As fun as recruit rankings, commitment videos and signing day is, we often forget that none of it truly matters until these players produce on Saturdays. With Kingsbury heading into his fifth season, we take a look back to his first recruiting class.
This class was a very important one because these players were mostly recruited by Tuberville but stayed on after the Kingsbury hire. The class was ranked 7th in the Big 12 only ahead of Kansas, Iowa State, and K-State, which was not surprising given the coaching carousel.
The pride of this class was Davis Webb, the 6’4” Pro Style QB out of Prosper, TX. Webb went on to play in 23 games and put up over 3500 yards & 46 TDs during his Tech career. Webb managed to win the starting job over Baker Mayfield in his true freshman year before losing it to Patrick Mahomes the next year after injury. Webb was a highly inconsistent QB while with the Red Raiders and eventually transferred to Cal. He ultimately became one of the highest drafted QBs in Tech history going to the New York Giants in the third round.
Two other names that stick out from this class is Devin Lauderdale and Baker Mayfield. Lauderdale burst onto the scene at the end of his sophomore season with over 80 receiving yards in four of his last five games of that season and then continued it with a big 150 yard, two TD game to begin his junior season. Unfortunately “Laudy” saw his production drop as the season went on and then had a very disappointing final season. Mayfield had the same scenario happen to him but all in one season. Mayfield started the season throwing for over 750 yards and 7 TDs in two games, however, after that, he only threw for over 300 yards two more times in the season which is unacceptable in an air raid offense. Mayfield eventually was benched in favor of Webb, and decided to then transfer out of the program.
The highest rated player in this recruiting class, Andre Ross from Navarro College, winded up not living up to his potential, only playing in eight games in three seasons and producing 20 total tackles from the linebacker position. Joshua Outlaw, Cody Hayes, Dee Paul, and Carlos Thompson all wound up not adding any value to the Red Raiders and transferred out.
This class was not short on scrutinized players who made impact. Justis Nelson, Malik Jenkins, and Baylen Brown were all criticized during their time at Tech but had successful starting careers. The most interesting thing about these players is that each of them changed positions from what they were recruited as. Brown came in as a guard and moved to tackle, Jenkins came in as a defensive end and eventually moved to linebacker and Nelson was a coveted athlete who made the permanent move to corner.
Many players from this class’ stock is still to be determined as they head into their redshirt senior season. Gary Moore, Jacarthy Mack, and Zach Barnes will be looking to turn around lackluster careers in their final season, while Dylan Cantrell, Talor Nunez, and D.J. Polite-Bray will hope to finish off their starting careers right. Polite-Bray is possibly the most intriguing player in this class because he came to school as a WR and has found himself as one of the top CBs on the roster.
Overall, this class has not been a very beneficial one for Tech football, but it is not too late for some players. This class will be known as the crossroads class as they’ve set the tone for Kingsbury, but they’re also the last Tuberville recruits left on campus.