick Lewis] That’s one that Patterson wanted, Derrick pulled the trigger on us, he is 6-1/210, better days are ahead of him, when Scholz gets done, he’ll be 238. He is very productive, change of direction and productivity.
  • There is a lot fo that going on, group texts, group chats, back in the day, just 10 years ago, recruits didn’t know each other unless you went on a visit together, or meet at the spring game. When these guys come this spring, they will have seen each other a bunch, a lot of those guys came at games, hanging out and coming to those games together.
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