Most likely to make an immediate impact: Derrick Willies, WR
This one is pretty straightforward. Willies is a 6’4" 205 pound wide receiver with the speed and hands to constitute the whole package. Combine that with the fact that he already has collegiate level experience since he’s a JUCO transfer, and Texas Tech is looking for a go to outside wide receiver for the offense, it isn’t hard to see why Willies is likely to make an impact the moment he steps on the field. Also, Pat Mahomes says "thank you" to the coaching staff for this pick up (probably).
Most likely to change the culture: Houston Miller, DL
Miller is a defensive end from Keller who might fit well in Pete Robertson’s old position rushing off the edge. That seems to be something Miller is very good at based on his highlight tape. Even better, he has a winning attitude evidenced by some recent radio interviews he’s done, including one with us here at Viva The Matadors. While the Texas Tech defense has struggled from a talent perspective in recent years, it also needs to gain leaders who will change the culture of the program. Miller fits the bill.
Most long term potential: T.J. Vasher, WR
You can’t teach a kid to be 6’5", and Vasher appears to have the most raw talent at the wide receiver position that the Red Raiders have inked in recent years. Right now he looks skinny enough to shower in a gun barrel and he has a lot of competition at the outside receiver spot. But if he can put on a little weight and develop his skills, he could be a force in this offense that we haven’t seen the likes of since Michael Crabtree, the greatest Texas Tech receiver since the game of football began 10 years ago.
Most likely to impact future recruiting: Ivory Jackson, DL and Desmon Smith, DB
This one requires a little bit of explanation. Jackson and Smith are from Amarillo and Odessa, respectively. I like the fact that Texas Tech is locking up these west Texas based talents instead of losing them to other programs as has happened in the past. While the combined populations of Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Abilene, and San Angelo pale in comparison to the Dallas and Houston areas, if Tech can become the go to school for talented kids in west Texas, it gives the Red Raiders a leg up in at least one aspect of recruiting. In other words, even though the talent pool is smaller, if you can lock up the few kids who do come out of the area with Division I talent, it will be a great recruiting tool for us. I also like the fact that these two give the team much needed help on the defensive side of the ball. I hope Texas Tech can form pipelines in west Texas cities moving forward.
Most to prove: Jett Duffey, QB
Any time Texas Tech has a QB designated as the future of the program, the pressure is on. Especially in Tech’s offensive system, which either sinks or swims with QB play. For the first time in the Kingsbury era, we have seen how good the offense can be with some consistent QB play thanks to Pat Mahomes. Duffey is fortunate to watch and learn from Mahomes for two years. This gives him time to put on weight, learn the offense like the back of his hand, and prepare for when he’s running the show in 2018. There is no doubt Duffey has the most to prove over the next four or five years from this recruiting class. But he seems like the type of guy to embrace pressure, not shy away from it, making him an even more intriguing prospect.