I was stuck at home all week, one week til I get back to Lubbock and all of my friends either back in school or working. It was Thursday, and the only thing remotely interesting that happened all week was the Zaycoven Henderson soap opera. So instead of being cooped up on Thursday, I went to my brother's orchestra concert, and got a fresh breath of air from the house. Around the time the concert started, when I was about to put my phone up, I got text from my friend and new VTMer RCMB reading "A 4-star commit just flipped to Tech!". Great. Perfect timing. I got news who it was and was able to relay info to him during minute breaks, constantly thinking "why" and "how" Nigel Bethel decided now to commit to Tech and not earlier when he was debating it. When I got home, I quickly went to figure out.
For those who don't know, Nigel Bethel is a 4-star recruit who is from Miami. He never had a solid commit to the Hurricanes and took visits elsewhere to check out his options, including a visit to Texas Tech during the Texas State game. While it looked like he fully decided to stick with the Hurricanes, Kevin Curtis kept on messaging him and keep contacting him to get him to flip. Finally on Thursday night, he decommitted from Miami and made his pride for Texas Tech felt on twitter. Even though his size may be 5'9", he has great speed and coverage ability and believes that he has what it takes to be a pro. A reason why he choose Texas Tech was because the Big XII is a pass happy league and he wants to try and beat the best. Not only that, but a bunch of his Booker T. Washington (#1 Football team in country) teammates are thinking about flipping to the Red Raiders. Here is the list in the players that could flip over:
- Demetrius Jackson (4-Star DE) - He is also a University of Miami commit, and a talented one too. He is an athletic, speedy DE who can squeeze through linemen and successfully chase down the ball carrier. Nigel had a serious talk with him about switching to Tech and he is seriously considering so. He will be taking an official to Miami this weekend, Arkansas after that and Texas Tech at the end of the month. He was mad a Miami fans for bashing Nigel and his decision, so a flip could happen.
- Lamar Parker (3-Star WR) - He isn't scheduled for a visit, and says he's committed to WVU fully, but also retweeted a tweet about playing with Nigel in the future (Not sure if serious or not). He is also a track athlete, running a 40 time of 4.44 in high school. Tech already has 5 WRs on the roster, so it's not a huge need for the Red Raiders.
- Krondis Larry (2-star RB) - While this may a track scholarship instead of a football one, Larry is very fast, having elite speed (4.36 40 time) and small frame. He will be visiting Texas Tech this month and then make his decision after that. He is currently a Samford commit with his only other offer from Hawaii.
- Deltron Hopkins (3-star WR) - Like Larry, he is also a speedy athlete and could use up a track scholarship, running a 4.35 40 yard dash. Right now he is committed to Appalachian State He is also visiting Tech soon and has an offer from Hawaii.
If you include just one of those guys, add Vincent Jackson Jr (who could be Red Raider in a couple weeks), include Tevin Madison and the four Georgia freshmen, that leaves a total of 8 guys from the area who are committed to Texas Tech. If you include basketball players, that adds another one in Justin Gray to the list, and another possible one in DeVonte Thorton. Now this doesn't seem like a lot, and right now only 7 are committed to Tech at the moment, but here is some reasons why this seems like a legitimate pipeline for the Texas Tech Red Raiders:
- Starting opportunity - If you look at the schools in Florida, they are always packed with the top talent. If you're not a 5-star or high 4-star recruit, you're probably looking at couple years before you get to start. At Texas Tech, you have a better opportunity to start or make a big impact right away. Vincent Jackson Jr tweeted "Why would not want to go somewhere where you can play right away", and lot of this kids from Florida have the same mind set. Tech has a lot of spots at the moments where someone could come in and play right away.
- Wanna get away? - Some of these kids want to get away from home. One reason may be what Nigel said, and that was to "live life", get away from home and live the college experience. The first thing I did in my college search was take out the schools real close to home. Tech has long enough away from home to feel like I was truly living on my own. Miami, Florida State or Florida may be too close for some of these kids, and may want to go elsewhere.
- Violence - Some of the bigger cities in Miami have had a violence problem. On average, the city of Miami has 68 deaths per year from murders from 2000-2011. That doesn't include violence not related in deaths. Here's a CBS story from this year about these for those who want to learn more. Nigel had a tweet about violence in Miami, and even though he probably loves the city, you just never know what's going to happen.
- Texas loves Football - Plain and simple, Texas can't get enough of football. Nigel said on his DoubleT 104.3 interview that it wasn't a huge deal when they won state, but in Texas, everyone goes crazy. Texas is obsessed with sports, from high school to college to pros (even though the pro teams make a fool of themselves). Some of these guys may want to feel the Texas football experience and head to Texas Tech.
Those are probably the main reasons why recruits like Bethel, Gray and Madison may want to come from Texas Tech instead of a local or state school. Kliff Kingsbury and Tubby Smith both just got started at Tech and are already grabbing guys from the Southeast region, more than the previous coaches of the respective sports did. Not only that, but both coaches are already looking at more talent from the Southeast region for future classes. Tech right now has 4 Florida football recruits on their radar for future classes and basketball has two Georgia teammates that are looking at the Red Raiders. Expanding outside your region is one way to be successful. Makes your school more popular to recruits across the nation and gets more respect for you too. Luckily for Texas Tech, they've gotten some exposure this season, showing up on national TV 6 times in late games, and a bowl game where they rocked the #14 team in the nation. So the question I have for y'all today is do you think Texas Tech is forming a Florida/Georgia/Alabama pipeline? If yes, why do you think so? If no, why isn't there one forming and what needs to be done to do so?