The question as to whether or not Captain Mike Leach has significant improved the talent level at Texas Tech has been posed, but I'm not sure that I've sufficiently taken a look at the numbers to make sure what I thought was happening, that Leach and his staff was improving the talent, or if the program was treading water. My theory has typically been that Leach is slowly but surely improving the program, no major leaps forward, but no real steps back either. After crunching the numbers (this is the one thing that I'm concerned about . . . whether or not I've accurately added, multiplied and divided correctly) I think that theory is still true.
We won't get too wrapped up in recruiting until signing day, but the thing that jumped out at me, is that right now, Texas Tech has 0 2-star athletes. Again, I'm crossing fingers and holding my breath, for an entire month, but I consider that to be a pretty significant improvement. Not to mention, there's three 4-star players committed right now.
This was a relatively small class and there are two 2-star players in this group, in part because Carona was a 2-star and you never expect your kicker to be a real highly rated player and the second 2-star player is Austin Zouzalik and was offered a scholarship late after a player decommitted (I think). Again, this was a very small class because there were few players that graduated, but I can see the improvement. Harrison Jeffers was the lone 4-star recruit.
There were four 2-star recruits on the offensive side of the ball and none of them have contributed yet, although I think that it's safe to say that there was an expectation that these guys were going to sit for a while and develop (Stefan Loucks, Omar Castillo, Dominique Delpheche and Justin Keown). Lonnie Edwards was the lone 4-star recruit in this class and he should be a star next year along the line. This class was also very receiver heavy (Jacoby Franks, Rashad Hawk, Tramain Swindall and Detron Lewis). That's a pretty impressive group of athletes for Potts to throw at next year. There were a couple of position changes here as running back Jared Flannel switched to the defensive side of the ball and Matt Moore gained an offensive lineman in David Neill, formerly a DE.
Much like the defense, one of the two 4-star recruits was Ofa Mohetau and he never quite panned out like we thought. Lots of players here that never actually stuck around and by my count, there's 6 players of 15 that didn't work out, not including Steven Harris who may, or may not be back on the team in 2009, but is on the defensive side of the ball now. Oh yeah, a Michael Crabtree was an athlete in this class and the other 4-star recruit.
It seems to me that there's a high-risk and high-reward to previous classes and it's pretty amazing to see how the 2-star player has almost entirely been eliminated. That's progress. It's slow and steady progress, but it's progress nonetheless. Not to mention, the three 4-star players is what truly pushes this class over the top. Nevertheless, Leach has been pretty consistent on the offense.
James Scott, right now, is the only 2-star commit, however, I wouldn't be surprised to see his stock rise a bit so long as he qualifies. There is a ton of talent in this class in the defensive backfield and DT Romario Cathey was recently upgraded to a 3-star, perhaps the toughest position to recruit. No elite players (i.e. 4-star), but some really good players here.
The big players in this class was McKinner Dixon and Brandon Sesay. Dixon is a difference-maker and Sesay seems to be still getting his bearings, on and off the field. Broderick Marshall didn't qualify, Joey Fowler is off the team and Brandon Reid is having grade issues. Cody Davis should see lots of time next year and it would be really nice to see Jarell Routt step-up a bit, although I'm not counting on that in the least. I think it should also be mentioned that Ruffin McNeill was named as defensive coordinator during 2008 and there just might be a correlation with the higher level of recruits.
A very large class and there's a lot of talent here, that's still with the team and contributing in a big way. Agoucha was a casualty and I think that Daniel Howard has been better than a 2-star recruit, he's exceeded my expectations. Where this class will shake out is if and when we get to see Sam Fehoko and Tyrone Sonier hit the field, while Bront Bird is already playing quite a bit. Again, this was a really solid class.
This was a huge class and honestly, I can't remember some of the players that committed, but never made it. However, the two 4-star players, Leonard Hewitt and Daniel Johnson, never made it to Texas Tech and 2-star LB Trevor Reilly is actually a 3-star DE commitment this year as he was on a church mission. The absolute star of this class is DE Brandon Williams who was rated as a 2-star DE, but has turned into a tremendous player.
Much like the offense, there was a reliance on the 2-star recruit in 2006 and 2007, but the tide turned a bit in 2008 and 2009 and I think the quality of player has certainly improved. Keep in mind that the two 4-star recruits that made the numbers look so good in 2006 didn't play a down for Texas Tech while the two 4-star recruits in 2008 factored heavily in an improved defense. It would be nice to have some 4-star recruits in 2009's class, but I'm not complaining and the staff isn't settling for 2-star guys.