Notebook: JUCO recruiting board, new offers, and more...
A look at JUCO recruiting with early enrollee signing day around the corner, a look at the new offer, Tech commits receive ratings bumps, and a look at Big 12 recruiting in this week's notebook.
JUCO recruiting targets
Within the past week, head coach Kliff Kingsbury and athletic director Kirby Hocutt have stated that Tech has 12 new additions being added to the team for the spring. The number 12 includes the seven early enrollees from the high school level and presumably five more December graduate junior college prospects. Below are some targets (some with offers, some not) and a quick breakdown of how Texas Tech may go about filling the five junior college slots.
Carter is the only JUCO offer at quarterback right now, which would lead us to believe he is the top target that they are pushing all of their resources towards. With Mahomes' pursuit of an NFL career looming, Texas Tech needs some immediate depth at the QB position and Carter could offer that and more. It would be surprising if he wasn't the guy here.
RUNNING BACK: 0-1
Range is already a Texas Tech commit but with his injury history and December graduate status in flux, the coaches may be looking elsewhere at running back. However, coach Foster will be visiting the RB on Wednesday. Some other names to keep an eye on are Cisco College running back Darrian Hammonds, who has visited the South Plains recently and Diablo Valley C.C. running back Desmond Nisby. If no other offers are extended, it will become very clear how the coaches view Range.
OFFENSIVE LINE: 1
It would be a huge mistake not to take a December graduate offensive lineman at this point. All signs point to Valencia being the one the Tech coaches covet the most and things sit well with the offensive lineman, especially following his recent visit to the South Plains, but some stiff competition remains for his services. Savage is seemingly next in line and said he would commit on the spot if offered.
DEFENSIVE LINE: 1
The Tech staff needs to absolutely bring in a pass rusher for spring ball. In fact, getting a December graduate JUCO at defensive end is one of the biggest priorities for the Tech coaches; however, not one JUCO defensive end holds an offer currently. Berry and Scott are the two top targets here, with Berry looking like the most likely as he is expecting a visit from coach Patrick soon. If the coaches decline on offering Berry, Scott, or some other JUCO DE they feel comfortable with (Alton Robinson, maybe?) you have to think they feel good about landing some pass rushers from the high school ranks on signing day.
The Tech coaches will add a linebacker prospect from the JUCO ranks in December. Whether it be Allen and Jones, just Jones, or just Allen, is yet to be determined, but the coaches do have room for two if they decide to go that route. Jones has been one of the top JUCO prospects on their board for many months now and will be in Lubbock soon on an official visit. Allen has a few more hurdles to jump through but could definitely be back. Another name to watch is Cisco LB Solomon Hunter.
DEFENSIVE BACK: 1
While it seemed like the Tech coaches may not have been heavily invested in taking a JUCO defensive back as a spring enrollee, the recent offer to Ballard shows that they are very much interested in adding a play making corner or safety by the December 16 deadline. Ballard is obviously the top target since he is one of the few DBs with an offer in hand (and has an official visit set up for this weekend) but don't rule out current Kansas State commit Elijah Walker as a possibility, either. He will be visited by coach Foster on Wednesday. Other names to watch are Tyler JUCO DB Nate Jones and Kilgore College safety Hasan Defense.
A brief look at the numbers
Tech will add the 12 spring enrollees and will have a very large 72-man roster participating in spring ball, according to Kirby Hocutt. Under the 85-man limit, Tech would have 13 open scholarships to either fill on signing day or entice future transfers. Tech has 15 commits currently (seven early enrollees) which would leave five more spots beyond the eight prospects expected to sign on signing day.
Tech offers West Texas tight end
What the offer means - As a big (6-foot-6, 250-pound) tight end prospect, the coaches are showing that they are committed to their "Power run game" philosophy. The Seminole (TX) product fits the bill as a hand-in-the-ground blocking tight end, but his size also creates a receiving mismatch down the middle, and he has shown the ability to be a big receiving threat.
Tech gets PWO commit
Tyler Carr, located up the road in Canadian, Texas, was offered and accepted the opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at Texas Tech. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound prospect is slated as a defensive lineman and the coaches have mentioned multiple times that they hope to add another 40-50 pounds to his frame.
Carr had been on the offensive coaches' radar when he played as a tight end for Amarillo High during his junior season, but a switch to defensive lineman when he moved back to Canadian caught the attention of coach Patrick. He won the OL/DL MVP award at one of Tech's summer camps and has visited Lubbock on multiple occasions this past season.
Tech also extended a preferred walk-on offer to Liberty Christian defensive end Brooks Talkington this past week.
Tech commits receive ratings boost
Around the Big 12
-Baylor lost 50 percent of their 2017 class this past week when long-time DB commit Noah Daniels decommitted from the Bears. Who knows if they will ever land another commit.
-The Iowa State Cyclones added their 20th commit this past week when Florida DB Datrone Young committed to the Cyclones. Jones held offers from Rutgers, USF, Western Michigan, and Wisconsin.
-Kansas lost commit Zacchaeus McKinney this past weekend as the Weatherford defensive tackle decided to decommit from the Jayhawks after only being committed for eight days. The Jayhawks did add JUCO QB Peyton Bender, however. Even Kansas has 10x the amount of commits as Baylor.
-Kansas State added their 16th commit this past weekend when former Oklahoma State commit Spencer Misko committed to the Wildcats. Listed at tight end, the Keller (TX) product can also play defensive end.
-After a three month commit drought, Oklahoma State added four new prospects to their 2017 class, pushing their total to 19. JUCO DT Fua Leilua, JUCO OT Arlington Hambright, three-star tight end Tyler Henderson, and three-star safety Trey Sterling all decided to join the Pokes' class within the past week.