clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2021 Texas Tech Football Recruiting Update

New, 2 comments

Jeramey Gillilan and Albie Shore look at the incoming class and speculate about who will come ‘round on signing day

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

In his second year as head coach, Matt Wells is laying foundations on the recruiting trail that show marked improvement for Texas Tech Football in the near future. Taking over the program in 2019, Wells inherited a class ranked 62nd in the nation by 247sports and has improved each year by an average margin of 10+ spots. The 2020 class is ranked 49th in the nation and, so far, the 2021 class is ranked 30th. The upcoming class has 8 hard commits, a plethora of offers, and 17 positions expected to open up from graduating seniors. If the coaching staff can maintain a ranking in the 20s it would be the highest ranking for Texas Tech since 2006, where we ranked 28th.

While there’s plenty of time left on the clock for the 2021 class, we’re going to go ahead and update the state of the current recruiting class while projecting what other players may join the program.


Quarterback (1)

Behren Morton (committed)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Quarterback 6-foot-2 185 pounds Eastland, Texas Four-star; .9136; No. 8 QB

Jeramey’s take: This is the second best quarterback recruited by Texas Tech behind Graham Harrell. Because Tech didn’t recruit a quarterback in the 2020 cycle that means Morton’s greatest competition is going to be against who, between Bowman and McIvor, makes their case in the upcoming season. Although Bowman has more experience he has been somewhat injury prone and we’re still not sure what McIvor can and can’t do on gameday. There’s a strong probability that Morton comes in and earns a starting position mid-way through his freshman season.

Albie’s take: Behren Morton has probably the best game film I have seen from a Texas Tech commit since Jarrett Stidham. Morton has great touch on the deep ball and is always leading his receivers. He’s operated Eastland High School’s offense masterfully and is on time with all of his receivers. He also sits in the pocket and has great feel around him, the only thing I question is what he’ll do when the pocket breaks down as his offensive line always has kept him safe so far. Similar to Stidham, the question becomes “Is Morton willing to wait?” The coaching staff seems to really like McIvor and if that is the choice at QB then Morton may have to wait up to three more years before he gets a shot.

Receiver (1)

Jerand Bradley (committed)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Wide Reciever 6-foot-5 200 pounds Plano, Texas Four-star; .8987; No. 55 WR

Jeramey’s take: Currently, Texas Tech has 16 wide receivers listed on the official roster for this upcoming season. What? It wouldn’t be Texas Tech if we didn’t. Where it gets interesting is that the average classification of our WR group is freshman/sophomores. Bradley will be one of the higher rated WR in the group when he comes in, only rivaled by Loic Fouonji (ranked 47). Bradley should work his way into the starting rotation alongside Fouonji to create a nasty one-two punch downfield.

Albie’s take: Tech has never had an issue recruiting top receivers and that does not seem to change in the Wells era either. Bradley is long and has no fear when it comes to attacking the football. On tape, he consistently puts his body on the line and seems to grab the ball at its highest point. Standing at 6’5”, he already has an advantage over his opponent, then his athleticism pushes him over the top. The wide receiver position will be tough for him to break through when Bradley comes to campus, but that 2nd season on campus could be his breakout. Erik Ezukanma and Myller Royals will be upperclassmen while Loic Fouonji and Ja’Lynn Polk will be right there with him. I expect to be hearing Jerand Bradley’s name in the 2022 season.

Tight End (2)

Mason Tharp (committed)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Tight End 6-foot-7 225 pounds Spring, Texas Three-star; .8566; No. 30 TE

Jed Castles (committed)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Tight End 6-foot-6 215 pounds Wichita Falls, Texas Three-star; .8466; No. 41 TE

Jeramey’s take: The resurgence of tight ends into the Texas Tech DNA is refreshing. We’re all hoping for more Jace Amaro types we can just dump it off to, but he was ranked as the no. 6 TE in the nation when he came to Tech. Still we’ve got Mason Tharp and Jed Castles who will be coming in on a senior in Jackson Pace and an expected sophomore John Holcomb. I predict that Tharp will become the go-to guy within his first season, however, because he has at least an inch and 10 pounds on everybody else in the group.

