It all started Friday morning with one tweet. One little tweet that read, "Today has the potential to be huge". Everyone jumped all over it, getting excited over what they thought was about to happen. I didn't buy it. I've seen this way too many times with recruits posting inspirational quotes on Twitter and hyping up schools throughout the process. I read it as a regular start-off-the-day tweet. Then, recruiting experts started believing that Jarrett Stidham would indeed commit to Tech that day, followed by several clues from inside sources and tweets from people who knew Stidham well. All pieces were coming together that showed the QB would end his recruitment today and pick Tech. Then I remember something; the Rivals Camp in Dallas was this weekend, and would be a perfect opportunity to announce. That was the final piece of the puzzle for me to believe that he would become a Red Raider that day. Sure enough, about 3 hours later while I was at the baseball game, Stidham publicly commits on Twitter and drives the Red Raider fan base insane, causing the first domino to fall.
So how did this all happen? How did middle-of-the-pack Texas Tech waltz into Stephenville and grab one of the most sought-out QBs in the nation? Well, it all started off in 2012 under Tuberville's staff, and then really took off in 2014 after the dead period ended. As some of y'all may know, Texas Tech was actually the first school to go after the gunslinger, with former coach Neal Brown going after Stidham during the 2012 season. After the coaching change when King came in, they kept on recruiting Stidham, being one of the first to offer him in May of 2013, before he even played a down as a QB in High School. Jarrett Stidham then took visits to several colleges, including Texas Tech. The change in momentum for Texas Tech happened after the dead period ended in January 2014 however, when Kliff Kingsbury himself went to visit the QB on January 22nd, and calling him throughout the week. The QB was honored a head coach would come visit him, and decided to pay him a visit a week before he committed. He was pretty set on his decision after that and committed Friday night. Here is my evaluation of him from December 24th, 2013:
Jarrett Stidham - Quarterback (Stephenville HS, Stephenville TX)
Height: 6'3.5" Weight: 190 lbs 40 time: 4.57 Vertical: 31.1" Power Throw: 32.5
Interest: Baylor (Warm), Texas (Warm), Kentucky (Warm), Texas Tech (Cool)
According to 247, Stidham has 6 teams that are out in front, and Tech is not one. However, it is still very early, and that list will not matter. His only unofficial visits thus far are to Tech and Baylor, but he has a ton of coaching visits from schools like Tennessee, Vandy, Oregon, WSU, Kentucky, Ohio State and Texas (All but the last two had their whole staff visit). Texas Tech was lucky to get an unofficial visit from Stidham, but for hasn't visited him yet. With all the other staffs visiting him, it puzzles me why Tech hasn't done so. Now for a little film analyst on Stidham. There are a lot of positives on his film. From his throwing motion, quick release, to his great reorganization during the option players. With his speed, he also provides another threat to the game. I wish they had more downfield throws on his video, as it seems like there weren't a lot. When there were some, however, he made the right decision and threw on target. He also can throw on the run, which is a good skill, but I would like my QB try to plant him foot more. If I had to compare him to anyone, it would be Jake Locker. Both can be a threat to run the ball if needed, and have a similar arm motion. Not to mention their height is similar (Stidham needs a few pounds to get to Locker). Unfortunately for Texas Tech, Stidham is listed as a Sonnie Cumbie recruit for 247 and Rivals, who is now with TCU, who is also after him. I believe this hurts are chances, and we have a less likely chance to get him. Stidham visiting Lubbock did let him meet to coaching staff, which may save him from forgetting the Red Raiders.
Jarrett eventually choose Tech for numerous reasons. For starters, he developed a close relationship with the young, energetic coaching staff in Lubbock. While most schools sent assistants to go talk to him after the dead period was over, Kliff Kingsbury himself went to Stephenville to personally pay the QB a visit. Although he was busy at the time and wasn't about to talk to the head coach, he was honored he came to talk to him. Stidham talked with the coaches throughout the process to create a strong relationship. Another reason is that both Stephenville and Texas Tech run a similar offense. That offense that his high school runs was developed under Art Briles and Chad Morris, two well respected coaches in the college ranks. When Jarrett visited Tech, he looked at film with the coaches and liked what kind of system they ran and thought he could succeed well in it. Finally, Stidham liked the town of Lubbock. Stephenville has a population of around 20,000, while Lubbock is around 220,000 people. The atmosphere is fun and much bigger than that of Stephenville, which gives Stidham a new experience to enjoy. Plus it doesn't help that he wants to be an engineer.
