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Texas Tech Football National Signing Day Preview and Open Thread

National Signing Day is here and this is your Texas Tech National Signing Day preview and open thread for the day.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day is upon us and this is your open thread for the day. The faxes should be flying in today and this is where you' all are the most important. Comment and let us know when a player is officially signed.  MikeTTU and I will have analysis later this afternoon.

Official Site

The official site will have a full morning, starting at 8:00 a.m. with a live stream on TexasTech.TV and ending at 11:00 a.m. with Fox Sports Southwest picking things up at 11:00 a.m. and running through 11:30 a.m. (via TexasTech).  I also believe there will be a press conference at 2:00 p.m., but you must be a subscriber of TexasTech.TV to view it live.  You should also be following these official Twitter accounts:


Through many years of trials and tribulation (i.e., lots of goofing off) I have carefully curated (i.e., just clicked "follow" and added to a list called "texas tech") the following Twitter lists:

The good thing about these lists is that they include all sorts of coaches, media members and Texas Tech related people.  I should also mention that  you don't have to be afraid of Twitter. Twitter is a magic thing and you can just click on those links and you'll actually read about Texas Tech things (and some Spurs things thanks to SARR and LSRR and Rockets things thanks to DanSwany). And you don't have to have an account to read the tweets. You might read what SARR, DanSwany, LSRR and RndRck are having for lunch, but you'll have to click to find out.

And you need to follow our recruiting expert, MikeTTU (@Michael_LaB).  I have a feeling he might be "sick" and unable to attend class today.

Viva The Matadors

You can follow the writers on Viva The Matadors on Twitter: @vivathematador, @SethC_J, @SARR_SBN, @DanSwany, @LoneStarRedRaider, @Michael_LaB, @kevinkinsler and @De_Ge_S. Make sure you check out Viva The Matador's FanPosts. Visit the Viva The Matadors store via Game Day Depot.

Current Rankings

Texas Tech is currently ranked with three of the following services:

24/7 Sports has Texas Tech at #39, which is 5th in the Big 12 and an average rating of 84.12.
Scout has Texas Tech at #33, which is 5th in the Big 12 and an average rating of 3.00.
Rivals has Texas Tech at #41, which is 5th in the Big 12 and an average rating of 2.85.

These rankings will change, and they’ve probably changed since I’ve started writing this, but that’s okay. Texas Tech is pretty squarely 5th in the conference in this class.

On the Radar

This is a list of the players who might be a surprise commit, but it seems as if there really won’t be any real surprise commits this year. It’s possible, but it doesn’t seem likely that there will be many, if any surprises.

LB Vincent Jackson (6-2/235)
WR Michael Coley (6-2/185)
OL Deionte Noel (6-3/300)
DL LaDarrius Kidd (6-3/275)

Just in case you're following along, there are some of the recruiting sites that have Kidd as a commit and some note that he's flipped his commitment to Louisiana-Lafayette (via Scout).  I don't know, so I'll leave him on both.  Noel was supposedly offered a greyshirt and has looked around to other in-state schools, including Houston and Rice.

News! News! News!

It really wouldn't be a morning if we didn't have any links to consider, so here we go.

Starts to Return? I won't link to the twitter page, but former Red Raider Michael Starts says he's returning to Texas Tech.  I'm going to see where this goes and not declare anything done just yet, but that's good news.  Now, Starts just needs to get his head right with ball so that he can contribute. As an aside, Don Williams tweeted that he would be shocked if Starts made the team and I don't think this is Williams being snarky, but rather this is a situation where Starts has a long ways to go from a maturity standpoint.  If things go as planned today, the competition just got tougher for Starts.

Sayles on the Big 12: As some of you know, I'm a big fan of ESPN recruiting expert Damon Sayles and he spoke about every Big 12 school and he had some good things to day about some of the Texas Tech commits (via DMN).

The Recruiting Industry Bubble: This is just fantastic as there's a terrific discussion about whether or not the college football recruiting media has hit a bubble with fans (via  The question that they ask is whether or not fans have reached a point where we're over-saturated with information. They talk to the recruiting experts from the services and it is interesting to see how ESPN is trying to be different than the team affiliated sites of Rivals and 24/7 Sports.  One other thing is that there are only 200,000 subscribers for Rivals, which seems really low. I have no idea how many team affiliated sites that they have, but that just doesn't seem like a lot.  And this leads the group of subscription sites.  As an aside, VTM has over 4,000 members. It's also interesting to see how Rivals is very much trying to catch up as they are still working off of 10 year old technology and will update their sites at the end of 2014. That's one clear and distinct advantage the SB Nation sites have over any other site as they clearly put technology first.

