Class MVP: Jack Anderson Anderson led the way and as head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, he was the best recruiter for this class. Anderson is clearly the best player of the class and it’s not close, but the fact that he was a leader bodes well for the offensive line moving forward. It seems like the offensive line has lost not just leaders but vocal leaders and I think that Anderson will be able to fill that void pretty quickly.
Fastest Player: Xavier MartinI think it was Eric Morris who has said that Martin ran a 4.3 three different times at the Texas Tech camp. That’s ridiculously fast and for it to be your quarterback is something that’s completely unique and I’d bet that Martin’s speed is the fastest in the conference. Like right now (yeah, I bet he’s faster than Kyler Murray).
Biggest Upside: Casey Verhulst I’ll go with offensive lineman Casey Verhulst, who was said to be 265 heading into his senior, but was reported yesterday that Verhulst is up to 300 pounds. Verhulst was always a pretty athletic player for a lineman and to be doing those athletic things at 300 pounds makes it all that more impressive. Texas Tech could use an athletic tackle prospect and I think Verhulst could fill that spot.
Biggest Need: Desmond Nisby With just a handful of running backs on the team, Texas Tech needed to bolster the running back corps and Nisby adds a completely different dimension to the running back game.
Immediate Impact: Dakota Allen Allen having been in the program and having been so productive at junior college bodes well for Allen to be able to contribute immediately. Last year, the linebacker corps were relatively young and with the addition of Allen, it makes it significantly more experienced and a deeper unit.
Most NFL Potential: Octavious Morgan The easy guess here would be Jack Anderson, but since I listed him above, I’ll go with Morgan, who has the size, speed and play-making ability to play a handful of positions. Gibbs said that he likes to get guys that are defensive backs and Morgan fits that role, he could potentially never come off the field if he’s as good as I think he is.
Strongest Offensive Unit: Offensive Line I said it before National Signing Day and I’ll say it again, it bears repeating that the key to the 2017 class wasn’t a skill position, but the big guys up front. Early enrollees jack Anderson, Dawson Deaton, Will Farrar and Jacob Hines along with Casey Verhulst, who signed on National Signing Day is some high-end talent. Texas Tech fans saw last year first hand in that if you don’t dominate the line of scrimmage, everything tends to fall apart. The high school signings of Anderson, Deaton, Farrar and Verhulst are, on paper, the best that Texas Tech has signed. The addition of Jacob Hines as a JUCO signee addes some needed depth at guard, but of all things, I’m hoping that Hines redshirts, works on his body and is ready next year.
Strongest Defensive Unit: Secondary There are two ways to improve a pass rush. Add defensive linemen or improve your secondary. With the 2017 class being such a big class for defensive linemen, David Gibbs opted for the secondary. The mid-term signing of Jaylon Lane and Octavious Morgan were absolute surprises for me personally and then adding the hard-hitting safety Vaughnte Dorsey was just icing on the cake. Lane and Morgan are both high-end athletes that played in one of the better JUCO conferences in Kansas. Morgan played a little bit of everywhere, from cornerback to safety and Lane mainly settled in at cornerback. Add in the high school players Zaquincius Addison, Adrian Frye and John Davis and you’ve attempted to improve the secondary right now, while still adding for the future as well. All three of the high schoolers are exactly what Gibbs likes in his secondary players. Long, lean and good athletes and these guys all fit that mark.
Article Most Likely to Make Recruits Feel Like Shit: “Texas Tech 2017 signing day: Red Raiders headlined by Jack Anderson, and that’s pretty much it” I mean, couldn’t we have come up with a better headline? I’m not hanging banners outside my house with this class, but Lane, Morgan, Jones, Deaton, Farrar and Allen are are high level and immediate impact type of guys for me.