Two weeks ago, former Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville was a guest on Sportstalk with Bo Mattingly. During the interview, Bo asked what recruiting different areas are like. When talking about the Big XII, Tuberville said "You go to the Big XII and it's all offense. My gosh, I had fun at Texas Tech, but you had to score 50 points to have a chance to win a game." While the Big XII is known for high powered offenses, many teams play good defense in the league and are successful. Unfortunately for Texas Tech, the Red Raiders haven't been known as a team with a good defense. During the past two decades, Texas Tech has been known as the offense that puts up huge numbers, while their defense struggles to keep up. Their best stint was when Ruffin McNeill was Defensive Coordinator, and the Red Raiders went 11-1, tying the lead for the Big XII South. When McNeill left to coach Eastern Carolina, the Red Raiders went through 3 different coordinators in 3 years, struggling to keep up with the competition. Now, Texas Tech has a committed coordinator in Matt Wallerstedt, it looks as if this defense is about to make noise in the Big XII.
The difference between recruiting on defense these last two years and before then is that Texas Tech is now bringing in some of the top rated defensive recruits in the country. It really started to kick off the day after Christmas last year when Peyton Hendrix committed to the Red Raiders over schools like Norte Dame and Arkansas. The hard hitting safety would end up being our highest rated defensive recruit according to Scout and 247composite. Then just a week later, the whole Red Raider nation was caught by surprise when Kevin Curtis flipped Nigel Bethel II from Miami. The speedy corner was our top rated defensive player according to ESPN and Rivals. Finally, the Red Raiders got a commitment from
big huge humongous defensive tackle Rika Levi, our top rated defensive recruit according to 247sports. Red Raider fans were finally excited to see some playmakers making their way to Lubbock. Then came the 2015 class.
It started off with a bone crushing linebacker just a day after the Texas Tech Spring Game, then the following day, another commitment caused Red Raider nation to go berzerk. Breiden Fehoko announced on twitter that he committed to Texas Tech, giving the Red Raiders an extremely talented player at a huge position of need. Fehoko was going to wait til the end of the year to commit, but felt the time was right and pulled the trigger. Here is my analysis from January:
Height Weight Bench Vertical Power Throw 6'3" 270 lbs 315 lbs 24.7" 35
Everyone around the nation was shocked that an offensive powerhouse could pull in a defensive player like Fehoko. Then the Red Raiders did it again. Yesterday afternoon, Texas Tech got a commitment from Ohio State LB Mike Mitchell. The former 5-star will get 3-4 years left of eligibility, depending if he can play right away because of his father's health. Here is my review of Mitchell from last month:
Height Weight 40 time Shuttle Vertical SPARQ 6'3" 222 lbs 4.45 4.25 40.3 (Highest) 140.76 (Highest)
Don't think that'll be it though.
There are plenty of highly rated defensive recruits that have an eye on Texas Tech, and with the help of Fehoko and Mitchell, we could land some these recruits. Kahlil McKenzie recently released a Top 12 list where Texas Tech was at the bottom, but Kingsbury has been talking to Kahlil (the latest being two days ago) and Fehoko has been trying to convince the big defensive tackle and friend to form a dynamic duo with him in Lubbock. Malik Jefferson has said that Texas Tech has recruited him the hardest, and with his teammate DeAndre McNeal looking at the Red Raiders, they could possibly go together to Texas Tech. With the addition of Mike Mitchell to the linebacker core, we could also see Mitchell wanting to form a duo with the Mesquite product. Kris Boyd has been in contact with Nigel Bethel a lot, and even Stidham has reached out to the DB. Kris tweeted a few months ago that Texas, A&M, OU or Tech could be in for some good news.
Don't just look at the top prospects though, many other high ranked recruits are taking notice also. Darrion Daniels is visiting as we speak with his dad, a former Tech player, and signee Peyton Hendrix. Brandon Scott will soon take a visit out to Raiderland to see the hype for himself. Reggie Walker has listed the Red Raiders in his Top 3 thus far. Zach Abercrumbia has Tech right behind TCU right now, and could end up at Tech with teammate Derrick Dixon heading there. The list goes on and on of high recruits that are looking at Tech, and that doesn't even include the 2016 class. where recruits like Brandon Jones, Marvin Terry and McKinley Mitchell (Mike Mitchell's brother) have an eye on the program. However, certain events will likely need to happen before the recruits start jumping aboard.
First off, these coaches and commits need to keep on going full speed ahead at these recruits. One thing that this staff gets credited with the most is their honesty and consistency. If they keep at it and form strong relationships, we'll start getting commitments from highly rated recruits. Something else this team must do is improve on the defensive end next year. It'll be a lot easier for defensive commits to want to come to Tech if they see good or improving play from our defensive. Luckily, with multiple good newcomers, consistency in the system and more depth, we could see an improvement in this category. Finally, must get and stay in the news for positive reasons. Not everyone knows who Texas Tech is (one Louisiana recruit said he wasn't quite sure who Texas Tech was when they offered him), so Tech needs to spread the name around in a good, positive manner to help improve our recruiting.
With all this talent already committed to the Red Raiders, and the possibility of even more coming aboard, the future of the Red Raider defense is bright. Soon enough, the nation will no longer laugh at the Red Raider defense, and we will become a threat to every team that comes to Lubbock. Along with a record breaking offense, it looks as if Texas Tech is poise to become one of the top teams in the nation in the upcoming years. They say that defense wins championships, and Texas Tech is in the mist of recreating theirs now. And it's looking pretty good.
Let the Dominos Fall