Possible Red Raiders: A Weekly Recruiting Update - 3/4/14

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

Tech offers some Louisiana recruits, Joe Esposito goes traveling, Stidham's weekend in Lubbock and why Tech may only sign a few receivers this time around. Also, a look at some recruits that were at Tech's junior day, including Kahlil Haughton, Niko Small, and Tony Nicholson.

This Texas Tech football team is really going for it all this year. Over the past few weeks, they have offered several high rated defensive players from Cali, sending them tons of letters and keeping up with them, along with some pretty good guys from the state of Louisiana. With last year, Tech had to get a quick jump on finding guys for this recruiting class. Not only that, but it's hard to pump up a kid about your program when you don't have anything there to show for example. Now they do have something to show for it, and a promising game against Arizona State helps us get some attention from around the nation. With all these offers going out, nothing but good things. Let's take a look right now at some recruits that could become Red Raiders in Kahlil Haughton, Niko Small and Tony Nicholson.

Kahlil Haughton - Safety (Midway HS, Waco, TX)

Height: 6'2" Weight: 175 lbs Vertical: 32"

Ratings: 86 by 247 / 3-star by ESPN / 5.7 by Rivals

Interest: Baylor (Warm), Texas Tech (Cool), Oklahoma State (Cool), Oklahoma (Cool)

This is one of the (if not the) first stop Kliff and Co made once the dead period ended a month and a half ago, to Midway high school to visit and offer Kahlil Haughton and DeVontre Stricklin (who has since committed to Baylor), along with the meet with two linebackers. Now this is a tough place to recruit for Tech because Midway HS is in Waco, right in the backyard of Baylor. They have personally witnessed to uprising of the team and with a short distance, the coaches can visit them easily and family would get to see them play if they choose there. Texas Tech and others however are not giving up on Haughton, and Haughton hasn't committed anywhere to play yet. He has gotten visits from several schools, including Baylor, TCU, Oregon State, Duke and Texas Tech. The only junior days he has gone to so far are OU's (2/1/14), Texas Tech's (2/22/14) and Oklahoma State (2/23/14). It will be hard to gather him in, but with the large DB class in 2014 and the amount of DBs on Tech's radar, he wouldn't be a big deal if he was lost. Let's take a look at his film right now. There are a lot of things I like about Kahlil. First off, he has great length, which gives him the ability to block the receivers hand better for passing situations. He also has good speed to go with the length, helps when he's closing in on players. Another is his ability to square up and tackle to opponent. Kahlil was running down receivers and carriers in the video and bring them to the ground. And finally, he has a never give up attitude on the field. He chases down guys and gets them down, including one play where he caught up to the receiver and poked the ball out. His great speed, length, and hustle could make him a great DB at the next level. With Texas Tech signing 8 DB's last class (a couple could be moved to LB later on), Tech isn't in dire need of a lot of young DB, but this is definitely one Texas Tech should try and push towards.

Niko Small - Cornerback (Bowie HS, Arlington, TX)

Height: 5'11" Weight: 170 lbs

Ratings: 80 by 247/ NR by ESPN / NR by Rivals

Interest: Louisiana Tech (Warm), Oklahoma State *(Cool), Texas Tech *(Cool), Baylor *(Cool)

Niko Small decided two weekends ago to attend Texas Tech's junior day and looked like he enjoyed himself when he was there. Niko has the attention of a lot of Big XII teams, including teams like Kansas State, OKST and Baylor, but his lone offer thus far is from Louisiana Tech. However, by the way things are going, he probably will get offers by some of those teams soon. Niko comes from Bowie HS in Arlington, where a lot of 5A talent is played, and that is probably how he got noticed. He is teammates with another Arlington Bowie player in Greg Pierce, that also visited us in the same junior week he had. Not only that, but he is good pals with the South Grand Prairie recruits as well. Now for a look at Niko's film. As you can plainly see from his film, he's a ball hawk. He's excellent at cutting off routes and taking to the house or a good distance down the field. What helps him become such an effective ball hawk is the fact that he has great speed and can lay hard hits on the opponent. When the opposition was chasing him, no one could ever catch him due to his pure speed. This also helped him jump routes better and chase down ball carriers. The hard hits give him the chance to make a play on the ball and cause a fumble. For a Cornerback, he has some pretty damn good hits in there. I think that Small may be overlooked a bit, and I think Texas Tech should keep on pushing for him.

