What a week it has been in recruiting. Over a span of eight days, Texas Tech was able to grab two football commit and three basketball commits. Stidham got started on what we hope to be a good recruiting class, while Tubby was able to grab some much needed positions. While it's unlikely that Tech will pick up any recruits anytime soon, don't expect the ball to stop rolling. Big time recruits are constantly visiting and talking up Lubbock, while the coaches are always on the road trying to recruit guys. The effort displayed by these coaches is truly amazing and has got many people believing talent and success is on the way. While Kingsbury can't visit with recruits until late April, many recruits themselves are coming to Lubbock to see what the hype is all about. Many recruits are talking about how they "loved" the atmosphere and how Tech will be in the running until the end. Tubby Smith is allowed to visit recruits right now, flying all over the nation. I'll explain what he's been doing later on. Right now let's take a look at some recruits that visited over the weekend, including OT Madison Akamnonu, DB Keivon Ramsey and ATH Billy Ray McCrary III.
Madison Akamnonu - Offensive Tackle (Bowie HS, Arlington, TX)
Height: 6'5" Weight: 250 lbs
Ratings: 86 by 247 / NR by ESPN / 5.4 by Rivals
Interest: Texas Tech (Warm), Kansas State (Warm), North Texas (Warm), Colorado State (Warm)
Madison Akamnonu just recently appeared on Texas Tech's radar as of late. Before he visited and was offered by Tech, he was offered by Texas State, North Texas, Colorado State and Kansas State. Two of Madison's teammates, Niko Small and Greg Peace, have already visited Tech and enjoyed the atmosphere, so maybe they convinced Madison to head out to Lubbock. He eventually visited Lubbock last Wednesday while he was on Spring Break, and grabbed an offer from Lee Hayes on the way home from Texas Tech. Tech is looking to grab a few more offensive linemen for this class, and Akamnonu could end up being one of them. Let's take a look at what Madison can do on the field. The thing I like the most about Madison is the fact he keeps his man in front of him. He keep the opposition from going around of breaking off his block, keeping them out of the play. He strength looks to be pass blocking, but Madison can also do run passing, with the ability to drive linemen away from the play entirely. He doesn't have a whole lot of pancakes, but he's able to keep to linemen he's guarding a non-factor, even blocking two players at once on one play. I do think that Madison should gain some weight before the goes to play D-1 football, as he doesn't have a lot of weight on him and even though he's tall, he's not that wide. Tech has no looked at three players from Arlington Bowie, something to keep an eye on in the future.
Keivon Ramsey - Defensive Back (Judson HS, Converse, TX)
Height: 6'1" Weight: 170 lbs 40 time: 4.44
Ratings: 91 by 247/ NR by ESPN / 5.6 by Rivals
Interest: Baylor (Warm), Oklahoma (Warm), TCU (Warm), Texas Tech (Warm)
Keivon Ramsey visited Texas Tech this past weekend as reported by Rivals and 247sports. Keivon has already visited other colleges, including the junior day for Oklahoma and Texas, along with an unofficial to Texas. UT has yet to offer Ramsey, and if they do, Ramsey could lean towards playing in Brunt Orange. I think it's odd that Keivon only has in-state and Oklahoma offers with his talent level, but it may be that either out of state schools don't know much about him or he wants to play close to home. According to 247, Oklahoma and Baylor look to be in the lead for Ramsey right now, but hopefully Texas Tech and pop up in the conversation and try to grab him. Let's take a look at Keivon Ramsey's film. I see a lot of upside with Keivon. First off, with his size and strength, he is able to stop the run when the ball carrier gets into the second level. With Tech struggling with the run the past few years, it's key that Tech can get some good secondary guys that can stop the run (which Tech did in 2013). Another key aspect is that he mirrors receivers well. With his size and speed, Kevion is able to pick up receivers and able to swat the pass from the catcher. Finally, Keivon can locate the ball quickly. He is able to time swats and is aware of where the ball is, weather it's in the air or rolling on the ground. Keivon Ramsey has a lot of positive skill, and hopefully Tech continues to pursue him.
