According to the Scout.com rankings, and other sites, Tech landed six of the Top 100 junior college players for 2017, and we also landed a National Top 50 High School player in Jack Anderson. That’s seven players who should be expected to start or contribute heavily for the upcoming season. For those of you that don’t keep up with the recruiting rankings, that’s a lot of highly rated, experienced talent.
The adage coaches tend to abide to is that you go to the junior college ranks when you want to pick up a developed talent who isn’t fresh out of high school. Typically, that means two productive years in a weight room, competition against talent greater than high school, and additional game film to evaluate a prospect on. There are always exceptions, but JUCO players tend to have an instant impact on a football team. Even the great powers of Alabama, Auburn, Texas, and Clemson have tracked down elite talent from Junior Colleges.
“But Texas Tech never finds good junior college talent...”
Wrong - there’s a world of difference between some of the risks we took in the 2014 class *cough* Rika Levi *cough* and taking a talent like Tony Jones who had been evaluated for over 12 months prior to signing with the Red Raiders. While the staff likely will not hit on all of this highly rated talent, the data says they’ll find four or five starters from this bunch.
Given the woes of the Tech defense that have been discussed ad nauseam, it’s of note to mention the majority of these incoming junior college players play defense. While the stats, accolades, and dreams of their potential are fun to discuss - the question we all have is what’s a realistic expectation. After doing some research, my answer is - big results.
We have to go back to the 2004 recruiting class to identify a potential linear comparison for a crop of JUCO players. Sylvester Brinkley, Dwayne Slay, Deke Bake, and Robert Johnson all came in with varies degrees of hype. All four blossomed and led the Red Raiders to a Cotton Bowl birth in 2005. There were misses in that 2004 class too, i.e. Charles Glover, so they weren’t perfect. But the consensus is most of these highly rated junior college players wound up being major contributors to one of the better teams in school history.
I can’t look into the future and tell you which of these touted seven will be leaders for the program. What I can tell you is that history suggests that we’ve landed four or five starters though. These players have the potential to right the ship for a program that’s maybe lost it’s way a bit recently.
Thankfully, we’re only 114 days from finding out.