Recruiting Update: Kingsbury, staff meet critical needs for Red Raiders

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By Dedfischer, Guest Contributor
Posted Feb 11, 2013
Copyright © 2014 InsideTexas.com


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In our effort to provide a solid conference recap I reached out to my Techspert, dedfischer. Though a seldom commenter and reader of Inside Texas, as the husband of a Texas grad, ded has excellent knowledge of Texas football. I solicited his thoughts on Texas Tech and he provided the goods, plus some good insight into conference recruiting on the whole. Dedfischer is in tight with the Tech staff and is a guest writer for the Red Raiders Rivals site. Thanks, dedfischer.

 

While overall this certainly wasn't the Red Raiders highest ranking class, Kliff Kingsbury and staff did an excellent job of filling need positions with solid Big 12 prospects.  They also managed to hang onto elite QB prospect Davis Webb.  On the something to be desired scale, they failed to land any DT players to round out an otherwise solid and well-scouted class.

Positional Rankings

1. WR - Tech landed the top WR class in the conference, largely due to scale.  Devin Lauderdale, Gary Moore and Dylan Cantrell offer a variety of skill sets and rank as some of the top players at their respective position in the state.  Georgia signee D.J. Polite-Bray comes with an interesting offer list that includes Tennessee and Ole Miss, but chose some bizarre visits (Utah and Middle Tenn. St?) that seem to suggest a coaching staff change for the Vols and an Ole Miss class that filled up might have eliminated those options.  Or, possibly a transcript, but allegedly his grades are in order.  Regardless, he's got elite speed and a guy the Tech coaching staff chose him over Hunter Jarmon.  Manvel's Carlos Thompson was also an intriguing take in that Tech had several more coveted options knocking at the door.  However, this was a Kingsbury personal demand and Thompson put up some of the most eye-popping stats in the country (67 catches, 1,427 yards, 21 TDs) on his way to district offensive MVP.  He'll be a good test case to follow in Kingsbury's ability to evaluate talent.

2. QB - Elite 11 standout Davis Webb stuck with Tech through the coaching change to his benefit.  I've seen several of the state's top rated QBs this year in person and Webb can spin it with any of them, except he's four inches taller than everyone sans Cody Thomas.  I agree with Trent Dilfer: Webb is a watch list NFL passer down the road.  He'll follow up a series of wow throws with some questionable decision-making, so his development will be a matter of the game slowing down for him.

3. OL - Behind an outstanding Longhorn class highlighted by OT Kent Perkins and C Darius James, the Red Raiders ranked firmly in second place on the conference scale.  Baylen Brown is capable of throwing his hat in the conversation for the top guard prospect in Texas, while Georgia's Josh Outlaw pretty much had his pick of schools.  Together, they give Tech two elite interior OL players.  The camp system also found one of the most underrated players in the state in Cody Hayes.  The Red Raiders had to fight off a late push by OU, TCU and Arizona State, but were able to maintain his loyalty.  I had the chance to see Hayes at a Lancaster summer camp and he was the top performer overall I've seen in two years of attending.  Extremely athletic, strong, physical and a work ethic that exceeded four star prospects with double digit offer lists.  Tech did a good job of keeping Hayes under wraps.  This dude has a toolbox full of everything you need and I'm penciling him in as a three to four year starter after a redshirt season.  I'm not exactly sure on the recruitment details of Michigan's Poet Thomas.  At one time, he held offers from Florida, Kansas, Colorado and SMU.  His finalists were Tech and Arkansas Pine-Bluff, which screams of a grade risk.  Thomas is obviously a nice physical talent, but I'll be curious if he makes it to campus.  Tech backed off of Maurice Porter because of grades, so Thomas must be closer than that.  Aaron Bennett was a JUCO take out of left field, so I don't really have any info on him. 

4. DB - This was a dire situation for Tech and success is graded by the numbers game.  Luckily, Kingsbury arrived in a somewhat deep year for talent, but on the conference scale, everyone signed a great class and this unit certainly ranks in the bottom half of the league.  Elite, ready-made DBs haven't looked Tech's direction in years, so evaluation will be critical here.  Former secondary coach John Lovett did the right thing by attracting athletes playing other positions to summer camps and offering them based on performance, size and speed.  Munday's Dee Paul is the most celebrated and he's exactly the type of guy Kingsbury will need to win over going forward.  Paul is also jumping up from 1A ball, so I doubt he's ready to compete.  I'm a bit more intrigued by a silky-smooth receiver/defensive back from the Rockwall camp, who posted a sub-4.5 that day.  Justis Nelson earned his chops in the Mesquite Fiji League, but if his good speed and 6-2 frame can successfully transition to FBS cornerback, he'll pass the eyeball test, which is more than I can say for the existing roster.  Tech desperately needs Big 12 caliber cornerbacks on the roster as they've never filled the vacancy left by Jamar Wall.  It's been seven years since Tech signed Wall.  They haven't come close to landing another legit CB prospect (sans Will Ford) over that time primarily due to bad evaluations under Leach and a revolving door of coaches under Tuberville.  Paul and Nelson end that streak with good measurables.  