Billy Ray McCrary III - Athlete / Runningback (Rouse HS, Leander, TX)
Height: 5'11" Weight: 190lbs 40 time: ??? Bench: 325lbs Squat:450 lbs Vertical: 40"
Ratings: 84 by 247 / 3-star by ESPN / 5.5 by Rivals
Interest: SMU (Warm), Texas State (Warm), Texas A&M*(Cool), Texas Tech *(Cool)
First off, Billy Ray McCrary III has an awesome name. Let's just appreciate it for a second. Billy Ray is a QB out of Leander, TX, and his high school is in the 4A division. Billy Ray is getting a lot of attention from several smaller in-state football programs, including SMU, Texas State and UTSA. However, some of the bigger programs (like us) are keeping a close eye on Billy Ray. He visited Texas Tech last Wednesday, and his dad uploaded some photos from their visit, where it looked like Billy Ray enjoyed himself. The 40 time listed above has question marks because all three sites have something different, with 247 having 4.38, Rivals having 4.4 and ESPN showing 4.6. I'm not sure which one it is, but there is no doubt he is fast and has some athletic ability. Now on to Billy Ray McCrary's film. This kid played QB in college, and he plays a lot like Tim Tebow. His throwing motion isn't the best, but he has several designed runs where he follows his blockers and then uses his speed and strength to get a ways down the field. Defenders have trouble catching him, and when they do, it takes some effort to bring down the heavy hitter. Billy Ray reminds me a lot of another Texas Tech target in Tony Nicholson, who also plays QB in high school, but will likely play another position in college. The difference between the McCrary and Nicholson is that Nicholson plays better competition and faster, but not as strong, as McCrary. Not sure if McCrary will play RB or a slot position at the next level, or how much interest Texas Tech has. Interesting to see what will happen here.
Here are some more updates:
- DeVaugntah Williams, 85 rated JUCO SG, committed to Texas Tech last Monday. He quickly announced he would make his decision after the Texas Tech game, but everyone knew he would pick the Red Raiders. He has the ability to create his own shot, which is a skill we lack without Crockett playing.
- Justin Jamison, 84 rated JUCO C, committed to Texas Tech via Instagram on Tuesday. The decision was down to Pittsburgh and Texas Tech after both visits, and he ultimately choose Tech to be coached by Tubby Smith. Pittsburgh was close to home, but he felt more comfortable choosing the Red Raiders. He is teammates with DeVaugntah Williams.
- Norense Odiase, 84 rated PF, also committed to Texas Tech, who choose the Red Raiders on Friday via Instagram. He choose Texas Tech over Georgia due to the fact he could be coached by Tubby Smith, to be with his brother and be closer to home. He reminds me a lot of a mobile Cameron Ridley.
- Abdoulaye Gueye, 83 rated PF, was scheduled to have a visit this weekend, however with the Odiase commit, Tech doesn't have any more room for scholarships. Not sure if Gueye will still visit, but with the 6 commits this class and 7 guys that will be under scholarships next year, that gives us the maximum of 13 scholarships.
- Ryan Newsome, 91 rated ATH, visited Texas Tech this pas weekend with current commit Jarrett Stidham. The two are really close friends and at one point expressed wanting to play college ball together. Newsome did his research on Tech and like the system they run. He says Tech is high on his list right now. Here is some good info on Ryan from WreckEm247.
- Conner Dyer, 91 rated OT, visited Texas Tech again this week for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. Conner has been constatnly visiting college, and he says that Tech and A&M are right now high on his list.
- Tyron Johnson, 97 rated WR, recently had a interview with Rivals (behind a paywall), where apparently he expressed his interest in Texas Tech as of late. Other schools that look to be standing out to him are LSU and A&M. Keep an eye on Johnson.
- Ronald Jones II, 93 rated RB, also has had an recent interview with Rivals (behind paywall) where he apparently says he's seriously considering Texas Tech. Tech was one of the first to offer Jones, but he has visited many other schools as of late. Good to see Tech is still in the running.
- Breiden Fehoko, 97 rated DT, recently talked to WreckEm247, and mentioned that there's a lot to talk about Tech. He expressed that he wants to get in contact with Stidham to talk about Tech, and he's noticing the Polynesian pipeline to Texas Tech. He visit Tech during the Spring game and name a Top 5 in August.
- Darrion Green, NR RB, will attend a Texas Tech camp this summer. i couldn't find a profile on him.
- Jalean Austin, 88 rated WR, has named Texas Tech his favorite right what. Catching passes from Jarrett Stidham made him put the Red Raiders at the top of his list.
- Chris Clark, 93 rated TE, named Tech in his Top 10, but then later committed to North Carolina. While it's still early and Tech could change his mind, I doubt it will happen. UNC also had a top TE in their program last year in Eric Ebron.
- James Proche, 87 rated WR, visited Texas Tech last weekend. He expressed wanting to play with Stidham and his interest in Texas Tech has increased after the Stidham commitment.
- Caleb Potter, a JUCO LB, says that he will visit Texas Tech during their Spring game. There is not a lot of info on Potter, but he was a 5'11" DE for Arlington Bowie in 2013.
