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Recruiting on the High Plains :: 2010 Top Five Defensive Commits and Assorted Thoughts

DTN will be taking a close look at Texas Tech's 2010 recruiting class.  A look at the offensive players, defensive players, and other thoughts regarding Tommy Tuberville's first recruiting class at Texas Tech.  I'd also like to thank kayakyakr for help with editing these posts.

Top Five Defensive Commits

1. DE Jackson Richards

I've watched enough film to be convinced that Richards has the potential to be a true difference maker for this team, and it's difference makers that ultimately determine whether a team is going to be a top 25 team or a top 10 team. Richards has excellent speed off of the edge and he also has the frame to add on a few more pounds to be that ideal 3-4 defensive end. The thing that I love about Richards more than anything else was that he was committed to Texas Tech, and not the head coach, and as a fan, that makes me happy. I understand that there's a difference between players and fans, but the fact that he was committed the university seems to me speak volumes about the type of person that Richards may be. Despite what I think Richards might be as a person, that shouldn't deflect from the type of player that I think Richards can become. I'm not sure that Richards is ready to be an immediate contributor this year as it takes a bit more size and strength to play defensive end in the 3-4. If given the choice, I think Richards should redshirt, much like Young and give him an opportunity to fully develop physically, but the team is short on true defensive ends, so he may be needed.

See the rest of the list and more on the defensive recruits after the jump.

2. DE Scott Smith

I haven't had the opportunity to watch much film on Smith (not a member to the pay websites), but I did get to see a few moments of Smith at Butler C.C. and he is impressive. I realize that it was highlight footage, but the 6'6"/275 defensive end has the perfect size to be a 3-4 end, has excellent quickness and I'm hoping that Smith can step right in and make a difference immediately. Smith signed in early December, when Leach was still the coach, and after signing his letter of intent, he had some doubts about Tuberville taking over as well as some personal issues. Smith was supposed to be here in for spring practices, but now he won't be here until June. I'm probably being a bit optimistic about the impact that Smith can have, especially now that he's sitting out the spring, but he has the measurables to make an immediate impact to this team. Take that thought and the fact that there's little depth at defensive end, and the opportunity for Smith to make an immediate impact is certainly available.

3. DB Tre'Vante Porter

Porter is going to be an incredibly versatile player for Tuberville. The problem that Porter will face is that last year's defensive back commitment class (Terrence Bullitt, Daniel Cobb, Will Ford, Yahshua Williams and D.J. Johnson) was incredibly deep and now the staff has two deep classes of defensive backs. Nevertheless, Porter certainly has the ability to make an immediate impact as Porter has perhaps the best combination of size and speed from this year's recruiting class. He's very similar to D.J. Johnson in both size and speed, though he is coming in a bit heavier. If he makes it onto the field this season, look for him to make an impact in the same way DJ did, at nickel back.

4. DE Lawrence Rumph / DT Donald Langley

Langley and Rumph are two big bodied JUCO transfers that played DT in their previous two years. Rumph is probably going to play DE in the 3-4, and really lucked into the defensive switch as he's ideally sized for 3-4 DE (6-4 270) and would be a bit undersized (as he is now) for a 4-3 DT. Langley is heavier at 6-2 290, and will likely spend his two years on campus at DT with Whitlock, Chris Perry, and Miles Wade, or in a DT/DE combo position with Pearlie Graves. Each of these two players has a good shot at contributing this year, Rumph is talented enough to fill in for some of the attrition at the end position and Langley because he has the talent and is already on campus and going through spring workouts.

5. LB Zach Winbush

I have long been a fan of Winbush's. He's a high character linebacker with speed and smarts, perfect for Willis's defense. I'm not sure that he's going to be an instant contributor, but I'd be confident in Winbush lining up behind the line (I'm thinking middle, though for the life of me, I don't know why) for 4 years after a redshirt season.

Quick Hits Categories:

Long-Term Impact: Coby Coleman - DT:  True defensive tackle, lots of athleticism, but needs a redshirt to develop.

Biggest Upside: Lawrence Cayou - DE:  This guy's film is ridiculous. If he can get to campus, he will make an impact.

Best Player You're Not Talking About: Desmond Martin - DB:  Natural safety, flows well

Most Versatile: Dartwan Bush - DE:  Will play the Demarcus Ware position

Diamond in the Rough: Joe Carmical - LB:  Incredibly intelligent and a gamer. If we're lucky, the Wes Welker of the defense

A Steal: Cqulin Hubert - LB:  Provides Good linebacker size and depth (and runs a 4.6 or so)

Best Defensive Back Not Named Porter: Urell Johnson - DB:  Can play either corner or safety, sure to redshirt

Most Speed to Burn: Phillip Warren - CB:  Watch out for Phillip to play in 2010, legitimate 4.4 speed.

New to This Defense Thing: LaVaughn Whigham - WR/DB/LB:  May get a shot at wide receiver, but I'm thinking he's most likely to be spun down to a linebacker.

Early Commit that You May Have Forgotten: Russell Polk - DB:  Decent size and speed to burn at corner. Too many talents in the defensive backfield for our own good.

Longshot: Mike Jones - DT:  Unheralded recruit, needs to develop.