Albie’s take: Matt Wells said he’d be using tight ends and he’s showing it with this recruiting class. Tharp and Castles were two of the first recruits Wells offered as he wanted to get a jump on creating an offensive system that moreso fit his identity. Lets start with Jed Castles who is an exciting specimen but left a lot to be desired on film. Played out wide quite a bit in high school, didn’t seem to be that good of a blocker and has a frail frame. That being said, the man can catch. goal line fades are nothing for Castles and he’s a talent down the field with his speed. When it comes to Mason Tharp, you see more of the traditional tight end. Not as fast as Castles but bigger and stronger. More of a possession receiver who could be essential on third down and short plays, either in the run game or the passing game. Tharp is someone I could see getting playing time as early as this upcoming season as Wells’ first prototypical tight end.

Running Back (0/1)

Cam’Ron Valdez (prospect)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Running Back 5-foot-10 187 pounds Rockdale, Texas four-star; .8982; No. 20 RB

Jeramey’s take: Valdez is more than expected to sign on with the Red Raiders. Tech’s RB core is a relatively young group with Thompson being the probable starter. Valdez will be coming in as a no. 3 guy behind either Tahj Brooks or Chux Nwabuko III, fighting for that third roster spot against a host of others. With breakout speed like Justin Stockton, however, it shouldn’t take Valdez long to start jostling for that backup spot.

Albie’s take: I really hope Valdez comits to Tech because he is one hell of a running back. Great vision and patience between the tackles, good speed as well to turn any play into a home run, he was his team’s kick retun specialist, too, and though I don’t expect him to do that in Lubbock, it does show his versatility. There were times on tape where he just embarrassed his opponent and I hope to see that continue.

Offensive Line (1/2)

Jack Tucker (committed)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Offensive Tackle 6-foot-6 270 pounds Argyle, Texas Three-star; .8466; No. 81 OT

Matthew Wykoff (prospect)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Offensive Tackle 6-foot-5 304 pounds Magnolia, Texas three-star; .8839; No. 33 OT

Jeramey’s take: Talk about populated position groups. Tech has 19 offensive linemen on the board with two more coming in this season. Jack Tucker, although at average height for Tech linemen, is a little bit undersized. Analyst Gabe Brooks made the statement that he’s more a catcher than a puncher right now - he’s more likely to catch defenders than go at them - but nevertheless expects Tucker to become a reliable starter. With Wells’ dynamic run/pass game Tucker is going to have to start honing his game fast to get consistent play time.

Albie’s take: Jack Tucker is tall and has long arms, but needs to improve his quickness. A large amount of his blocks were simply because he was larger than his opponent and I’m curious if that will continue against larger players. Tucker will also need to bulk up, but that shouldn’t be an issue once he’s apart of this strength program. As far as Matthew Wykoff goes, he is someone that is already powerful. He is a straight up mauler and his athleticism shone through the tape. I could easily see him working at either tackle or guard and that versatility is an OL coach’s dream. Even if Wykoff does commit, neither guy will see the field anytime soon. Tech is not hurting on the OLine whatsoever even after guys like Jack Anderson leave. Hopefully we see one of them in 2022 at the earliest.

Defensive Line (3/5)

E’maurion Banks (committed)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Defensive End 6-foot-4 260 pounds Wichita Falls, Texas Three-star; .8678; No. 36 DE

Charles Esters (committed)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Defensive End 6-foot-3 225 pounds Wichita Falls, Texas Three-star; .8416; No. 61 DE

Solomon Wright (committed)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Defensive Tackle 6-foot 270 pounds Vian, Oklahoma three-star; .8466; No. 48 DT

Byron Murphy II (prospect)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Defensive Tackle 6-foot-1 276 pounds DeSoto, Texas three-star; .8839; No. 20 DT