- Jarrett Stidham, 96 rated QB Commit, will visit Texas Tech again during the Spring Game. He enjoys visiting Tech, and will likely talk up Tech during the weekend. We shouldn't worry about Stidham decommitting.
- As some of you may know, Texas Tech's spring break is a week later than everyone else. While students like me are upset we can't hang with our other college friends, this actually helps on the recruiting trail. While other college are off and spring practices are on delay, Texas Tech's is still going on. Kids who are off from school can visit Tech because they're still practicing, which is an advantage to us.
- Collin Wilder, NR 2016 S, visited Texas Tech over the weekend. Texas Tech started recruiting Wilder early on, and recently Wilder said that Texas Tech will be in the running until the end. He also visited with teammate Jovanni Stewart, a 2016 CB.
- Jack Anderson, NR 2017 C, also visited there over the weekend. He called Texas Tech his "dream school" and hopes Texas Tech will eventually offer.
- Clyde Leflore, NR 2016 WR, was offerred by Texas Tech this past week. He is from Warren Easton HS, where Tech targets Tyron Johnson, Arthur McGinnis and A&M commit Deshawn Capers-Smith play. Texas A&M is his other offer.
- On an interesting note, Tech had Ice cream after practice. Recruits liked that
Well here we go again, looks like we have enough info for another edition of The Esposito Express. I saw a very interesting tweet from the man himself this past Friday, and although this likely has nothing to do with this, it's still interesting:
Let's get the Express up and running! Time to get a jump on the future. Wheels up! #buildingamonster— Joe Esposito (@Coach_JEsposito) March 16, 2014
Very interesting. Anyway, with the season over with and not much to do, Esposito and Tubby were able to hit the recruiting trail and look at some recruits that could wear Red and Black in the future. Let's begin:
March 14th, 2014: Tubby Smith was spotted in Wisconsin for the State Championships to look at Henry Ellenson, a 94 rated PF. Right now it looks like Wisconsin is in the lead for him, but Texas Tech isn't giving in.
March 15th, 2014: Tubby Smith was spotted in another State Championship game on Friday, this time in Minnesota looking a 90 rated PG Jarvis Johnson. Minnesota looks to be ahead of the race right now, but Tech is trailing right behind them.
March 16th, 2014: Joe Esposito leaves Lubbock in the wee hours of the morning to start recruiting, With schools in Texas getting back from their Spring Break this week, it was a good time to hit the recruiting trail again.
March 16th, 2014: Joe Esposito enters Arlington in the DFW Metroplex, where a lot of good talent is. However, it doesn't look like he visited anyone, as he was only there for about two hours.
March 16th, 2014: Esposito landed in Wichita and spent the day there. Not sure he he was recruiting that day or just waiting to start it tomorrow, but if he did recruit anyone, it might've been Cameron Ellis, a SF with little interest thus far.
March 17th, 2014: Esposito is tweeted out #buildingamonster, which likely meant that yesterday he officially started recruiting. He tweeted that out in Hutchinson, where him and Tubby went to watch the NJCAA championships (Junior College Championships). There are many great players here, too many to name. Either way, Tubby is getting his JUCO recruiting down. Some players he might've looked at yesterday were:
- Chris Boucher (New Mexico JC) - From the same college as Robert Turner and heavily recruited Jeff Newberry, also close to Tech, so they have some advantage there. Boucher is post player from Canada.
- Igor Ibaka (NE Oklahoma A&M) - Yes this is Serge Ibaka's brother. If he's as good as his brother, I'll take him.Being recruited by Mountain West and Southland teams right now.
- Emmanuel Omogbo (South Plains) - Right down the road from Tech, a lengthy power forward from Maryland.
- Justin Pride (Columbia State) - Although not close to Texas Tech, Esposito has been recruiting in Tennessee before. Perhaps he visited this JUCO guard while there.
- Akolda Manyang (Indian Hills) - I know for a fact they are looking at this kid. He's a 7'0" Center that is currently rated 94 on 247. Probably the main attraction for this championship.
- Dondre Alexander (State Fair) - Was a 89 rated PG out of high school who committed to Iowa, but was kicked off his basketball team due to disciplinary issues. He wants to play D-1 again, may not be a bad replacement for Robert Turner.
It looks like Esposito is just getting started on the recruiting trail, so likely we won't see any more updates on who he is recruiting until next week. With only 2 scholarships available for next year (Tolbert and Turner leaving), it looks like Tubby and Co are trying to gather up some big name recruits for 2015. I like this approach, seeing that we have some good names on our radars, and we only need one or two to commit for this to be a good recruiting class.