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May 3, 2012

3T: Biggest recruiting busts

In this week's Three Things, we look at Texas Tech's three biggest high school recruiting busts from the last decade.

1. McKinner Dixon. When he signed, Dixon was the highest-ranked prep defensive prospect to sign with Texas Tech under Mike Leach. In fact, the Red Raiders didn't sign a higher-ranked defensive prospect out of the high school ranks until Delvon Simmons in 2011.

Dixon secured a role in the defensive end rotation as a true freshman and logged 29 tackles, two sacks and six TFL in 11 games. Following the 2005 season, he seemed well on his way to living up to his ranking. Unfortunately, Dixon failed to get things done academically, missed most of spring practice and was ruled ineligible before the 2006 season. Instead of staying at Tech and sitting out that season, he transferred to Cisco J.C.

The Lufkin product resigned with the Red Raiders in 2008 and was a key defensive component in the team's 11-2 campaign. Dixon ran into the same issues the following semester and was suspended from the program for academic reasons.

You could argue that Dixon was not a bust because, for all of his issues, Tech still got two productive seasons out of him. Fair enough. But what earns him a spot on this list above others is the fact that he busted out of the program twice. Few others can say that.

2 Anthony Jenkins. Jenkins was Graham Harrell's favorite target in high school. The four-star wideout caught over 100 passes for more than 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Ennis and arrived at Tech ranked by Rivals.com as the 12th-best athlete in the country. For the sake of comparison, Michael Crabtree was the No. 16 athlete in 2006.

With Wes Welker, Carlos Francis and Mickey Peters gone, and Nehemiah Glover entering his final season of eligibility, Jenkins was expected to be the centerpiece of the Red Raiders' next generation of wide receivers. That, of course, didn't happen. Jenkins never played a down for Tech and caught the only pass of his college career during a four-game stint with West Texas A&M.

3. Ronnie Daniels. Daniels' career stat line at Tech was not overly impressive -- nine carries for 43 yards and a touchdown -- but few freshmen have shown the kind of potential that he displayed in his year with the Red Raider football program.

The New Mexico native enrolled early out of high school and was arguably the story of Tech's 2011 spring practices. Daniels was big, athletic, powerful and versatile. By the time the fall rolled around, he was being given reps at inside receiver. Quite simply, Daniels oozed potential.

Unfortunately, Daniels made poor choices off of the field and ended up playing in just one game as a true freshmen before being suspended for the rest of the season. He was reinstated in time to go through spring football, but was removed from the program after another poor off-the-field choice.



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