Why Recruiting Sites Get It Right: This is a yearly ritual and I love it. Matt Hinton does his yearly post on how the recruiting services get it right (via CBSSports).  If you ever wanted to know why stars and ratings matter, this is the article for you. There are even charts and graphs to make it easy to understand.  The idea is that a player has a greater chance at being an All-American as a 5-star player than any other player.  Hinton shows his work.  The math is there.  Taken as a whole, recruiting services get it right more than not.  And if you end up using an example of a player that was a 2-star player and he was drafted 1st overall.  Well sure, the recruiting services aren't batting 1.000, but Hinton's comparison of a lifetime smoker living to 90 and a healthy person dying at 50 is apt.  There are always exceptions to the rule, but you have to look at all of the data, not just a small sample.

New SI Feature? So I thought this was interesting. It's essentially a notebook of college football things put out by SI, namely Thayer Evans and Pete Thammel (via SI).  There's a pretty good bit about Lincoln Riley.

Red Raiders Set: The LAJ gets into Texas Tech and National Signing Day (via LAJ).

Breaking Down the Class

There are 27 total commits right now. Of the 27 total commits, 12 are on offense and 15 on defense.
There are 9 JUCO players and 18 high school commits. Of those 9 JUCO players, 6 are on defense and 3 are on offense.
Currently, there are 12 offensive commits.
Of those 12 offensive commits, there are 5 receivers, Ian Sadler, Cameron Batson, Jakari Dillard, Byron Daniels and Devin Lauderdale. Of these 5 receiver commits, 1 is from a JUCO, Lauderdale, and the other 4 are coming from high school.
There are 2 running backs, Justin Stockton and Demarcus Felton.
There are 4 offensive line commits, 2 from high school, Justin Murphy and Robert Castaneda, and 2 from the JUCO level, Dominique Robertson and Shaquille Davis.
There are 15 defensive commits, 5 defensive line commits, 1 linebacker commit and 9 defensive back commits.
The 5 defensive line commits, 4 are from the JUCO level, Keland McElrath, Marcus Smith, Rika Levi, and Brandon Thorpe (this of course assumes that Kidd is still committed).
There is just 1 linebacker commit, from high school, Dakota Allen.
Of the 9 defensive back commits, 2 are from the JUCO level, Josh Keys and Jamarcus Howard. The other 7 are high school players, Tevin Madison, Derrick Dixon, Joseph Clark, Jah’Shawn Johnson, Connor Wilson, Payton Hendrix and Nigel Bethel.
One player, Joseph Clark, has been asked and accepted a greyshirt, which means he won’t enroll until January of next year.

Top Five

The top five commits for the following services are as follows:

24/7 Sports:

  1. S Josh Keys (89)
  2. S Payton Hendrix (88)
  3. CB Nigel Bethel II (88)
  4. QB Patrick Mahomes (87)
  5. WR Devin Lauderdale (87)


  1. CB Nigel Bethel II (82)
  2. WR Ian Sadler (81)
  3. WR Byron Daniels (80)
  4. RB Justin Stockson (80)
  5. S Payton Hendrix, WR Jakari Dillard and LB Dakota Allen (79)


  1. S Payton Hendrix (4*)
  2. QB Patrick Mahomes (4*)
  3. RB Justin Stockton (4*)
  4. WR Ian Sadler (4*)
  5. LB Dakota Allen (3*)


  1. CB Nigel Bethel II (5.8)
  2. S Josh Keys (5.7)
  3. S Derrick Dixon (5.7)
  4. RB Justin Stockson (5.7)
  5. QB Patrick Mahomes (5.7)

Since there were few JUCO players listed, I thought I would do separate lists for the JUCO guys, so they don't feel left out and because I really like them. It seems like there is a ton of variation on the rankings of these guys. With the Scout rankings, I just filtered by rating, so I hope it's right.