Caleb Woodward, from Blake Gideon’s alma mater, was another summer camp offer at safety. Woodward put up big rushing numbers as a QB last fall.  No idea what kind of safety he'll make, but at least he won't be doubling as a field-turf gnome during warmups at 6-1, 190 pounds.  Surely someone has seen him play in the Austin area.  I'm not sure about his speed. 

Considering Iowa State's secondary personnel would have started at Tech for the last three years, it was probably a good idea to steal Paul Rhodes best Texas DB commit.  Jalen Barnes of PA Memorial was that guy and an Oklahoma State offer seems to support Rhodes' evaluation.  Tech finished off the defensive back position with two JUCOs, Dorian Crawford and Martin Hill, that are capable of playing either safety or corner.  I don't have any insight on the quality of prospects they are, other than a little film.  If they can form tackle, break the 4.7 barrier and display any semblance of discipline, they will start immediately.  Tech had to sign a big class and, if they can land two solid starters out of six prospects, then progress has been made.  Batting .333 on the recruiting is all it takes to compete and win in this league, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.     

5. OLB - With the transition to a 3-4, the pass rushing targets have transformed a bit and Tech went to the Georgia well again.  I'm a big fan of what Zach Barnes (6-4, 230 pounds, offers from Tenn, BYU, Indiana, Cincy) brings to the table from an edge rusher perspective.  Barnes is a really agile athlete, who closes well in space.  Jacarthy Mack's offer list would suggest he's the more highly coveted prospect with offers from South Carolina, Kansas State and Louisville.  His film wasn't as impressive to me, but at 6-3, 205 pounds, I'm guessing Tech's 3-4 will be adapted more in the form of SMU under Tom Mason and A&M under Tim DeRuyter than it will the San Francisco 49ers.  It's tough to say where this group places on the league grading system as all the other programs are recruiting pass rushers for an even front.  On paper, OU, OSU and KSU mopped the floor with the rest of the league at said position and I would say they did Tech as well. 

6.  ILB - The only position more atrocious than Tech's cornerback recruiting over the last 7 years is the inside linebacker position. Bront Bird and Brian Duncan seem like a mirage now.  New DC Matt Wallerstedt took the job in a good year to solve that issue.  I'm fairly confident this is the best LB class the state of Texas has produced in the last five years, if not decade.  While Kahlee Woods and Malik Jenkins don't rank in the 2013 elite category, they are an upgrade for Tech's situation.  Neither is fast by clock standards, but that's the only quality keeping them from elite.  Players with an appropriate combination of size, physicality and intelligence will have a chance to be a four year starter at MLB.  Woods isn't the top overall LB prospect in the state, but he is the best player at stuffing the run between the tackles.  This quality will get him on the field early for the Red Raiders.  Woods is 20 pounds heavier than Tech's best option, more physical and has received better coaching in high school than what the Big 12 has recently been offering.  Jenkins was a dominant force on a loaded Ennis defense and has the frame that could eventually send him to OLB.  For conference rankings, this is a middle of the pack group and should probably rank above the DBs were it not for the numbers difference.  Shockingly, West Virginia and Baylor found themselves atop the LB class in the Big 12.  I would flip a coin between OU and OSU for dead last, but I assume the need wasn't critical with only one prospect classes.  Welcome to the era of parity. 

7. DT/DE - Tech only signed one JUCO prospect named Demetrius Alston, who will play as a 3-4 end.  Without even checking, I'll rank this as the bottom of the barrel in the Big 12.  It's not a dire situation at this point, but Kingsbury will have to over-compensate in the 2014 class.  Tech is still in the mix for late bloomer DeQuinton Osborne, which would help.  

[Editor’s note: Nope, ded, Demetrius Alston single handedly defeats Texas’ defensive line class. What an animal! Thanks for the contribution, my friend.]

 

 

 

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