Brad Hastings was one of the most highly recruited football players ever landed by Texas Tech. By signing when he did — after the program had suffered four straight losing seasons — Hastings gave Red Raiders fans hope for brighter days. Hastings, a three-time all-Southwest Conference linebacker who ended his career as Tech’s all-time leader in tackles, died early Monday at his mother’s home in Arlington, according to his father. Fred Hastings, who said his son had high blood pressure and breathing problems, said an autopsy was being performed later Monday. "He was absolutely one of the most outstanding football players I ever was around,’’ former Tech coach Spike Dykes said. "He was a great leader, and he was a great player. I think had he not got his knee hurt before his senior year, no telling how long he would have played in the NFL.’’ Hastings was 44 years old. No. 44 also was the jersey number he wore from 1983-86, when he racked up 480 tackles, a total that still ranks second all-time at Tech. He had the record for 15 years until another middle linebacker, Lawrence Flugence, broke it.Former Tech linebacker star dead at 44 : Red Raiders. Condolences to the Hastings family from the DTN family.