During Kliff Kingsbury’s post game press conference after the Baylor win he mentioned that there were 12 newcomers that should enter mid-term and be a part of the team during the spring practice.
We sorta batted around who that would be and Chris Level helped me out with a few more inclusions. So, here’s the list thus far:
1. DE Nelson Mbanasor
2. P Dominic Panazzolo
3. RB Tyree Range
4. QB Xavier Martin
5. OL Jack Anderson
6. OL Dawson Deaton
7. OL Will Farrar
8. LB Dakota Allen
9. JUCO OL
10. JUCO LB
I’m obviously missing a couple more, but it could be Riko Jeffers or Bronson Boyd. There’s only 15 commits, so you could throw a dart and hit on a couple more. Let’s tackle this position by position from what we know.
Up first is the offensive line, which obviously needs a shot of players that can contribute immediately. This team only loses 1 offensive lineman due to graduation, Baylen Brown, but lost at least three other offensive linemen during the season: Justin Murhphy, Conner Dyer and Cody Wheeler. This doesn’t even include the two that were dismissed before the season started Trace Ellison and Robert Castaneda. That’s having to replace six offensive linemen that you really weren’t expecting to replace before the season started, which made offensive line so incredibly important in the 2017 class.
So, it makes sense that the 2017 class has three offensive linemen and possibly at least one junior college addition. And the freshman are insanely talented, maybe the best three high school offensive lineman, as far as recruiting rankings are concerned.
I know of two JUCO offensive linemen that have offers, Robert Valencia from CC of San Francisco, who came out for a vist, and has offers Cal, Hawaii, Charlotte, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and places like that, while Jordan Agasiva from Pima CC has offers from Auburn, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri, also Utah and Washington State.
If you would like to be concerned, here are the scholarship offensive linemen: Tony Morales, Madison Akamnonu, Zach Adams, Bailey Smith, Jack Reichel, Giovanni Pancotti, Paul Stawarz, Terence Steel and Travis Bruffy. That’s just 9 scholarship offensive linemen and now you know why Mahomes was constantly running for his life for much of the season.
It’s almost a necessity that any offensive line commit arrive in January.
The next position of need appears to be linebacker, where the return of Dakota Allen continues to be a very real possibility. A year in exile at East Mississippi C.C., known as “Last Chance U” it’s been written and mentioned that Allen maybe wants to make things right with what happened when he was dismissed from the team back in July. And to clarify, I’ve had two people that actually emailed me to let me know about the type of person that Allen is. I never actually blasted Allen or any of the players when the players were charged (those charges were eventually dropped) but I did have two people out of the blue take the time to email me about their personal relationship with Allen and essentially vouching for him. That didn’t happen with Robert Castaneda or Trace Ellison. You can take that for what it’s worth.
The only other player that I’ve seen offered is linebacker Tony Jones (6’2″ / 220), from Butler C.C., a community college that is somewhat known for producing good players, last year Mychealon Thomas played for Butler C.C. I also wonder if a player like Marquez Bimage (6’2″ / 225), who is currently committed to Houston, would consider Texas Tech now that Herman has jumped ship to Texas.
The quarterback isn’t supposed to be a position of need, but it has apparently turned out that way. I personally don’t know what happened with Jett Duffey, but there appears to be a lot of smoke regarding his status, the strongest indicator was the offer of McLane Carter (6’3″ / 222), who is currently spinning the football the football for Tyler J.C. If Carter doesn’t work out, I could see the staff offering other players a preferred walk-on spot. There’s a player, Nick Johns (6’4″ / 220) at NE Oklahoma A&M that could be another option as could be Jordan Ta’amu (6’3″ / 200) from New Mexico Military Institute. Kingsbury has never really been one to settle at quarterback, he’d rather just not take a guy if it’s not worth it.
Oh, and I do love Xavier Martin and I think he’s headed the direction of the future of quarterback, a very good athlete and just learning as a quarterback.
The last two players, Mbanasor and Panazzolo appear to be needed as well, I’ll take early-arriving 6’3″ / 270 defensive ends any time and a new punter is pretty obvious at this point.