Seth C: The thing that I've been curious about, especially from someone that isn't as close as Texas Tech fans, is if you see any sort of overall plan for Kingsbury in his first class where he's not working to put together a class at the last minute?
Wescott Eberts: I think the one thing that is clear from the group of prospects Kingsbury has assembled already is that he's focusing specifically on the wide receiver position. It remains to be seen how much success he'll have landing Kd Cannon, a kid I believe will end up at Baylor, but the class already has four wide receiver commits, with another explosive prospect in Derrick Neal who could easily end up at the position when he gets to campus. Kingsbury clearly identified a need and while some of those guys aren't highly rated, the real takeaway is that there are so many talented players in the state of Texas that evaluating well and targeting and securing commitments from the kids that you like is almost as crucial as landing the guys who finish at the top of the rankings.
Seth C: One thing that Texas Tech fans are concerned about is the lack of in-the-trenches type of players, particularly offensive and defensive linemen. Is this a valid concern?
Wescott Eberts: Yes, the lack of line play is absolutely a cause for concern. Texas Tech would benefit greatly from landing offensive line prospects like Ty Barrett and Connor Mayes, two of their top targets, but I'm not sure how likely that is, so they may have to settle for some guys who aren't quite as high on their board. While the skill position players get excited about the Airraid offense, it doesn't create as much buzz for the offensive lineman and landing difference-makers along the defensive line is always difficult for programs that can't pick and choose from the best in the state there. Throw in the fact that 2014 is a pretty week year along the offensive line, especially at tackle, and at defensive tackle and things become even more difficult. As much good as Kingsbury can do for the offense and those skill guys, a lot of his tenure is going to be defined by the ability of his coaching staff to uncover some gems and maybe even work the Red Raiders into position on some of the top guys, an area in which Tommy Tuberville experienced quite limited success.
Seth C: Another concern is the lack of star-power. I've often thought that a lot of players won't be evaluated until after the summer camps where the players will attend a Rivals, Scout, ESPN or 24/7 Sports camp and then at that point, we'll see more players receiver their ratings. Is that a fairly accurate description of the evaulation process for most of the high school seniors-to-be?
Wescott Eberts: Well, Rivals is the only one of the services that holds their own camps, which have already taken place with the exception of the five-star camp, but it is true that the services will continue to evaluate players in person throughout the summer and will change some grades based on the in-person evaluations at spring practices. By this point in the process, the rankings are pretty well built out, especially at 247Sports, but there will obviously be a good deal of movement as the process does move along.
Ed. Note: I linked to this SB Nation article yesterday in the notes, which was published in February and was initially mistaken thinking that it was published recently. I still find it hard to believe that certain players still haven't even been evaluated, which makes me think that the services are behind on a lot of players. Maybe it is just Texas Tech players. I don't know, just seems odd to have unrated players, not just highly rated, but completely unrated.
Seth C: Do you see anyone in particular on the radar for Texas Tech or will the summer evaluation process help determine who is next for Texas Tech?
Wescott Eberts: Not aware of any notable prospects who seem close to pulling the trigger in favor of the Red Raiders, though seeing another Steele prospect like strongside defensive end Josh Malin join the fold wouldn't be a surprise and would help alleviate some of those concerns in the trenches. At those need positions, it would certainly make sense for some new names to emerge from the summer camps.
Seth C: Of the 11 commits thus far, who do you think is the best get for Texas Tech and of the relatively unrated players, who's stock do you expect to soar after the summer evaluation process?
I really like the pick up of Patrick Mahomes. He made the move to quarterback after his sophomore year and took to the position incredibly quickly. A natural athlete who will bring some running ability to the table, he'll need some reps to refine his mechanics and overall consistency, but I think that he is quite underrecruited when Tech picked up a commitment from him and I expect him to rise in the rankings if he can put up similar numbers to his junior season. In terms of other underrated players, I think Byron Daniels is good enough to be a top-100 player in state.
Seth C: Looking back to the 2013 class, who stands out to you as the player that you think could receive significant playing time in 2013?
Wescott Eberts: Really a big fan of Devin Lauderdale, who could certainly come in and make a difference on special teams as one of the top return men in the 2013 Texas class. And with the loss of Delvin Simmons, it's possible one of the JUCO guys makes a difference on the defensive line -- those guys show up with only two years of eligibility, so they are typically expected to make a difference right away.
Much thanks to Eberts for taking the time to answer some questions regarding recruiting and to get a different perspective on some of the players that have already committed to Texas Tech.