It’s Only Fitting That The H-Receiver Position Is West Texas Bred

The position that Texas Tech is most known for is now being occupied from players who grew up watching their hometown team.

When you looked at the 2017 class, there were a lot of big names that got the attention of the fans. Jack Anderson was nearly a five star recruit. Dakota Allen was returning after a stint at Last Chance U. They got a ton of JUCO players that contributed immediately to the team, along with an All-Big 12 player in Adrian Frye.

What people didn’t notice was a 5-11, 170-pound kid from the panhandle. And why would you. An unrated walk-on from a small school playing a position that the Red Raiders consistently get good recruits at? What chance does he have?

Down the road in Midland, another receiver of similar stature was lighting up the Permian Basin and getting scholarship offers from Division I programs. The offers describe who he is, as two armed forces and an ivy school extended an offer. He decided to attend Nevada.

Meanwhile, back in the heart of Raiderland, a local product just completed his junior year and was ready for a breakout senior season. He ended up taking a different route, heading to the state of Kansas to play in the perhaps the best JUCO league, the Jayhawk conference.

Two years later all three made their way to Texas Tech University, on the football team and on the two-deep roster at the H-receiver position. It’s only fitting that three West Texas players in Dalton Rigdon, McLane Mannix and Xavier White are playing for the school that popularized the slot position.

When you think of Texas Tech receivers, the first name that will come to the minds of outside fans in Michael Crabtree. But what the Red Raiders have done with the slot position has impacted both college and professional football.

Wes Welker was a feel good story in the early 2000’s and revolutionized how the NFL viewed the slot position in the NFL. Danny Amendola followed in his foot steps at Texas Tech and was known for making clutch catches in championships games. Jakeem Grant is a rising star in Miami, and Keke Coutee looks to do the same in Houston.

In the 21st century, there have always been good slot receivers at Texas Tech. And the three local products were around the watch it. Rigdon grew up a Red Raider fan in Perryton, White played football just a few miles from the stadium, and Mannix has a lot of friends that ultimately went to Texas Tech.

Typically you grow up imitate what you see on TV and what suits your skill set. As a kid growing up watching the Patriots, I often played and modeled my game in my short football career after Welker. Everyone on my team knew why I wore No. 83 on game days.

Growing up in West Texas, these three have seen the success this position brings their whole lives. They probably were modeling their games after these guys on the playground and eventually the gridiron. Subconsciously took notes on why they were successful and implemented it on the field.

And even though they all play the same position, they all bring a different set of skills to the position. Dalton is a good route runner who brings speed to the position (he was 5th in the 4A 200 meter dash in high school). Mannix is a tough receiver who can make catches in traffic. And White has shown he can be a down the field threat.

All three receivers are in the top four right now in receiving and it’s no surprise based on how Wells has ran his offense. So far, it’s been a bunch of screens and out routes, two routes that H-receivers thrive in.

The next step will be getting them involved over the middle, which we discussed on here last week. We saw Mannix catch one over the middle against Arizona and take it almost to the house. Once they are able to excel there, you’ll see the field open up more for the offense.

This West Texas team is going to depend on a lot of West Texas guys for offensive success the next few years. So far, it appears that they are up for the challenge.


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