Before National Signing Day, which is February 5, 2014, Viva The Matadors takes a look at the current commits consisting of the 2014 recruiting class: The JUCO's, The Offense, The Defense, The Walk-Ons and The Hopefuls.
|Committed or Signed
|S Josh Keys (6-2/180)
WR Devin Lauderdale (5-11/170)
OL Dontae Levingston (6-5/285)
DT Keland McElrath (6-5/290)
DT Marcus Smith (6-3/305)
CB Jamarcus Howard (5-11/180)
DT Rika Levi (6-2/350)
|On the Radar
|DE/DT Brandon Thorpe (6-5/270)
Perhaps the biggest commits/signings is yesterday's commitment of Rika Levi and the signing of Josh Keys, a defensive back, most likely safety, from Gulf Coast C.C. Levi provides immediate and necessary depth at nose guard. If he is even remotely able to play, this will be a pretty significant signing because it is a position of need and I think he's talented enough to not need a year of seasoning. I'm not sure about how much the other defensive linemen will be able to contribute, but Levi should be a big contributor.
As far as Keys, he was not a guy that I was thinking was really on Texas Tech's radar and Keys is highly rated at a position of need. I'm really not sure where Keys will play, but I thought safety with his size. Texas Tech will need to replace 3 of 4 starters in the secondary, including Tre' Porter who is graduating and Tanner Jacobson who is going on a Mormon mission trip, so there's really plenty of opportunity for a guy like Keys to contribute immediately.
Devin Lauderdale should also find a spot, whether it be at punt return or outside receiver, where he has one quality that few players on this team have. World class speed. Eric Ward was as reliable as the day is long, but Lauderdale has a lot of speed and that could cause fits for teams as a change of pace between Bradley Marquez, Reginald Davis, and anyone else lining up wide.
Texas Tech needs bodies at defensive tackles and the signing of Smith and McElrath help fill huge holes that otherwise been extremely thin. Neither of these guys are perfect, but without these two, I'd have serious concerns about having a decent two-deep heading into next year.
And Texas Tech has to replace Rashad Fortenberry at right tackle, who wasn't perfect, but he was okay. That right tackle is open and Dontae Levingston has a body type similar to Fortenberry and is quite athletic for his size. At the very least, Levingston provides some pretty nice depth at either tackle spot, as luckily, Le'Raven Clark didn't need much, if any, breaks at left tackle.
There is one other JUCO guy that hasn't signed, CB Jamarcus Howard. Howard is a bit under the radar, but he adds really good size to a cornerback spot that could probably use some size and experience.