Which Texas Tech freshman has the higher upside?
Texas Tech football's season might be over, but recruiting is the lifeblood of any football program, and with the Early Signing Day less than three weeks away the coaches are out on the road looking for pieces to finish off their 2020 class.
Texas Tech basketball signed the No. 6 ranked recruiting class in the country last month, and now takes on DePaul this week looking to bounce back after a couple close losses in the Las Vegas Invitational.
Today, Ben Golan and Brandon Soliz take a look at both programs and the question of which Texas Tech freshman, running back SaRodorick Thompson or forward Terrence Shannon Jr, has the higher upside?
I'm going to go with basketball's Terrence Shannon Jr. though the answer is very close. Coming out of high school, Shannon Jr. was ranked as a top-65 recruit in the country and chose Texas Tech over offers such as Illinois, Florida State, Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville and many others.
Shannon Jr. is a tremendous athlete and is already a plus defender as a freshman. He is a good rebounder, can handle the ball and is a good free throw shooter, having shot 26 for 31 on the season (83.9%). He has also shown an ability to create for himself and others, and is versatile at his size, capable of playing the two through four. He is raw but has enough to work with potential wise that he is a guy worth monitoring for NBA mock drafts over the next few months.
The biggest thing for Shannon Jr. to work on is perimeter shooting, and I expect him to develop in that area during his time in Lubbock. If he manages to simply become respectable from deep that will open up the rest of his offensive game and he could be one of the best players in the Big 12 and in the country.
SaRodorick Thompson proved at times this season that he can be the main guy in the backfield for the Red Raiders. The redshirt freshman played four games last season in order to keep that redshirt status but did manage to find the end zone three times on 25 carries.
This season, he appeared in 11 games and totaled 679 yards on 144 rushes. He's also a factor in the pass game with 35 receptions for 147 yards. Here's why he could be better than the previously mentioned Terrence Shannon Jr...
Thompson showed the coaches something everyone wants from their players - durability.
His best trait was his availability up until the final game. In my opinion, he'll be the number one back next year and worked his way into that spot. He took advantage of the opportunity when Ta'Zhawn Henry and Armand Shyne were no-go's due to injuries.
Thompson's numbers didn't jump off of the stat sheet except for his outing against Baylor where he rushed the ball close to 30 times in his lone-100 yard outing this year. He also only had one other showing with at least 20 carries and that was against Kansas - both games ending up going down to the last play of the game with Texas Tech losing. Every time he had positive gains, though, Texas Tech was in the fight.
However, Thompson's an all-around back who showed off his abilities this season and was one of the positives you can take from the losing season. I also like him to have a solid 2020 knowing more than likely Jack Anderson is back at guard mixed in with some talent from Weston Wright, Dawson Deaton and Will Farrar on the offensive line.
I believe if the coaches rely on him and give him a bulk of the carries starting in the offseason then he's poised to lead the team on the ground and possibly be close to 1,000 yards.