Shout out to DTN reader Brent for the photo. I've been sent additional photos, to go along with the theme of the new logo. Very much appreciated.
Consider this to be your open thread for the morning.
Just to catch up, here are your previous updates as well as everything that I've written about the 2012 class, including every profile for every commit (which are also linked down below in each individual profile), but here are some of the more recent posts:
- Red Raider Gridiron | Texas Tech Football Recruiting Update
- Texas Tech Football | January Recruiting Update
- Marginalizing Recruiting Data and Cumulative Recruiting Rankings
- 2012 Texas Tech Football Commits
The best source of immediate information is Twitter. I know that some of you may scoff at the idea of Twitter, but for days like National Signing Day, it's incredibly valuable. So here are the Texas Tech resources as well as some national resources:
DTN's Texas Tech Twitter List | These are Texas Tech related folks that allow me to follow them. You can also follow some search terms from Twitter (this is one of my secrets, so it doesn't go past this post, okay?), although you typically have to read through a lot of noise, including "texastech", "wreckem" and "gunsup". One more note, I think it's bad form and improper to Tweet with these high school players, so please don't.
- Texas Tech's NSD Webcast | The official site is running a webcast from 8:00 am to 11:00 am with a camera in the "War Room" and well as coach and player interviews (you can see the list here). You can also find a link to the video here and be warned that this site is prone to sometimes run very slow and can be tough to watch.
- SB Nation's Bud Elliott has compiled a ton of content on just about every program. You can also follow Elliott on Twitter as well.
I will be putting up another open thread at 2:00 pm as that's when head coach Tommy Tuberville will be holding a pres conference. I'm also putting a Twitter widget for DTN's Texas Tech Twitter List and if things go correctly, it should update automatically.
It's hard for me to narrow this down to just a handful of players because I do think that there is so much need at just about every position. Again, I'm in the camp that thinks that there was/is some talent deficiency at Texas Tech, there's also been some bad coaching too, but I do think there needs to be a talent upgrade for a lot of spots. It would be tough to argue that the defensive line position and the receiver position offer some significant upgrades in talent.
The defensive line commits, Michael Starts, Anthony Smith and J.J. Bynum, now J.J. Loller (he's going to be referred to as both Bynum and Loller in this post as I don't have time to change all of the prior stuff I've done, as well as Lee Adams, give a much maligned defensive line some much needed size. The starting defensive tackles for Texas Tech were undersized and certainly underperformed, evidenced by the awful overall defensive numbers. And the worst part about this situation is that there are only four defensive tackles that return, three of which played significantly in 2010 and one that redshirted.
It's easy to see how any one of these players will have an opportunity to make a difference because there is an opportunity to be had. Starts is the biggest target and had Texas been willing to offer, and they have have in retrospect, Starts to play at defensive tackle, then he might be a Longhorn commit, but Texas Tech offered Starts as a defensive player and that could pay huge dividends for Texas Tech. Again, TTU can at least offer the opportunity of early playing time. Smith and Loller are there to plug holes in the defensive line and I actually think that either one could play sooner than Starts because I think that Smith is a one-gap or two-gap nose guard and I'd bet that Loller is willing to play that spot too, while Starts may be a bit tall for that spot. Adams can have the opportunity to play at a lighter weight for a defensive tackle, at maybe 265, or he can shed a few pounds and find some time at defensive end. There are options.
LAJ's Don Williams spoke with Smith and Loller who talked a bit about how they both played running back, but I think the emphasis should be on the fact that not only do Smith and Loller have size, they are also apparently strong. Here's the bit on Loller:
Tech coaches no doubt are counting on the pair of young defensive tackles to be part of the long-term solution. Both are known for their strength. Bynum placed second as a state-meet powerlifter last year and has bests this season of a 755-pound squat lift, 400-pound bench press and 610-pound dead lift. He said the state record in the squat is 800 pounds.
A&M Consolidated coach David Raffield said Bynum translated the weight-room strength to the field in the fall. He made 60 tackles, 10 for losses. In addition to being a unanimous, first-team all-district choice for the third year in a row, he was honored as Class 5A third-team all-state by the Texas Sports Writers Association.
“J.J. had a tremendous senior season,” Raffield said. “He wreaked total havoc on offenses around District 12-(5A).”
And on Smith:
Smith wowed scouts at a Nike football combine early last year in Houston, where he posted a record 49-foot power ball throw. In that event, an athlete launches a 6.6-pound ball from chest level while on his knees.
At least a dozen Division I schools were willing to overlook the fact Smith is short. He’s strong, displays surprising quickness — he said his best 40-yard dash time is 4.85 seconds — and considers down-in, down-out effort his best asset.
“I’m an undersized, quote-unquote, defensive lineman, not the typical 6-4, 6-5 guy,” Smith said. “You really don’t find one 6-1, 300 with the motor. That’s what gives me the drive, being an underdog. I’m not the tallest, longest dude. I’ve got to make up for that with my drive.”
The receiver spot is such a coup because of the possibility of immediate help in WR Javon Bell, a JUCO All-American for two years, and generally thought of as a 4-star player, plus the addition of uber-athletes Reginald Davis and Dominique Wheeler, who are also highly rated 4-star prospects who mainly played quarterback in high school, but can really play just about anywhere on the field. I did find this interview with Reginald Davis and Tyler's 99.3 Bryan Houston's Sports Radio.
I'd also be a bit remiss in not adding Sadale Foster, a JUCO inside receiver and returner extraordinaire. I don't think that Foster is a "top player", but because of the lack of depth at running back, as mentioned below, and the fact that Foster is already on campus, Foster will get time at running back, returner and receiver. This team is in dire need of a punt returner. He can and will be asked to do quite a bit, and could be one of those unheralded players that has been so versatile that he's creates a niche for himself.
