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Texas Tech Recruiting and How Eric Gutierrez Almost Wasn’t

How Eric Gutierrez Became a Red Raider

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida vs Texas Tech Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

As fans we get caught up in the hype of recruiting more than anyone. We even listen to people whose job it is to follow high school kids around and evaluate their talent, not for a school or coach, but simply for their sight and to drive fan interest. Some of those so called “experts” will tell you that class rankings and the number of stars and athlete has a direct relation to how a program will perform. Shocking, I know. I hope you didn’t learn about that behind a pay-wall. But for some programs, regardless of sport, the student-athlete is more than just a star rating and the off-handed remarks of a recruiting reporter.

As we’ve seen be true with Texas Tech regardless of sport. In football you have stories about Kliff Kingsbury getting an offer from Spike Dykes right before National Signing Day. Or Wes Welker, who was an 11th hour signee after another recruit backed out. Sure, we all love the 4 and 5 star recruits and they make us feel great about the upcoming season, but here at Texas Tech it’s the unheralded athletes that seem to make the biggest impact. Some, even turn into legends.

Enter Eric Gutierrez. Not many people follow baseball recruiting and even if you do, several of the incoming class may end up playing pro ball and skipping the college route altogether. When Tim Tadlock was entered into the head coaching picture before the 2013 season, he had to scramble to get his signing class straight after the dismissal of Dan Spencer in 2012. One of the players Tadlock had his eye on was a short, right-handed hitting first basemen from Mission, Texas.

Wanting to find out more about Gutierrez he called in a new Graduate Assistant, Logan Brown, a 4-year letterman at Tech, who had played at a rival High School. Come to find out, Gutierrez hadn’t fielding any interest from any major program and was planning on going the JUCO route to get more exposure. Tadlock, at the time, had described Gutierrez as “one of the purest hitters coming out of high school” that he had ever seen. With no other offers on the table, Tadlock offered Gutierrez a scholarship and the rest, as they say, is history.

Some would argue Gutierrez is one of the best baseball players in the history of the baseball program, going so far as to call for his number to be retired. Hard to believe that the heart and soul of the team during its two runs to the College World Series would have been an after thought to most coaches and programs, but once again, Texas Tech finds the talent wherever they are.

So the moral of this wonderful story is that whether it’s Coach Kingsbury, Coach Beard, Coach Tadlock or Coach Stone... trust their instinct on a recruit more than what some supposed expert at a recruiting site says, or doesn’t say, about them. We get all the good ones that nobody wants and all they do is end up breaking records, being feared by the other team and getting drafted to the pros.