This was a project that involved Brian, Spencer and Seth to grade the 2016 recruiting class based on four different categories. I asked that all three grade each position and Brian did the write-ups for the receivers and quarterback and I took the offensive line. The grades that are shown are the average of our three evaluations. Thanks to Brian and Spencer for helping out with this project. We previously graded the offense here.
Immediate Impact: B
Long-Term Impact: A-
Quantity: By signing 4 defensive tackles in the 2016 class, Texas Tech has doubled (!) the number on the team
Quality: Besides numbers, one of the best things this defensive tackle class brings is size. The lightest of the group is Ivory Jackson at 275, but with a 6-4 frame he has an excellent chance of filling out nicely
Immediate Impact: As alluded to, a 4-man defensive line rotation may not be enough, if last season is any indication. Fehoko needs a partner to take some heat off of him, with the most likely candidates being transfer Ondre Pipkins or redshirt freshman Broderick Washington (6-3/308). However, JUCO Mychaleon Thomas could work his way into the rotation and be quite an asset if he develops his hand-work. Furthermore, I wouldn’t count out Nick McCann making his way into the rotation. With long arms, game-ready frame, and good form, it could be very hard to keep him off the field for long.
Long-Term Impact: This is probably one of the last classes where Tech can use warm bodies and reinforcements as a point of solace for the defensive line. With only one senior on the roster for the 2016 season, it’s time for the staff to start developing that depth into a sustainable unit. The incoming class already has good size, but almost all of them could use refinement, and they definitely need to learn some moves other than a bull rush. The good news is that new DL coach Kevin Patrick has been given some really good raw material to work with in the upcoming season, so we’ll see what he can cook up as a good complement for Fehoko.
–By Brian DonCarlos
Immediate Impact: C-
Long-Term Impact: B+
Quantity: Texas Tech signed three defensive ends, Houston Miller, Noah Jones and Clarence Henderson. There was a late defection, sorta, as Austin Deshay apparently didn’t qualify academically. Interestingly enough, Deshay is attending Trinity Valley C.C., which is the same JUCO that Derrick Willies attended and that J.F. Thomas is also currently attending. Not sure if that’s a coincidence, but maybe Texas Tech is attempting to establish a bit of a pipeline with TVCC. In any event, it seems that four was probably a better number in terms of quantity, but I can live with three overall. Missing on only two commits with grades is actually pretty impressive.
Quality: This one is tough, mainly because there’s not a ton of consistency with regards as to how these guys are rated. Miller can range from a two-star to a four-star. Jones is from Oklahoma where it’s said that they simply don’t have the volume of good to great players, thus the competition isn’t great. Henderson played offensive line his senior year, but just looking at how he moves around on the offensive line, you can tell he can play some football. I think that Jones is the most ready of the bunch because of his size, but Miller appears to have the credentials after a highly productive senior season. And Henderson may be the best athlete of the bunch.
Immediate Impact: I know that there might be the thought that Miller might be able to play, but we saw how big of an adjustment it was for Breiden Fehoko to make an impact and he was a 4-star by every service, without question. This is a different level and guys are playing at a different speed and a completely different strength. As much as I like these prospects as players, I have my doubts that I want any of them to play, even on special teams. Let them all redshirt, work on that size and strength and be better football players.
Long-Term Impact: Long-term, I love the potential and ability of all of these players. It’s absolutely what Texas Tech needed from a talent and depth standpoint. These aren’t huge projects and are closer to being ready that most players in the past.
–By Seth C
Immediate Impact: C+
Long-Term Impact: B+
Quantity: The Red Raiders added 4 new linebackers, bringing the current total up to 12. It should also be noted that Jonathan Picone is already on campus for spring ball.
Quality: All 3-star prospects, the 2016 linebackers feature a mix of raw talent with enough athletic ability to have a chance of seeing some playing time. Brayden Stringer is incredibly quick, but what stood out most to me was how decisive he was. Not content to sit on his heels and wait for a blocker to come to him, Stringer showed a propensity to make a step and head downhill when defending the run. Picone was all over the backfield and reminded me a lot of Pete Robertson, and Jordyn Brooks doesn’t shy from contact. Kevin Moore, though, is somebody to get excited about. He’s everywhere in his tape, drives through all of his tackles, and is excellent with the ball in the air.
Immediate Impact: It’s safe to say 2 of the linebacker spots are sewn up with Hinton & Allen, but the 3rd spot is still up for grabs. Senior Malik Jenkins will more than likely fill the role again, but no one has truly stepped up and owned the spot. Jacarthy Mack, Kahlee Woods, and Kris Williams are all upperclassmen now, but all are around the same size and none have really made their mark. If as, Seth has proposed, Gibbs is looking for a hybrid linebacker-safety for that 3rd spot, redshirt freshman Jamile Johnson could fill that spot. However, if that is indeed where that position is headed, I wouldn’t count out Kevin Moore getting a little burn at that position.
Long-Term Impact: The great news is that Hinton + Allen tandem should be around for another 3 seasons. However, if Jenkins does take over that 3rd linebacker spot, that just means it will be up for grabs again in 2017 unless somebody steps up this season and makes a real case. The 4 new recruits could very well have the luxury of redshirting (which, I believe, was a huge boon for Allen), and can really add some quality depth for the years to come. However, if Picone, Stringer, & Moore are as tenacious as their film suggests, they can easily make a case for foregoing that redshirt by finding the field. It worked for Hinton.
–By Brian DonCarlos
Immediate Impact: C
Long-Term Impact: B
Quantity: Texas Tech had commits from Demarcus Fields, Desmon Smith and Douglas Coleman. I suppose the quantity depends on where Kevin Moore will play. I had him listed as a linebacker because that was the presumption, but at national signing day the coaches said that they would try him at safety to start. That makes sense given his size, he’d have a tough time competing at that size at linebacker. The thing that’s the problem is that this is the second class that’s relatively low in terms of numbers for the secondary. Last year it was just Christian Taylor and Jamile Johnson (there was also Paul Banks, who was a JUCO and he’ll be a senior), who may also be at linebacker. Plus, there were some defections this year, including Derrick Dixon and Jalen Barnes, so the big numbers weren’t there last year and I’d say that this year was about average. Three to four defensive backs for a class is okay for me.
Quality: The inclusion of Douglas Coleman makes a significant difference here. He’s a ridiculously smooth athlete and I honestly feel the same way about Smith and Fields too. Smooth athletes with good size, can play multiple positions, whether it be cornerback or safety. Notice that Gibbs has taken all big athletes, players that can play multiple positions. For me, I think these are all B type of players. Athletically, they’re all there, just need to make sure that they stick with it academically.
Immediate Impact: So much of this is dependent on whether or not Banks and Polite-Bray make improvements to be a starter at cornerback. That’s what we’re looking for and the most likely candidate is Fields. I hope they all three have the opportunity to redshirt.
Long-Term Impact: I see all three of these players as being ones that will contribute long-term rather than short-term. If this is the direction that Gibbs is wanting to go in terms of type of secondary players then I can get on board with this.
–By Seth C