Landyn Watson (prospect)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Defensive End 6-foot-3 235 pounds Hutto, Texas four-star; .9018; No. 17 DE

Jeramey’s take: This group is going to come in with a senior line of Devin Drew, Jaylon Hutchings, and Nelson Mbanasor so don’t expect them to get any starting time. Still, Banks and Wright are at the ideal weight coming in and will be able to work on their technical skills from the start. Esters, on the other hand, is substantially underweight. At 225 it’s likely that he comes in as a defensive lineman but moves to linebacker. With Esters’ proven speed off the edge and general size it would give him an advantage at the mobile linebacker archetype. Important to note that Wright’s father was an All Big-12 linebacker for Oklahoma State.

Albie’s take: I won’t go into each of these guys in depth, but one guy that stood out to me was Charles Esters, he is all speed, speed and some more speed with excellent technique. He was coached up well in high school despite his undersized frame. Once he bulks up some more he could be a problem. I’d be curious if Keith Patterson would think about giving him a shot at linebacker as well. If Esters’ speed isn’t enough, you also have Solomon Wright who’s combination of speed and power is lethal. For a DT, Wright has the hands skills and footwork of an end to go with his quickness. Multiple times he was in the backfield within a second after the ball was snapped. The current Tech line is a weird mix of veterans and youth. Wright and possibly Byron Murphy could see playing time rather quickly, while Charles Esters, E’maurian Banks and possibly Landyn Watson would have to battle a bit harder to see playing time early on.

Linebacker (0/1)

Donovan Stephens (prospect)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Linebacker 6-foot-1 205 pounds Oklahoma City, OK n/a

Jeramey’s take: Linebackers are starting to become the dominant position for Texas Tech, defensively; Allen and Brooks both have gone in the NFL draft and Riko Jeffers is on a warpath to do the same. Kosi Eldridge may end up being the guy come 2021 with Xavier Benson alongside, but the third spot remains to be seen. The 2021 class hasn’t yet solidified a linebacker commit but grabbing Donovan Stephens would be a step in the right direction going forward.

Albie’s take: With Jordyn Brooks no longer surveying the field, it’s easy to see why Keith Patterson offered Donovan Stephens a scholarship as he often looked like the Jordyn Brooks of Del City High School. Stephens is a sure tackler who makes quick decisions. He’ll need to get bigger, but as long as he doesn’t lose his speed he will be just fine. Many of the young linebackers Tech currently has won’t ever see the playing field. Coach Patterson needs to find reliable talented young linebackers quickly which is why I can see Stephens choosing Tech over Oklahoma State.

Defensive back (0/2)

Lyrik Rawls (prospect)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Safety 6-foot-1 180 pounds Marshall, Texas three-star; .8728; No. 30 S

Devin Lemear (prospect)

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Safety 6-foot 170 pounds Manor, Texas three-star; .8366; No. 79 S

Jeramey’s take: Defensive backs might be the most difficult position to recruit for at Texas Tech. On the current roster we’re loaded with DBs but experience-wise we’re looking at Adrian Frye and Alex Hogan to be the leaders in 2021. As far as we’re concerned right now there’s four DBs coming into the program in 2020 so Patterson could get away with taking it easy in this recruiting cycle. Still, Lyrik Rawls is one of the better safety prospects in Texas. If Patterson can get Rawls to commit to Tech over TCU/SMU then it would be a huge get for the defense.

Albie’s take: DB is another position where our veteran talent is there but our young talent is lacking. Unfortunately, coach Patterson hasn’t had much success recruiting here either. Devin Lemear is all about the turnover, whether it’s getting interceptions or knocking the ball out of receivers hands. It seems as though he’s leaning towards Baylor, but getting his commitment would be big, as well as getting Lyrik Rawls’. Rawls is an ATHLETE. He played both ways in high school and he has the ball skills of a receiver. Not the best tackler, but who needs tackles when you’re keeping the ball from the opposing team. His commitment will take some time, but getting a DB commitment is crucial for the defensive staff right now.