Tony Nicholson - Dual Threat Quarterback (South Grand Prairie HS, Grand Prairie, TX)

Height: 5'11" Weight: 170 lbs 40 time:

Ratings: NR by 247 / NR by ESPN / NR by Rivals

Interest: Baylor (Warm), Duke (Warm), Ole Miss (Warm), Texas Tech *(Cool)

First off I apologize for any misconfusion concerning Tony Nicholson, I've been referred to him as Tony Richardson a lot for some reason, which may have thrown off your knowledge of him. So if you see anything about Tony Richardson (like last week), that's actually this guy, Tony Nicholson. Tony is an interesting recruit. He's a small Dual Threat QB who recently got interest from a few schools, including Baylor who already has a QB for this class (two if you include Chad President). He's been gaining interest from the Red Raiders since January and has so for other schools too. Kansas State and Duke were the first to offer him. After that he went to Texas Tech's junior day with teammate Jaelan Austin and friend Greg Pierce. Since then he's gotten offers from Ole Miss and Baylor, who are his leaders thus far. This past weekend, Tony visited Duke and look like he enjoyed himself. Let's take a look at what he can do on the field. First off the first thing you notice is that Tony Nicholson has some legs. As you can see above, he runs a 4.49 40 and it translate well on the field. He's dodging guys, jukeing them out, finding holes, almost like you're playing Madden when watching this kid. The opposition simply couldn't stop him when he found a hole and hit the open field. He had several design runs and passing plays where the took the ball to the house. Tony isn't a bad passer either, but definitely not the best at it. He was only 50% passing last year, but had some pretty good throws (most of them to Tech target Jaelan Austin). He does have a powerful arm and can drop it over the top to receivers. Tony was about 50/50 on running and passing plays, but I see him more as a running QB. What Tech could do is offer him a scholarship and bring him on as a QB with our lack of scholarship QBs, or try to make him a Sadale Foster type player, runningback and inside receiver. He got a skillset similar to Jakeem Grant and I think he could perform like he does for us. Hopefully Tech doesn't give up on Nicholson and keeps going at it.

Here are some more updates:

Basketball 2014:

  • Byron Smith, a SF from Ft Worth, attended Texas Tech's game against Baylor last week in Waco. Not sure of Tech's position with him, but it he interested in the Red Raiders.
  • Justin Jamison and DeVaugntah Williams, two JUCO recruits from Missouri State West Plains, will be visiting Texas Tech this upcoming weekend. Justin Jamison recently showed his recruiting board where Texas Tech was listed first and was described as the "best" recruitment.

Football 2015:

  • Jarrett Stidham, 96 rated QB, was in Lubbock this past weekend for his regional tourney. He won the first game but lost the regional finals. On Sunday he visited the Texas Tech campus, but hasn't really given a reaction. He tweet "Pumped is an understatement" right before visiting Tech, but hasn't said anything since then.
  • Carlos Strickland, 90 rated WR, looks to be most interested in Alabama, LSU, Texas Tech, Cal, OKST and TCU according to Landon Wright. Tech may not take many WR recruits this class with the deep field they already have, and as we see with recruitment of Strickland, Stricklin and Austin, Tech is obviously trying to get a big receiver this class. They are looking to get QB's, Olinemen, Dlinemen and LB's this class.
  • Courtney Wallace, NR DT from Louisiana, as picked-up an offer from the Red Raiders this week. This is his first major offer, other offers coming from Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and South Alabama.
  • Reggie Walker, 91 rated DE from Louisiana, picked up a offer from the Red Raiders this week also. He has offers from Arizona State, Kansas and Louisiana Tech among others. Mississippi State and LSU are showing major interest in him however.
  • Brandon Scott, NR S from Louisiana picked up an offer from Texas Tech last Tuesday. Texas Tech offered teammate Kirk Merritt (who has a 45.8 vertical) a month or two ago, and he's making a lot of noise. Both Brandon Scott and Kirk Merrit is recruited by Kevin Curtis, who is on a tear lately.
  • D'Vonta Hinton, 82 rated LB/S, picked up an offer from Texas Tech this week. He also has offers from Louisiana Tech and Maryland, along with interest from Texas and Baylor.
  • Trace Ellison, NR OT from Frisco, got an offer from the Red Raiders this past week. He only offers are from Illnois and Arkansas State, and the only college he visited thus far is Texas Tech. Walk-on Mason Reed also went to Cisco.
  • Texas Tech has recently asked about JUCO LB Caleb Potter, who is currently committed to Texas State. In high school he was a NR DE out of Arlington Bowie that's 5'11" and weights 205lbs. Mike Smith is recruiting him

