Does this Class Match Needs?

Senior Writer of Raiderpower.com
Posted Feb 7, 2013


Joe Yeager breaks down the first class recruited in by Texas Tech head football coach Kliff Kingsbury.

A select few college football programs are so stocked with talent that there is little real need for incoming recruits to contribute immediately. To some extent, those programs simply recruit the best players they can find without worrying about bolstering specific positions.

 

Texas Tech is not among those programs. Rather, like 90 percent of FBS programs, the Red Raiders must recruit to fill specific voids and needs. The extent to which Tech’s most recent class accomplishes that task is perhaps the best way to measure the success of the recruiting effort. And the best way to evaluate the success of the effort is a position group-by-position group breakdown. All grades are on a scale of one to 10.

 

Quarterback:

Level of Need: 1

Need Fulfillment: 10

 

Mike Leach, a man who knows something about quarterbacks, believes you always recruit at least one quarterback, regardless of existing strength at that position. Kliff Kingsbury seems to be a devotee of that philosophy. Tech returns a youthful potential superstar at the position in Michael Brewer, and boasts strong-armed young backups in Clayton Nicholas and Dustin Walton. Davis Webb was one of Texas’ premier high school quarterback prospects, but he will assuredly redshirt.

 

Running Back:

Level of Need: 1

Need Fulfillment: 4

 

The Red Raiders have no real need at this position. Kenny Williams is one of the Big 12’s top returning backs, SaDale Foster is a proven backup, DeAndre Washington showed tremendous potential before getting hurt, and redshirt freshman Quinton White impressed before succumbing to an injury of his own. The only reason to even recruit Tyler Middleton is Washington and White’s history of injury. If this quartet stays remotely healthy, Middleton will redshirt.

 

Receiver:

Level of Need: 7

Need Fulfillment: 8

 

A starting receiver corps of Jace Amaro, Javon Bell, Jakeem Grant and Eric Ward looks mighty potent. Few teams can field better. And the Red Raiders will have an ace backup on the outside in the person of Bradley Marquez. But remaining depth is largely young, untested and injury prone. That’s where the need is. It is a need the incoming class fills quite admirably. D. J. Polite-Bray could easily be Eric Ward’s top understudy, and Dylan Cantrell could do the same behind Jakeem Grant. Gary Moore, if he develops, could be counted on to replace Jace Amaro if he jumps to the NFL following next season.

 

Offensive Line:

Level of Need: 7

Need Fulfillment: 9

 

It is extremely difficult to find shovel-ready offensive linemen. What’s more, Tech has a real need for just such players. The most crying need is at right tackle where redshirt freshmen look to possibly be the primary candidates to start. Enter JUCO recruit Aaron Bennett and freshman Josh Outlaw. Both are prime time talents who immediately shore up the position. Poet Thomas and Baylen Brown could also be future stars.

 

Defensive Tackle:

Level of Need: 5

Need Fulfillment: 2

 

With Kerry Hyder (the Big 12’s best) and Delvon Simmons, the Red Raiders are set for starters. Dennell Wesley is a competent backup. But beyond this trio there are real questions. Michael Starts has huge talent, but health issues and a questionable commitment level are concerning. Sophomore Donte Phillips played little as a freshman. Redshirt freshmen J. J. Lollar and Anthony Smith are coming off injuries, and the latter must also slim down. It would have been nice if Tech could have signed one or two tackles.

 

Defensive End:

Level of Need: 4

Need Fulfillment: 6

 

Tech’s defensive ends corps of Dartwan Bush, Branden Jackson, Jackson Richards and Pete Robertson is solid but unspectacular, even though Bush is a bit underrated. Thus, this was not a position of extreme need. Tech could have done a bit better here, though. JUCO transfer Demetrius Alston is the only newcomer likely to make any sort of an impact at defensive end, and he played only one game last season before suffering an injury. Still, you like his size (six-foot-four and 260 pounds) and the fact he was recruited by Kansas State and Tennessee. With Dartwan Bush a senior in 2013, though, Tech will need to hit this position hard next season.

 

Linebacker:

Level of Need: 6

Need Fulfillment: 3

 

Tech’s linebackers are somewhat like the defensive ends. There is solid experience in this group, but very little on-field performance history that blows one’s doors off. Sam Eguavoen is improving, but Will Smith, Blake Dees and Micah Awe have yet to really live up to their billing. A talent infusion was needed. The jury is still out on whether the 2013 recruiting class accomplished that. Jacarthy Mack could be very good eventually, but it’s unlikely he’ll see the field in 2013. Malik Jenkins and Kahlee Woods are even less likely to help immediately.

 

Cornerback:

Level of Need: 5

Need Fulfillment: 7

 

Cornerback is another position where Tech has no superstars. Bruce Jones played reasonably well in 2012, and Jarvis Phillips is very experienced, but players like Brandon Bagley, Oly Falemi, Thierry Nguema and Jeremy Reynolds are enigmas. (Look for Reynolds to surprise.) Kliff Kingsbury’s staff didn’t strike a mother lode at corner in 2013, but they certainly landed a gem in Dee Paul. He will help immediately, and it’s not out of the question that he could start before the end of his freshman season.

 

Safety:

Level of Need: 7

Need Fulfillment: 4

 

Much depends on Terrance Bullitt and Tre Porter here. Bullitt could be an excellent safety, but frankly there’s not much reason to believe he will stay healthy for any length of time. Porter will presumably move from nickel back to safety. If he does, he will unquestionably start. Porter’s potential has so far remained untapped. Beyond that duo, the Red Raiders have no real experience whatsoever. There could be real pressure on Jalen Barnes to contribute immediately. He may well be up to the task, but another prime safety recruit wouldn’t have gone amiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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