Recapping the Presser: 2016 Texas Tech National Signing Day

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury was the only one that was made available to the press and you can read the entire presser here at ASAP Sports. Let’s get to it.

When asked about the class overall, Kingsbury said that the defensive linemen was a big part of the class and vertical passing.

KLIFF KINGSBURY: Just that we addressed a bunch of needs. You look at taking seven defensive linemen, that’s an area with some of the departures of the junior college linemen that we had being gone. Length at outside receiver is something we had to get longer out there to make plays in the vertical passing game. Quarterback needed a game-changer-type player; we felt like we got that. So I just think on the areas that we were really concerned post-season, we got those addressed and feel good about those guys coming in.

Who is the back-up?

Kingsbury was also asked about Jett Duffey, wether or not Duffey would be the back-up and it appears that Nic Shimonek is showing very well as the back-up and that’s currently the plan:

Q. Can you compare Jett Duffey and Pat Mahomes.
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think Pat is a bigger guy in stature. He’s about 6’3″, 6’4″, 230. Jett is probably 6’1″, 6’0″, 205. Jett is faster just in a race. Pat is very mobile, can move around. Jett does about the same stuff, but as far as arm strength, both very talented, both in high school kind of put their teams on their back, took them deeper in the playoffs than probably they should have gone, based upon their performance.

So very similar attitudes. Both think they’re the best when they step out there, and I’m excited to have them both on campus at the same time.

Q. Any chance Duffey will be the backup?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I’m not sure. Nic Shimonek, I’ve really been pleased with his progress. Payne Sullins as well. But Nic has really stepped up. Had a great fall camp and through the season really came a long way. So we expect him to be the backup, and you’d like to redshirt Jett, if possible, but with the spring semester, I think he’ll be ready to go in fall camp.

This all makes sense to me, especially if Shimonek is playing well. Kingsbury tends to be pretty honest about things like this (in retrospect, if he says a kid is playing well, especially at quarterback, it’s typically true).

Business Decision

Derrick Willies made a business decision. That’s interesting. Kingsbury all but says that Willies chose Texas Tech because he wants to play at the next level.

Q. Talk about Derrick Willies and what your expectations are for him.
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, that’s why he’s here on both ends. We talked to him about coming in, playing right away, giving us that vertical threat with his size, his speed that we could take shots, and I know his mentality was come into this style of offense and get right to work. Him being here this spring semester is huge. He’s roommates with Nic Shimonek neck, who’s one of the hardest workers on our team. They’ve been up here at all hours putting in work.

Q. Is he kind of what you’ve been missing at that spot?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I hope so. I did not like our vertical passing game. I thought when you have a passer like Pat, who’s so good at the deep ball, you’ve got to give him some longer targets out there to take some shots. When Dylan Cantrell got hurt, that aspect really dropped a lot, and I think the length we added, particularly with Derrick, is going to help us.

Q. How much do you think having Willies (inaudible)?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, there’s no doubt. It’s huge. He knows particularly a program like Iowa with Kirk Ferentz, who is very disciplined, very — he handles his business. So he coming in has the right mentality, knows what to expect, knows the level of competition, and he’s approached it that way. His recruitment was a business decision as far as, hey, he wants to play at the next level. This is a vehicle in our offense where he felt like he could do that and play right away and play with a great quarterback, and that’s why he’s here, and he’s working towards that.

You don’t really talk about making a business decision on signing day, but that was the case here and it makes sense. Willies, by all accounts, is NFL ready in terms of size and speed, now, he just needs to be on the stage to show it all off.

Hays’ Evaluation

Kingsbury also discussed how offensive line coach Lee Hays evaluates early and doesn’t get enamored with ratings and stars, but relies on his own evaluations.

Q. This offensive line class just kind of seems like Coach Hays goes and gets three or four guys (inaudible) just what are your thoughts on this group?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, it’s a very smart group. I think it’s the smartest offensive line group, when you talk about GPAs and test scores, I’ve been around. All of them are different. Bruffy is a baseball player. Being 6’7″, throws 85 miles per hour, very skilled, great feet. Gio is a state champion wrestler, so he has that aspect. Bailey has a 4.0, kind of a mauler, under-the-radar guy. So they all bring something different.

Coach Hays, he’s big on getting his early evaluations. He doesn’t care about stars or what anybody has them ranked. He wants his guys that he know he come in and get after it, and we feel like we’ve got a good group.

Q. Talk about how he’s kind of built depth and is getting his guys. Is that kind of the model for what you want to do?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I think so. I think we want to play with older guys at each position with a great young group coming up behind them, and Coach Hays has done a great job with setting his room up that way, and hopefully we can establish that at some other positions.

Like Mike

T.J. Vasher may be the player with the most untapped potential. Huge size and frame where he could be a truly dominant player by the time he’s done at Texas Tech. There just aren’t that many players with that sort of size, speed and jumping ability like Vasher has. Kingsbury was asked about whether or not Vasher would play basketball and he doesn’t sound opposed to it. And Kingsbury makes the comparison to Michael Crabtree, namely because Crabtree also played basketball (not at Texas Tech, but I think the legend has it that Bobby Knight loved Crabtree as a basketball player) and as far as how hard they worked.

Q. Will Vasher play basketball?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: We haven’t talked about that. I think he wants to focus on football. He definitely has the ability, and if that’s something that he wanted to get into, that’s something we could take a look at. But as far as I know, my dealings with him, he’s ready to focus on football, do an off-season, and really try to become the best wide receiver he can.

Q. Would you be open to it, if he wanted to?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I would be open to it. Yeah, I think it would be great. I’ve watched him play basketball; he’s special on that court, as well. If that’s something he wanted to do, I think other people have done it before, that’s something we could work with.

Q. (Inaudible.)
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, that’s who it reminds me of every time I watch him just because Mike only played really his senior year. Football his junior and senior. He was a big basketball guy, really raw, but great physical tools, very big, fast, strong, aggressive, and Mike — the thing with Mike was how hard he worked, and I think TJ has a lot of those same characteristics. I think when he gets here and just focuses on football, I really think the sky’s the limit for him.

What Gibbs Wants

Kingsbury also talked about what defensive coordinator David Gibbs looks for in players, and Kingsbury is big on doing your own evaluations and not paying attention to the rankings:

Q. What does Coach Gibbs (inaudible)?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: For prospects? You know, high character, likes hard workers, guys that when they show up on film, they show up. They’re not afraid to hit you. He’s big on seeing them play in person. He likes to get live evaluations during the spring, make sure not just watching them on tape. He’s big on going to see them in person in the spring move around. And having been in the NFL, he knows that that’s the ultra evaluation profession, and so he’s been through some of that.

So he does a great job, very thorough in his process, and couldn’t be more pleased with these guys that we’re bringing in.

Q. You mentioned an area that (inaudible)?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: No. I think any time you go after a class, you’re going to emphasize pretty much every position, do the best you can at it. But I think all the guys, I mean, every coach in America says they feel good about their class, but having gotten to know these kids over a year’s time, they’ve all been committed a long time, it just makes me feel better and better about what type of people they are and the type of players they’re going to be.

There’s more there, so if you want to check the rest out, watch the video or feel free to read the whole thing.

And since you made it all the way down to the end of the post, here is a recap of last night’s recruiting review. I can’t make it to the one in Dallas tonight (a prior obligation), but would love any recaps.

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