All things considered, you couldn’t have reasonably asked
for much more from Kliff Kingsbury and his staff in their inaugural recruiting
effort. Kingsbury was faced with the double tasks of assembling his staff while
simultaneously rebuilding a recruiting class that had almost come apart at the
seams following Tommy Tuberville’s hasty departure to
the frosty climes of Cincinnati.
The 2013 class could easily have been one of crumbs,
leftovers and filler, and nobody would have complained. Instead, this group has
its fair share of undeniable talent, and is particularly deep at receiver and
Mike Leach’s initial recruiting class was not nationally
lauded, but produced several fine players (a certain Wes Welker among them). It
is likely Kliff Kingsbury’s will follow suit. Below are several of Kingsbury’s
Class MVP: Devin Lauderdale—This phenom out of Houston Bellaire
may not even turn out to be the best pure receiver in this class, but his
amazing skills with the ball in his hands should elevate him to MVP status.
Lauderdale has greasy fast speed and is T.R.O.U.B.L.E. when toting the rock.
Because of his ability to house it every time he touches the ball, look for
Lauderdale to be used with great frequency on the fly sweep. Lauderdale is also
something extra as a punt returner. Almost reminds one of another guy named Devin…
Offensive MVP: Dylan Cantrell—No doubt about it, Tech’s 2013 class tilts towards offense, and
Cantrell may be the most celebrated recruit on that side of the ball. Justifiably so. There’s not a lot he can’t do as a receiver.
Cantrell catches the fade like a pro, which should suit Kliff Kingsbury just
fine. He uses his big frame to ward off defenders, has great hand-to-eye
coordination, possesses great concentration, is a sly route-runner, sheds
would-be tacklers with ease, and is already very polished. Cantrell should make
an immediate splash.
Defensive MVP: Zach Barnes--It is difficult to project whether Zach Barnes will wind up at
linebacker or defensive end, but his physical play will likely pay more
dividends at linebacker so that is the prognostication here. Barnes has
tremendous upper body strength and brings a load when making contact with a
blocker or ball-carrier. And at six-foot-four and 230
pounds, you love his size right now and what he may grow into. Barnes could
probably carry 255 pounds with no problem.
Offensive Sleeper: Cody Hayes—At six-foot-six and 260 pounds, Cody Hayes is not yet ready for the
rigors of the Big 12. But when Hayes packs on another 30 pounds, Big 12
defensive ends may not be ready for the rigors of him! It’s easy to see a
future star when watching Hayes play. His footwork is excellent,
he sets a very good base, runs well and has great length for a tackle. Once
Hayes adds some more muscle and learns how to use his hands to ward off bull
rushers, look out.
Defensive Sleeper: Malik Jenkins—This linebacker from Ennis has the measureables
scouts and coaches love. For that reason, it’s a bit of a mystery that Jenkins
was not more heavily recruited. He is six-foot-three and 225 pounds, which
means he’ll likely play at 240-245. Jenkins runs like a Ferrari and explodes
like a daisy-cutter. He could grow into a real force for Kingsbury and his