  1. OL Dominique Robertson
  2. WR Devin Lauderdale
  3. CB Jamarcus Howard
  4. DT Keland McElrath
  5. DT Rika Levi


  1. S Josh Keys
  2. DT Keland McElrath
  3. OL Dominique Robertson
  4. DE Brandon Thorpe
  5. WR Devin Lauderdale


  1. WR Devin Lauderdale
  2. OL Dominique Robertson
  3. DT Rika Levi
  4. DT Keland McElrath
  5. S Josh Keys

24/7 Sports:

  1. DT Rika Levi
  2. S Josh Keys
  3. WR Devin Lauderdale
  4. OL Dominique Robertson
  5. DE Brandon Thorpe

Preferred Walk-Ons

Hat-tip to MikeTTU for helping me come up with this list:

CB Darius Jones (5-11/170) Gulf Coast C.C. (Gulf Coast, MS)
OT Hayden Vinson (6-6/290) Cisco J.C. (Cisco, TX)
QB Tanner Tausch (6-2/190) Kilgore J.C. (Kligore, TX)
QB Mike Richardson (6-1/195) Marble Falls (Marble Falls, TX)
K Clayton Hatfield 5-10/155) Champion (Boerne, TX)
QB Mason McClendon (5-11/180) Midland Christian (Midland, TX)
LB Grant Bouma (6-3/220) Bakersfield Christian (Bakersfield, CA)
RB/LB Mason Reed (6-2/205) Cisco (Cisco, TX)

2014 Commits

This is a table of all of the current commits:

Player Position Ht/Wt School VTM Profile
Patrick Mahomes QB 6-3/198 Whitehouse (Whitehouse, TX) April 24, 2013
Justin Stockton RB 5-9/175 Steele (Cibolo, TX) January 21, 2013
Demarcus Felton RB 5-7/179 Dekaney (Spring, TX) April 18, 2013
Jakari Dillard WR 6-4/185 Princeton (Princeton, TX) August 13, 2012
Cameron Batson IR 5-9/165 Milwood (Oklahoma City, OK) April 23, 2013
Ian Sadler WR 5-11/192 Argyle (Argyle, TX) April 25, 2013
Byron Daniels WR 6-0/170 Madison (San Antonio, TX) May 8, 2013
Devin Lauderdale WR 5-11/170 Navarro College (Corsicana, TX) December 28, 2013
Justin Murphy OL 6-8/275 Belton (Belton, TX) June 10, 2013
Robert Castaneda OL 6-5/315 Round Rock (Round Rock, TX) June 10, 2013
Dominique Robertson OL 6-5/300 Riverside C.C. (Riverside, CA) January 27, 2014
Shaquille Davis OL 6-4/320 Mt. San Antonio C.C. (Walnut, CA) February 3, 2014
Keland McElrath DT 6-5/290 Coahoma C.C. (Clarksdale, MS) September 25, 2013
Marcus Smith DT 6-3/305 Highland C.C. (Highland, KS) December 15, 2013
Rika Levi DT 6-2/350 College of San Mateo (San Mateo, CA) January 16, 2014
Brandon Thorpe DT/DE 6-5/275 Highland C.C. (Highland, KS) January 19, 2014
LaDarrius Kidd DT 6-3/275 Harrison Central (Gulfport, MS) January 23, 2014
Dakota Allen LB 6-2/225 Summer Creek (Humble, TX) August 17, 2013
Tevin Madison CB 5-10/160 Fayette County (Fayette, AL) April 26, 2013
Derrick Dixon S 5-9/187 Skyline (Dallas, TX) June 19, 2013
Joseph Clark DB 5-9/180 Chapel Hill (Tyler, TX) July 28, 2013
Jah’Shawn Johnson DB 5-10/172 Ennis (Ennis, TX) August 13, 2013
Connor Wilson S 6-2/205 Argyle (Argyle, TX) September 18, 2013
Jamarcus Howard CB 5-11/190 Coffeyville C.C. (Coffeyville, KS) November 4, 2013
Josh Keys DB 6-2/190 Miss. Gulf Coast C.C. (Perkinston, MS) December 15, 2013
Payton Hendrix S 6-3/190 Bishop Dunne (Dallas, TX) December 27, 2013
Nigel Bethel CB 5-9/170 Booker T. Washington (Miami, FL) January 9, 2014