With the commit, the dominoes for Texas Tech's recruiting class should start falling soon and moving one step closer to having a Top 25 class this season. At this weekend's Rivals camp, he said that he would try and recruit players like Ryan Newsome, Tyron Johnson and Kirk Merritt. Not only that, but chances are other top recruits are looking at the commitment and are starting to look at Texas Tech more now. Lio Lafaele committed to Tech on Sunday, due to the recruitment of "Big Money" and Lee Hayes, but also because he wanted to protect a big time QB. James Proche has talked to Stidham about Tech since the commit and is gaining interest in them. Kris Boyd recently named what looks to be his top 4, and sure enough Tech was up there along with the likes of Texas, A&M and Oklahoma. Chris Clark recently stated he couldn't wait to play with Stidham in the All-American game, and according to Landon Wright, the QB himself has reached out to Clark about the opportunity to play in Lubbock. Jaelan Austin named Texas Tech his leader after catching passes from the QB. Even if something happens where Jarrett never ends up taking the field, his commitment is already huge just by the fact he's helping get top ranked talent into Lubbock.
Here are some recruits that could be influenced by the decision of the QB or other influences surrounding Texas Tech. Ryan Newsome, a 4-star ATH, is good friends with Stidham, and about 4 months ago mentioned that they would be a combo deal (although it may not be true anymore). Newsome will be visiting Lubbock for the first time this weekend with Jarrett Stidham going with him. Conner Dyer, a 4-star OT, has been interested in the Red Raiders, and the chance to be blocking for a top QB could help influence him to pick Texas Tech over the likes of A&M, Stanford and others. Malik Jefferson, a 5-star LB, recently was at Rivals camp, and took a picture where it looked like he might've thrown up the guns. His teammate, DeAndre McNeal, has heavy interest in the Red Raiders and could help persuade Jefferson on board if he commits. Breiden Fehoko has had two brothers now that go here and other people he knows. Plus, his family has a strong relationship with Mike Smith and supports Texas Tech. It shouldn't be long before some of the dominoes start to fall in this class.
If you look at another instances where a team picked up their first big recruit with a QB, some of them do well recruiting afterwards, while others just bomb. A perfect example of a team that picked up a high ranked quarterback and preformed well shortly after is Stanford. They were recruiting in the 60's before they picked up Andrew Luck, then all of a sudden they jumped up to the 20's. Baylor is another example, while they didn't jump from 60 to 20, they improved from the mid 50's to 30's in a couple years after RGIII committed there. Now some instances just don't pan out, like BYU could never seem to grab a hold of a good recruiting class following a Top QB. NCST had one good year after, but quickly dropped the year after. However, I think Tech will succeed in this instant, because if you look at the coaches with the biggest changes (Stanford and Baylor), both hired new, bright head coaches and were in areas with a lot of football talent. Kingsbury has the opportunity to do the same with Texas Tech, being one of the most sought after Assistants and recruiting in Texas, which is one of the, if not the, state with the best recruits.
|2 yrs prior||1 yr prior||Recruit||1 yr after||2 yrs after|
|Jake Locker - Washington||42||67||35||36||24|
|Isiah Williams - Illonis||70||51||30||20||23|
|Mike Paulus - North Carolina||44||44||30||17||32|
|Andrew Luck - Stanford||54||51||50||20||26|
|Robert Griffin III - Baylor||68||64||51||55||39|
But what lies at the end of the trail? Once all of the dominoes have fallen, what does that lead us with? Hopefully it leads us to more wins, more recruits and championships for this program. It's not just going to be handed to us though. The coaches have to keep on working on relationships, getting recruits to Lubbock and coaching them up right, Stidham and others have to work hard all day everyday to live up to the potential, and the team can't fall back, they've got to keep on pushing forward to improve their record and have statement victories. This is only the beginning of something special.