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Matador Mailbag: House Hunting with Zhaire Smith and Joe Burrow

Where will Burrow and Smith’s new addresses be?

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

House hunting is such a hassle. My wife and I are currently looking all throughout the Houston area to find the best house to raise our family in and there’s so much you need to look at. It’s important to be in an city with a low crime rate, in a good school district, decent travel time to work, close proximity to restaurants and shopping areas.

Life was so much simpler when I was in college and didn’t care about any of that. When I was graduating and choosing where I would live post-grad, my answer was: “Where ever I get hired.” The company that hired me was in Arlington, and I moved there immediately. Was Arlington even in my top 10 of cities I wanted to live in? No, but I didn’t care because they were paying me.

This is similar to the situation high-profile collegiate athletes find themselves in. Zhaire Smith could care less which team drafts him as long as he gets his name called and check clears. Joe Burrow is currently making a decision that will affect his future career, so I doubt he really cares too much about the aforementioned house hunting tidbits. He just wants to go somewhere that’ll eventually get him paid, because as the great Reese Bobby once said in Talladega Nights, it’s the fastest to get paid is the fastest to get.......let’s just move on to the questions.

Anyone who watched any of the spring scrimmages should feel a bit uneasy about the current quarterback position. It seems as though this team might be the most complete and talented team Kingsbury has had while at Texas Tech yet this may be the least talented his quarterback has been. Burrow would be an instant upgrade over both McLane Carter and Jett Duffey. The former four-star recruit would fit right in with our offense and try to propel his one season into an NFL draft pick.

Initially I thought getting Burrow was a pipe dream as I had already convinced myself that he was likely headed to Texas to connect with the coach that recruited him to Ohio State, Tom Herman or down to Florida to be apart of their resurgent pro-style offense. However, that all changed when Ohio State beat writer Ari Wasserman shot off this tweet.

Before that tweet, there was simply speculation, but to hear Tech as one of Burrow’s likely destination from someone with insights into the program, definitely had my ears perked up. Hopefully Kliff Kingsbury has already contacted Burrow’s people and doing whatever he can to thrown Burrow into the QB competition.

Joe Burrow is likely looking to propel his one year as a starter into being an NFL draft selection, Kingsbury has his flaws, but there’s no doubt that he has an impressive resume when it comes to quarterbacks he’s sent to the NFL. Johnny Manziel, Pat Mahomes, and Baker Mayfield are all guys previously coached by Kingsbury that became first round picks. Davis Webb went on to be a third rounder while Case Keenum and Nic Shimonek were both undrafted but are currently on NFL rosters. Kingsbury has found a way to get his players to the NFL and his voice holds weight among NFL scouts. Kingsbury should pitch this to Burrow more than anything else........ and the fact that we like to throw the ball quite a bit.

I would absolutely love to see Zach Smith and Keenan Evans make it onto NBA rosters but I find it unlikely. Neither player was one of the 69 players invited to the combine and even though Evans still projects as a possible second round pick, his toe surgery is only going to hold him back even more. Evans seems to be someone who’s game translates much better in college than in the pros as his shot is very slow and he’s not very athletic. Zach Smith is athletic but isn’t the most coordinated athlete, and still needs to add more weight at the next level. I hope to see them both in the G-League next year and eventually carving out long “Andre Emmett” type careers in Europe.

Zach Mason wrote a great article about how Zhaire Smith projects and I could not agree more. One guy I think Zhaire plays very similarly to is Doug Christie. You young guns may not remember him, but Christie was instrumental in Sacramento's run in the early 2000s and Christie was known for his tenacious perimeter D and his athleticism. Christie also always hit the big shot when needed even though he wasn’t a primary scorer. These are all things that Zhaire Smith does best. If Zhaire can find an offensive game to match his defensive game, then Vic Oladipo is the perfect comparison, however that may be asking for too much.

We are a spoiled bunch, no doubt about it. We’ve won back to back championships and now expect nothing less. I get it and I like that this is the new expectation with the baseball team but lets hold our horses. Fact of the matter is, we won’t win the conference for the first time in three years. However, we still have a Big 12 conference tournament to win and we’ll still likely host a regional and possibly even host a super regional. This team is still good enough to get to Omaha, and will be at this position or better for years to come.

Finally, a women’s basketball question! Coach Stollings was a fantastic hire considering the current status of the women’s basketball team. I expect her to get the team back to respectable status, and now I believe the die-hard fans have now been humbled into realizing that no one can fill Marsha Sharp’s shoes. Stollings won’t have the pressure of the previous two coaches before her and will be able to run her program the way she wants. If I’m her, I go on and get that 30-year mortgage, I think she’s here for the long ride.