It was kind of a ho-hum class for Kliff Kingsbury and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Rivals.com lists it as a top-50 class, but there were no unexpected surprises on National Signing Day.
On Wednesday night, Kingsbury admitted that he’s fallen out of favor with some around the program and in the fan base, saying, “Outside of Nick Saban and Dabo, we’re all on the hot seat. It’s just the nature of the business. Every year you need to win and get better.”
So, maybe there are more diamonds in the rough than most folks expect out of this class, at least Kingsbury should desperately hope so. If not, he may not be the one handing out National Letters of Intent for the Class of 2018.
The star of the Texas Tech Red Raiders 2017 recruiting class: OL Jack Anderson (Frisco, TX)
Anderson is the only 4-star player in this class, but at least it comes at a position of desperate need. Last season, the Red Raiders averaged a Big-12 worst 3.2 yards per carry and only 103.6 rushing yards per game. Add to that six offensive linemen who left the program during or after the season because of graduation, injury or dismissal.
The best news is that Anderson is one of four offensive linemen who have enrolled early. If Anderson is not starting somewhere on the offensive line in Lubbock next fall, I’ll be as surprised as anybody. Some services considered him a top-10 player in the state and it showed with offers from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Nebraska, Texas and others.
Many have compared Anderson to former Texas Tech lineman and NFL starter Manny Ramirez. If Anderson ends up with that kind of career, Tech fans will be thrilled.
The best position group of the Texas Tech Red Raiders 2017 recruiting class: defensive backs
We all know how much help Texas Tech needs in all three phases of its defense. So, bringing in 6 defensive backs is a great place to start.
Three of them are JUCO transfers who should be able to help out immediately. They are Jaylon Lane (Independence, KS), Vaughnte Dorsey (Perkinston, MS) and Octavius Morgan (El Dorado, KS). All three are at least 5’11”, with Lane, the best of the three, listed at 6’2”.
Lane’s story from Staking the Plains is an interesting one: Coming out of high school in Nacogdoches, Texas, he was committed to Oklahoma State. But at some point during his senior year he threw a calculator at a teacher, overturned some desks and then resisted when officers tried to contain him. He ended up committing to Independence Community College. Hopefully he’s learned a fairly harmless lesson and has matured.
Morgan is considered more physical cornerback and ESPN lists him as their No. 4 JUCO corner in America. Meantime, expect Dorsey to play up in the box more often as he’s a big hitter who doesn’t have a ton of experience in pass coverage.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders 2017 recruiting class could use more depth at: defensive line
Texas Tech had the worst defense in America in 2016 in terms of total yards allowed. So, while it’s great to bring in a very solid group of defensive backs, bringing in some parts on the defensive line would help a lot too, so the defense doesn’t have to keep bringing an extra man into the box to try and stop the run.
Tech only has one defensive lineman in this class and he’s Nelson Mbanasor (Pflugerville, TX). He’s a 3-star player who is not expected to crack the line up as a freshman. Yes, the Red Raiders brought in seven defensive linemen last year, but there hasn’t been much we’ve seen to assume that group is full of studs. Add that to the shocking move of Brandon Fehoko’s decision to transfer last month and the defensive line is not looking promising for 2017.
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