These are very strange times we are living in. Life as we know it looks completely different. Picking up food at restaurants instead of going inside, completing work or school online instead of in person, and remaining inside our homes as much as possible. An area this new normal has hit is recruiting. Convincing a talented recruit to join your program is hard enough when you’re sitting across from them. Now, the only convincing you can do is over Zoom or Twitter. Despite the changes, it has seemed to be no challenge for Matt Wells. We’ve seen 4 Matt Wells “Wreck Em” Tweets in the past 8 days, indicating a new commitment. Who’s joined the squad? Let’s take a look!
Jed Castles, TE
6-6, 215 lbs, 2021, 3-star
Jed Castles plays like a created player in Madden. Obviously the first thing that stands out on his film is his size. 6-6 for a college TE is pretty tall, but 6-6 in high school is borderline unfair. To make him even more of a weapon, Castles was often lined up as a wide out. There are many instances on the film where his QB just throws the ball up and Castles comes down with it. Many of his touchdowns appear to have happened in the red zone. His most used route appears to be the fade. High school DBs simply could not defend his size. The sample size of his route running was very small, but on the few routes he did run outside the red zone he looked pretty quick. A part of his game that I think will get overlooked is his blocking. Castles, being the massive guy he is, is a fantastic blocker. Not only can he block off the line of scrimmage, but also outside the box on plays like a bubble screen (seeing why Yost likes him yet?). Castles is a good player and it’ll be interesting to see how he performs his senior year.
Mason Tharp, TE
6-7 or 6-8, 225 lbs, 2021, 3-star
Just in case 6-6 isn’t tall enough, meet Mason Tharp. If you thought Castle was a cheat code, I hope you’re ready for Tharp’s film. Tharp is a bully, plain and simple. He is probably the last guy I’d wanna be lined up across from. His ability to absolutely flatten people on blocks is incredible to watch. It’s clear how strong Tharp is, which is very promising when you surround him with Division 1 strength coaches and state-of-the-art facilities. Tharp also appears to be used in other routes a little more than Castle was (makes sense with two different offenses). I did like what I saw from Tharp’s route running. His best move appears to be the out route, although he did make some good catches in the middle of the field. Tharp brought in 523 receiving yards on 30 catches (17.4 YPC!!!) and 12 TD’s last season. Tharp’s ceiling looks a little bit higher than Castle’s to my eye, but there is no reason both of these guys can’t bring in over 250 yards a season for the Red Raiders.
Jack Tucker, OT
6-6, 270 lbs, 2021, 3-star
Offensive linemen commitments aren’t typically viewed as sexy as skill positions. I hope that stigma can end soon, because offensive linemen are the backbone of the Texas Tech offense. A projected power-5 starter, Tucker is a huge get for this team. I’m not gonna pretend like I know how to analyze an offensive lineman well but I will say this, Tucker is strong. What I see from his film is a lot of good thing in pass protection and less good things in run protection. In a pass first offense, this is good news. There’s a lot on Tucker’s film to be excited about.
Josh Burger, OT
6-4, 290 lbs, Grad Transfer
We finish up the pickups (for now) with a guy eligible for the 2020 season. Josh Burger, offensive lineman from Wofford, is heading to the Red Raiders. Just like many linemen recruited by Tech, Burger is a pass blocking specialist. He was an honorable mention All-American in 2018 as he brought in 109 knockdown blocks. Before Burger committed to Texas Tech he mentioned he’d only transfer somewhere he knew he’d get playing time. For Burger to come to Tech, Wells likely promised him a starting role which makes sense as he’s now probably the second best lineman on the team. With him alongside Jack Anderson, this offensive line just got so much better. The most recent film I could find on Burger was from high school, so I decided to forgo including that. Honorable mention All-American was enough to get me excited anyways.