Since Ruffin McNeill took over as defensive coordinator at Texas Tech, he has placed a specific emphasis on recruiting rangy, athletic defenders who can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. And since McNeill coaches linebackers for the Red Raiders, when he offers a player, it's a pretty good indication that McNeill thinks he'll fit his system pretty well.
So when he approves an offer for a linebacker this early in the process, like he did today with Schertz (TX) Clemens star Zac Winbush, it's probably safe to say that he sees something he likes. And fortunately for the Red Raiders, the feeling was mutual.
"Yes sir, he's a Red Raider," said Zac's father, Sherwin Winbush. "When he got that offer today, that was a no-brainer and he committed on the spot. If they would have offered him at their Junior Day, he would have committed then- he was just waiting until they extended the offer."
According to Mr. Winbush, the tipping point came a week or so ago at Texas Tech's Junior Day.
"When we went out there for their Junior Day, that's when he knew," said his father. "He had been to Junior Days at Texas A&M and Baylor, but this one was just different. Those were great campuses and great schools, but Tech was just in a different league altogether. When we were leaving, Zac turned to his mother and I and said, 'This is where I want to go to school. I don't even need to look anywhere else, I've seen what I needed to, and this is where I want to be,' and that's when we knew."
Winbush, who is also being recruited by Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Baylor, Texas A&M, Missouri, Stanford, Princeton, Duke, Rice, Minnesota, Purdue, and others, is coming off stellar junior seasons in two sports.
"Well, he did pretty good. It was his second year as a starter, and he had over 108 tackles this year," said the elder Winbush. "He got voted 1st Team All-District and even carried the ball for them a couple of times a game. It was a fun year. And then he just finished up with basketball and that was a good year too. He's going on to track now, and I know he's really excited about that."
Winbush also holds an offer from Missouri, and is still hearing from a large number of schools, but, according to his father, he is happy with his decision and is shutting down his recruitment.
"Oh, he's definitely going to be a Red Raider, there's no doubt about that," laughed his dad. "We actually got a new round of handwritten letters from schools today, but he said he doesn't even need to open any of those anymore, because he knows exactly where he wants to be. He loves Coach Ruff and his passion and he loves everything about Texas Tech, so he's done, he's a Red Raider."
Winbush becomes Tech's fourth commitment in this year's class and their second defensive commitment.