The Esposito Express:

I know you guys were big fans of the NORAD Kliff Tracker as evident by the comments, views and recs, so since I have some traveling information, I'm going to bring it back (sort of). Since Kliff really won't be able to go look at guys until April, the tracker won't see a return anytime soon, but Tech basketball assistant Joe Esposito has been on the recruiting trail all over the nation looking at 2014 guys to finish up the class and 2015 guys for next class. It's called the Esposito Express, kind of keeping that christmas type theme (Poler Express) and it sounded really cool in head. I don't have a whole bunch of information on Joe Esposito, but I do have a few locations and faces to go with them. So let's hop aboard The Esposito Express and see where he's heading:

February 26th, 2014: Joe Esposito was in Nashville, TN, probably landing from a flight from Lubbock to start his recruiting trip. It looks like he visited De'Sean Douthard at Lighthouse Christian HS in Tennessee, a talented guard.

February 26th, 2014: Joe Esposito was spotted later that day in Rossville, GA. No sure if he was looking at anybody in Rossville, but he may have been driving down to Alpharetta, Ga, where two highly ranked recruits in 2015 96 rated SF Kaiser Gates and 2016 95 rated PG in Kobi Simmons.

February 27th, 2014: Joe Esposito was spotted in back in Tennessee. Not sure if he's doing anymore recruiting here or just getting a flight to go to his next destination.

February 28th, 2014: Joe Esposito was spotted in Chattanooga, TN and he could be looking a several guys. Two 2014 JUCOs are in Chattanooga in big PF Joshu'a Warren and big SF Jamal Smith. or C Kristopher Bell. Another player he could be looking at is a big High School Center in Abdulhakim Ado. Ado is getting interest early on from Vandy and Tennessee, along with Geogria and South Florida.

February 28th, 2014: Joe Esposito was back in Georgia later that day. I don't know any other recruits in Georgia that Joe could possibility be looking at.

February 28th, 2014: Joe Esposito flew to Fort Snelling to most likely meet with 2015 high rated PG in Jarvis Johnson and 2016 big boy in Brock Bertram, whose lone offer is from Texas Tech. Coaching in Minnesota with Tubby for years, they have some experience in Minnesota and know the coaches in the area well.

March 1st, 2014: Joe Esposito ends his recruiting for the weekend and head to Waco for the Texas Tech basketball game.

More Updates:

Update #1: Texas Tech has offered 2015 WR KJ Hill, 94 rated WR from Arkansas. Arky, Auburn, Alabama and OKST are some schools he's most interested in.

Update #2: Texas Tech has recently contacted Jaylon Lane, 85 rated CB. He visited Tech back in October, and I'm really high on the kid. Only offers thus far are from Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech and Southern Alabama. Also has visited TCU.

Updates #3: Another confirmed visitor for the Texas Tech v. Texas game, as 6'9" 265lb PF Norense Odiase will be attending the game as well. Has offers from Georgia and Ole Dominion. No offer from Red Raiders yet

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