I think the edition of Pearlie Graves and Myles Wade are absolutely huge and it's a testament to Ruffin McNeill and his ability to sit in a room with parents and the player and look those parents and players straight in the eye and let them know that he's going to watch over their son. It's not that Texas Tech hasn't had coaches be able to say that before, but I think there's something different when it's coming from McNeill. You can tell he means it.
I digress, yesterday is obviously a culmination of a number of things falling into place. Texas Tech has a full-time recruiter in Antonio Huffman, which is new for this year's recruiting class (I think he was hired right before the spring game last year). Just think about that for a minute. For the first time in Mike Leach's tenure, he had a guy who's job was to follow up with recruits and touch base with them every day and it showed with very early commitments for a majority of the class. There were no surprises and I think that credit should go to Huffman for keeping things relatively normal.
As much as we hate the way the season ended, there just has to be some cause and effect to an 11-2 season and the success on the field. Not to mention, it doesn't hurt to have a once in a lifetime receiver that is a human highlight reel and the absolute best advertisement is free because it gets played every day.
Recruiting A Team
We try to sign a whole football team," McNeill said. "I try to sign an entire defense. That's the whole goal of recruiting I think personally."
How well did Leach, McNeill & Co. do?
|WR||4||E.J. Celestie, Aaron Fisher, Derrick Mays, Eric Ward|
|OL||4||Kyle Clark, Matt Goetz, Joey Gray, LaAdrian Waddle|
|DL||3||Romario Cathey, Pearlie Graves, Myles Wade|
|DE||4||Aundrey Barr, Kerry Hyder, Chris Knighton, Trevor Reilly|
|LB||3||Dion Chidozie, Brandon Mahoney, James Scott|
|DB||5||Terrance Bullitt, Daniel Cobb, Will Ford, D.J. Johnson, Yahshua Williams|
It appears that it went exactly according to plan.
If, and this is a big if, Texas Tech can continue this trend of recruiting as a team, there should not be these awful situations like in 2009 where the Red Raiders will need to replace almost an entire secondary and in 2010 where McNeill will be in charge of replacing the entire 2 and 3 deep at defensive end.
Lining Up the Stars
Some things just aren't adding up. According to Rivals, Texas Tech has five 4-star players: Kyle Clark, Pearlie Graves, Eric Stephens, Myles Wade and Eric Ward. According to Scout, the Red Raiders have four 4-star players: Brandon Mahoney, Eric Ward, Joey Gray and Jacob Karam.
Stars aren't everything, but at the very least I think that this shows that there's a pretty wide range of talented players between the two recruiting services. In fact, the fact that the two services only agree on Ward makes me feel even better about this class because there's such a wide range of talent.
At the bottom of the class, Rivals has five 2-star players: James Scott, Aundrey Barr, Matt Goetz, Chris Knighton and Derrick Mays. Meanwhile, Scout has nine 2-star players: LaAdrian Waddle, Chris Knighton, Eric Stephens, Romario Cathey, Ernest Celestine, Jarvis Phillips, Aundrey Barr, Derrick Mays and Trevor Reilly.
That's a pretty big difference between the two, and I think that from what I can tell the true projects are really Barr, Goetz, Knighton, Mays, Phillips and probably Reilly. James Scott is probably getting downgraded because he may have some grade issues, but he is not a 2-star player. In fact, he may be one of the more talented players in the class. When I say projects, I mean that we may not see these guys for a couple of years at best, although considering Reilly's age (I think he's already 20 or 21) he should get time relatively early if he can bulk up and get back into playing shape.
This is a little frustrating. This appears to be Texas Tech's best class at least in terms of average star rating and headliners and difference makers, but we're still behind quite a bit of the Big 12. Nationally, Texas Tech finished 34th in Rivals' rankings with a 3.00 average and 30th in Scout's rankings with a 2.81 average. It should also be pointed out that according to Rivals, Texas Tech had the 6th best class in the conference behind Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Nebraska and Kansas. Scout believes that Texas Tech finished 4th behind Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
Again, rankings aren't everything, just something to note, that as we're getting better, so is our competition.
Comparing Prior Years
A couple of weeks ago, I looked at the average star rating for the offense and defense. Just to complete the picture, the average rating for the offense with the 2009 commits was 3.10 and the defense was 2.76. You'll note that when I did it the last time, the offense was at a 3.38 and the defense was at 2.90, but here's something that makes me happy despite these averages being lower .
A couple of weeks ago, there were no 4-star recruits on defense, however, after yesterday morning Texas Tech had two and they were at the most difficult position to recruit, defensive tackle. So while the average star rating went down for both the offense and defense, I think that Texas Tech is much better with two potentially impact players in Wade and Graves than not having those guys at all. What drug down the rating was the rankings of Goetz, Mays, Scott, Knighton and Barr and all of those guys are projects and we know that. We're not depending on them for at least two years.