It has been a whirlwind of commits. We try to regroup and consider five things about the current state of Texas Tech’s 2016 recruiting class.
1. Large Class. I think this is going to be a large class. About 28 to 30 and that means that there will be 10 or so more players added to the class. I could see a couple of more offensive linemen, that gets the number to 8 remaining spots, most likely on defense. I could see 3 more defensive linemen, 2 more linebackers and 3 more defensive backs. Oh, and the reason why there’s some extra space is because some of this year’s class will count against the 2015 class and some players will qualify early, like Jett Duffey. That’s where you might get the extra 3 to 5 spots. Oh, and you might get used to the thought that this class will be highly rated because of the high number of commits. That’s part of the fancy formulas for most of the recruiting services.
2. Defensive Line Commits. The defense received some much needed attention. Initially, Texas Tech’s lone defensive commit was Colin Wilder and then it just got quiet. Wilder decommitted and then the dominoes started to fall. It wasn’t just one commit, but a handful of commits that came in waves. Texas Tech has addressed the defensive line, with four commits, two tackles in Mychealon Thomas and Ivory Jackson, and two defensive ends in Houston Miller and Noah Jones. That’s an incredibly solid start as far as I’m concerned and the one guy that wasn’t rated, Thomas, has now been rated as a 3-star by 24/7 and Rivals and a 2-star by Scout. Just throwing it out there. I would still expect a few more defensive line commits, especially from the JUCO side of things, but I think this was a solid start. I’d also say that I pretty much love getting Jackson from Amarillo. Really pleased to have a West Texas kid.
3. Discussing the Linebackers. Texas Tech also grabbed three rangy linebackers. Guys that have a decent sized frame that could add some weight. At 6-3 and 6-2, both Brayden Stringer and Johnathan Picone can add some weight, while I think Jordyn Brooks seems pretty complete if his size is already at 232. The thing that screams out to me at looking at all three linebackers is that I talk myself in and out of them playing multiple spots, so I don’t think that these guys are necessarily being pigeon-holed into a linebacker spot. That’s probably a pretty bad way to recruit because you really don’t know how a player will turn out once you get them on campus. With a guy like D’Vonta Hinton, he’s pretty much an inside guy and maybe he doesn’t have that versatility, but you make exceptions for guys that just make plays and that’s what Hinton does. With the current group, I feel like what we’re seeing is something similar to the cornerbacks and the receivers. One player doesn’t make a trend, but I feel like three maybe does, and yes, most linebackers are about this size. But I still go back to the idea that versatility is what Gibbs and Spavital are looking for when it comes to linebackers and being able to cross-train at every spot.
4. Recruiting One Quarterback. How do you feel about offering and just taking one quarterback? Almost invariably, when we talk about Jett Duffey there are comments about how we’re all nervous and worried that he might flip, so you’re all waiting to for him to flip and be devastated. The easy solution here is that Kliff Kingsbury could just offer another quarterback and see what happens. Heck, it just happened at Nebraska where Patrick O’Brien and Terry Wilson both committed to Nebraska. Competition breeds success, right? Well, what’s happening with Texas Tech is a bit strange because we’re all a bit gun-shy about the quarterback spot. We can generally take de-commits (oh, and I can promise that there will be a few in this class, so just go ahead and be okay with it). I’m just letting you know that it’s okay to feel pretty good about this and if something bad happens, which I don’t think that it will, then we’ll pick ourselves up and go from there.
One other thought, which is the idea that Kliff Kingsbury sure seemed to be out in front of everyone on Duffey. I read as much as I could about potential quarterbacks and tried to find something on all of the possibilities and not once did Duffey’s name come up. And now, Duffey is in the final 18 of the Elite 11 and so you might reasonable presume that he’s one of the top 25 quarterbacks in the nation and there were few that were on Duffey as a player before the spring.
5.a. Haul of Receivers. I’m feeling really good about the receiver group as well. Starting off with Donte Coleman really set things off and then we were maybe wondering what to think about Antoine Cox-Wesley, Bryson Denley and De’Quan Bowman. All were under-rated and we just didn’t know what to think. Well, everyone but Denley, who is as solid of a player as you’ll find, but with Cox-Wesley and Bowman, the tape was initially sketchy and there’s really not enough for us to really make an informed decision. It’s difficult to trust the coaches when you can’t see it for yourself. For whatever reason, I feel like the coaches are doing their homework. Everyone is supposed to be able to say that and everyone does say that about your team’s coaches. You want to believe that they’re actually doing their job. Some coaches and staffs mail it in, while others dig in and find kids that can play even though they may not be ranked or whatever. And make no mistake, being highly ranked matters. It matters to a large extent and the argument of, “Well, recruiting rankings don’t matter,” is largely inaccurate. It’s okay if you don’t believe that and that statement isn’t an indictment on anyone’s rating and yes, I know that a lot of 2-star guys eventually make it. I’ve gotten sidetracked. I love the type of wide receiver that these guys are going after. Huge potential.
5.b. Covering All of the Bases. Texas Tech has added a deep snapper and a kicker as preferred walk-ons.