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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe | 2011-01-31


Lots of things could happen between now and National Signing Day (which is Wednesday, February 2, 2011). Here's what I've been able to pick up over this last weekend about some of the players that I think have visited and/or are considering Texas Tech.

DE Branden Jackson (6-4/220) | From everything that I've read, Jackson has Texas Tech, Oregon and Pittsburgh in his final three. Here's a link to a teaser article about Jackson that mentions his top three teams. Remember, that Jackson, Simmons and Green are all Pennsylvania kids and Jackson and Simmons were high school teammates.

DT Delvon Simmons (6-5/265) | Simmons is apparently down to Rutgers, USC, Oregon, Pittsburgh and Texas Tech. He visited USC this weekend and if you haven't guessed as to the connection between Jackson, Simmons and Green, it's DL coach Robert Prunty.

DE Desimon Green (6-5/220) | The only thing that I could find on Green is that he visited Lubbock this weekend and he had Pitt and Texas Tech as his final two choices. At some point Prunty's connections are going to pay off, it would be nice if it was this week.  And yes, even the folks in Pennsylvania are starting to wonder why three of the best uncommitted players all have Texas Tech in their top three or two.

OLB Shaun Ward (6-2/225) | Ward has been a longtime TAMU commit and visited Texas Tech this weekend (As an aside, this article is not complimentary of TAMU's current recruiting efforts.). I've got nothing else on Ward other than he has a long offer list and seems strange for him to take a look at Texas Tech so late in the game.  Also, he apparently only has visited two schools, TAMU and Texas Tech.

ILB Kent Turene (6-3/230) | Apparently Turene has de-committed from USC and will choose between Georgia, Nebraska and Texas Tech. Turene is originally from Florida visited Lubbock this weekend. Keep in mind that Turene and Ward (as well as Roberson) are all from Florida.

DE Chris Baker (6-3/235) | Don't have much here except for the fact that there are only three schools he's actually visited: East Carolina, Southern Miss and Texas Tech (this past weekend). And Baker plays at Hinds Community College, as does another defensive player that has an interest in Texas Tech.

DT Leon Mackey (6-5/260) | I don't know how close Texas Tech is with Mackey, but as mentioned above, but you'd imagine that there's something to the fact that Texas Tech is interested in both of these guys. Mackey visited Lubbock back in November and apparently hasn't taken any recent visits. And although I'm not totally sure about this, I think that Mackey went to prep school at Hargrave Military Academy when Prunty was the head coach there. Mackey ended up at Hinds C.C. after that. There's your "in" and Texas Tech's class could use another defensive tackle.


Thus far, I think that Castleman and Lewis are the only players that have actually decommitted. Hartsfield, despite spending a year at Hargrave, will be at a JUCO next year and apparently Warner is a guy that just wasn't going to qualify at Texas Tech and has "decommitted" from Texas Tech and committed to North Texas. And as I think this through, I don't know when Texas Tech knew that Warner wasn't going to qualify, but for this to happen so late in the process, maybe means that Texas Tech wanted to give Warner every opportunity to get his grades in order and didn't want to let him know that if he can't qualify, then his potential scholarship is going somwhere else. Not knowing anything, that seems like both sides tried to work it out as long as possible and that's a good thing.  Here's the current list and let's hope that this list remains static the rest of the way.

DT Jon Lewis (6-2/260) | TCU
DT James Castleman (6-4/255) | Oklahoma St.
OLB Terrell Hartsfield (6-4/215) | Copiah-Lincoln C.C.
DB Freddie Warner (5-9/170) | North Texas

I'm happy as heck for Texas Tech's three game winning streak.  Last week, head coach Pat Knight said that he doesn't like the fan that's given up on this team.  I've said it before, but I really like Pat Knight as a person.  I think he's a good dude and a good human being who tries to run this program the right way.  That being said, PK has to understand that fan approval is typically contingent on that team being successful.  It may stink, but that's just the way it is and that's the way it is across the board for just about every sport.  There are exceptions, but most of the teams where it's an exception those teams have built up some good-will. 

I haven't written any post game thoughts for the past three games and I'm doing my part not to screw up any mojo, but here's my thoughts as to why Texas Tech has won the past three games:

1.  Offensive Purpose:  The offense has been markedly better over the last three games.  The offense has a purpose and the guys that you thought would be a big part of the success of this team are actually carrying this team offensively:  SF Mike Singletary and PG John Roberson.  It's no mistake that when Singletary scores he's scoring from within 10 feet of the basket. 

2.  Roberts is Healthy:  Watching PF D`walyn Roberts finally healthy and able to do so many things on the floor has been a huge boost.  Seeing him on the floor and run around means that this team has a defender that can guard just about any opposing player, can rebound do the little things that makes this team significantly better.

3.  Better Defense:  Over the past three games, Texas Tech held Oklahoma St. to 33.8% eFG%, Nebraska 45.1% and Iowa St. to 40.6% [in case you're wondering, eFG% is (FGM + (0.5 x 3PM))/FGA].  Not great, but it's a start.  And for the season, Texas Tech was allowing 45.5% eFG%, so two of the three games, the defensive effort was better.

4.  Rebounding:  This one is a bit shaky, but Texas Tech out-rebounded Nebraska and Iowa St., but was killed on the boards by Oklahoma St.  Texas Tech typically doesn't win the rebounding battle, but did so against some lesser teams.  I think Texas Tech has the players that can be competitive rebounding in just about any game.

Up Next:  I'm so scared baby.  Kansas and Texas are up next.  And if you need to catch up on the weekend's results in the Big 12, check out Big 12 Hoops.


LAJ's George Watson is a practice report filing machine.  Here's his Day 2 and Day 3 practice reports.  The most important thing is the pitching and it's good to hear that LHP Robbie Kilcrease is not showing much, if any, ill-effects of his Tommy John surgery that kept him out all of last year.

DT's Jose Rodriguez takes a look at the baseball team and here's something that I didn't realize, there's only one senior on this team, 3B Nick Popescu:

Seniority on the team, however, is scarce—infielder Nick Popescu is the only senior on a roster that consists of eight freshmen, one redshirt freshman, eight sophomores, three redshirt sophomores, 10 juniors and four redshirt juniors.

Outfielder LeJeune said Popescu is the team’s "old man," but also said he’s prepared to step into a leadership role.

But LeJeune said the seeming lack of leadership on the team isn’t a concern due to the amount of work all players, regardless of classification, are putting in.

"Popescu is our leader, don’t even talk about that, man—that’s the senior, he’s our distinguished old man," LeJeune said with a laugh. "We have a lot of leaders on this team, like (Scott) Erzinger. Yet, there are a lot of guys that come out here everyday and do their work. I’m just hoping I can aid in that."

One final note, the official site says that the baseball team will be "honored" at halftime during the men's basketball game with Kansas tomorrow, but maybe a better word is "introduced".  I don't know what they're being honored for, but I think this was the general idea.