Transfers have been a plague throughout Kingsbury’s tenure. From his first season as head coach, Kliff has had to deal with all different types of players leaving, from future heisman trophy winners (Baker Mayfield) to future NFL draft picks (Davis Webb) to family legacies (Breiden Fehoko). Now there has been many opinions to these transfers and whether they’re truly indicative of Kliff Kingsbury or more the reality of athletes nowadays who transfer to programs where they have a better chance of playing. This season, Kingsbury has had a relatively quiet start to the offseason on that front as only John Picone has transferred out of the program. I was pleased with this relative transfer quietness until I got a notification on my phone of yet another recruit decomitting from Texas Tech.
Monday evening, Mekhi Garner, a 3-star Safety from Mesquite,TX, decomitted from Texas Tech.
Yo...Greatest set back for a Major comeback believe that ✌ pic.twitter.com/LLjtfJt3xj— Mekhi williams-Garner (@juicedupp28) January 22, 2018
Now Garner had been one of the more vocal recruits on twitter and just came back from an official visit this past weekend. It seems to me as though something might’ve happened while he was on campus. Whether he got in trouble or the coaches talked him out of his commitment, either way it seemed best for Garner to no longer be headed to Lubbock, TX.
Now this isn’t that big of a deal. Garner was one of the lower rated recruits and would have had a long hard road to actually seeing the field. His size was intriguing and this hurts what is already an extremely weak defensive recruiting cycle, but not too much of a blip in the grand scheme of things.
The situation here speaks to a larger problem that Kingsbury and staff have had this year which is the amount of decommitments they’ve had this year. 11 to be exact per 247sports. That’s 11 different athletes that originally felt the need to be in Lubbock, TX but eventually decided there were greener pastures. These 11 athletes have ranged from 4-star Safety Cam’Ron Jones to 3-Star Athlete Jaylon Robinson and this large decommit number has become too large to ignore.
To put the number of 11 decommits in context, Texas Tech leads the Big 12 in this number. Kansas is second in the conference with 10 decommits, third is a three-way tie between Iowa State, Texas, and TCU with four. You read that correctly, outside of Kansas, Tech has almost tripled the amount of decommits that every other school in the conference has. This nullifies the argument of “this is just the problem with today’s youth,” because other team’s aren’t having this problem to this capacity.
Kliff Kingsbury didn’t have this big of an issue till recently. Last season was the most decommits he’d had in his career at the time with seven, and now a staggering 11 different players have done the same. This large number is tied for the 7th most decommitments in the country. Out of all the teams in the top 10, Texas Tech is the only school that did not have a coaching change or a first year head coach to attribute this phenomena to.
Texas Tech 2018 class has also been a dud to say the least. They rank 8th in the Big 12 and 67th nationally. Both marks are the worst in Kliff Kingsbury’s tenure.
All this could be attributed to Kingsbury’s status as Head Coach. It’s no secret that Kingsbury was on the hot seat throughout the 2017 season, and though he did just enough to keep his job, Kliff did not do enough to take himself off the hotseat for this upcoming season. It’s easy to see why some players would question whether they’d want to attach themselves to an unsure situation. Not to mention, Tech has had its fair share of coaching changes as well. Devin Brumfield was already a fringe commit throughout the season and once Jabbar Juluke announced his departure from the program, it was only a matter of time before Brumfield left too.
These instances happen to every single program in the country a few times every recruiting cycle, but 11 is more than a few. Luckily for Tech fans, this 2018 class is the smallest we’ve had and will have for a while and a good recruiting class next year will all but wipe away this paltry one. The coaching staff has already gotten off to a nice start with the commitment of 4-star defensive end Steven Parker from Dallas.
Hopefully we see athletes like Parker ride through until signing day, because another recruiting class of rejection like 2018 and Tech will turn into nothing but a sunken ship.