One more thing that I think you'll enjoy is that RRS.com talked with a handful of high school coachess from each of the commits. I won't blockquote any, but just encourage you to take some time and read all of them.
Tuberville has said that there may still be three or four players that they are looking at, but realistically, they only have one spot available as the team is at 24 commits. That certainly doesn't mean that a player cannot or will not de-commit, but for right now, I think there's only one spot available and I think that Tuberville is targeting a running back, namely Damien Williams.
Williams is a JUCO running back from Arizona Western College and has been offered by a handful of schools, but apparently it is down to Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Texas Tech may give Williams the best opportunity to play immediately as Texas Tech has one healthy scholarship running back going into spring practice, Kenny Williams, and only has one running back, Quinton White, in the 2012 class. Additionally, both OU and Arkansas have two highly rated running backs in their classes already. At Texas Tech, Williams would have a somewhat immediate opportunity, and would have been even better if he could have qualified for the spring semester. I think the lean for Williams is to OU.
As to other options, I think that if Williams doesn't sign then maybe Tuberville will sign players that might not qualify. I mentioned last week that there were rumblings last week current Alabama commit WR Casey Gladney and his high school teammate, QB/LB Ky Tyler. This is an incredible long-shot and would be a surprise, but if they did sign, obviously, there are questions about whether or not they would qualify.
Profiles and the 2012 recruiting table are all after the jump.
Signed Letter of Intent and Enrolled
Ht: 6'0" | Wt: 200 lbs | Forty: 4.50
High School: Mansfield Summit (Mansfield, TX)
Video: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3
Rivals | Scout | ESPN | 24/7 Sports
Cumulative Ranking: 67.5
Ht: 6'4" | Wt: 225 lbs | Forty: 4.58
High School: Christian Brothers (Memphis, TN)
Video: Clip 1 | Clip 2
Rivals | Scout | ESPN | 24/7 Sports
Cumulative Ranking: 63.6
Ht: 6'0" | Wt: 291 lbs | Forty: 4.98
High School: Westfield (Houston, TX)
Video: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3
Rivals | Scout | ESPN | 24/7 Sports
Cumulative Ranking: 70.5
The 2012 Class
The idea is to take all of the data from all of the recruiting services and put it into just one number. Thus, the idea is that a grade of 68 or 69 is a thee-star player, while a ranking of 83 or 84 is a four-star player. Anything in between those numbers or lower means that the player most likely has a lower grade with one service or another. For example, Quinton White is thought of by all the recruiting experts as a solid three-star player. While a player like Clayton Nicholas is mostly a three-star player but ESPN does give him a four-star grade, so his grade is a bit higher.
|QB||CLAYTON NICHOLAS||6-3/205||Cooper (Abilene, TX)||74.3|
|RB||QUINTON WHITE||5-8/180||A&M Consolidated (College Station, TX)||69.8|
|WR||REGINALD DAVIS||6-1/185||Tenaha (Tenaha, TX)||83.9|
|WR||DOMINIQUE WHEELER||6-2/178||Crockett (Crockett, TX)||84.8|
|WR||SADALE FOSTER||5-8/185||Riverside C.C. (Riverside, CA)||62.4|
|WR||JAVON BELL||5-8/185||Gulf Coast C.C. (Perkinston, MX)||81.7|
|C||JARED KASTER||6-4/268||Rice (Altair, TX)||71.7|
|OL||TREY KEENAN||6-5/270||Argyle (Argyle, TX)||74.5|
|OL||RASHAD FORTENBERRY||6-5/285||Gulf Coast C.C. (Perkinston, MS)||67.0|
|OL||CONNOR GROOMS||6-4/280||Robert E. Lee (Tyler, TX)||67.2|
|DL||J.J. BYNUM||6-3/275||A&M Consolidated (College Station, TX)||71.1|
|DL||MICHAEL STARTS||6-5/285||La Vega (Waco, TX)||84.2|
|DL||ANTHONY SMITH||6-0/291||Westfield (Houston, TX)||70.5|
|DL||CHASE ROBISON||6-4/225||Christian Brothers (Memphis, TN)||63.6|
|DL||LEE ADAMS||6-3/265||Riverside C.C. (Riverside, CA)||67.2|
|LB||KRIS WILLIAMS||6-2/200||Bryan Adams (Dallas, TX)||69.6|
|LB||RYAN FLANNIGAN||6-1/200||Marshall (Missouri City, TX)||71.0|
|LB||WILL SMITH||6-3/220||Riverside C.C. (Riverside, CA)||69.2|
|LB||CHRIS PAYNE||5-11/215||Gulf Coast C.C. (Perkinston, MS)||61.4|
|DB||LA'DARIUS NEWBOLD||6-1/180||Lancaster (Lancaster, TX)||70.1|
|DB||MICAH AWE||6-0/210||Mansfield Summit (Mansfield, TX)||67.5|
|DB||THIERRY NGUEMA||6-0/175||Santiago (Corona, CA)||60.4|
|DB||AUSTIN STEWART||6-2/200||Pierce C.C. (Woodland Hills, CA)||61.6|
|DB||BRUCE JONES||5-9/175||Riverside C.C. (Riverside, CA)||63.4|
|DB||OLAOLUWA FALEMI||5-11/170||Los Angles Harbor C.C. (Wilmington, CA)||INC|
|ATH||KEENON WARD||5-9/176||Snyder (Snyder, TX)||70.7|