A consequence of signing one of the country's top recruiting classes is that your depth chart could experience a serious upheaval between early August when the blue chippers arrive, and the season-opener in early September. Extremely talented players have the potential to overcome lack of experience and make impacts early in their careers.
Tommy Tuberville and his coaching staff will be faced with this problem very shortly. It is, as they say, a nice problem to have.
In this series we will take a look at the incoming recruits most likely to see the field in 2011, try to project where they will fit in the depth chart, and what they will bring to the table for the Red Raiders in the upcoming season.
The Texas Tech offense under first-year offensive coordinator Neal Brown was not too shabby in 2010. Factor in the reality that it was a transition season and it was actually pretty darned good.
One glaring deficiency however, was the lack of burst from the receiving corps. Owing partially to injuries and partially to the absence of truly dynamic ball carriers, the Red Raider receivers simply did not threaten the opposition with the ball in their hands.
The recruiting efforts of Tommy Tuberville and his staff may however, have yielded a remedy for this weakness. We will know for sure when the diminutive Jakeem Grant arrives on campus in August.
Grant, a relatively late addition to the 2010 class via Mesquite Horn, is your proverbial lightning in a bottle. He has all the "make you miss" ability that Neal Brown craves.
Grant's acceleration and straight-line speed is simply dumbfounding. Playing against top-drawer competition in District 11-5A, Grant made his opponents look like they were going in slo-mo when he turned on the jets, which was quite often indeed.
But Grant is more than a speed merchant. He is extremely decisive with the ball in his hands and uses his smallness to effectively hide behind blockers. He gets north-south in a big hurry, which accentuates his speed by taking advantage of temporizing defenders.
Grant is also strong enough in the upper body to shrug off arm tackles, and is a very determined runner when he nears the goal line.
And finally, Grant shows the ability to separate from defenders on his routes. Sometimes he makes it appear as though there was a busted coverage when there was none.
It certainly looks as though the Red Raiders have a hidden gem in Grant. Listed at five-foot-seven and approximately 150 pounds, Grant would have been serenaded by every football powerhouse in the nation had he been three inches taller.
As it is, Tech looks to have copped another dangerous interior receiver in the mold of Nehemiah Glover and Wes Welker. But the best comparison may be to Wayne Walker, a Red Raider star in the late 80s who played one season with the San Diego Chargers. Although Grant is two inches shorter than Walker, his burst and maneuverability in traffic are identical to the Waco product who starred in scarlet and black over 20 years ago.
And the guess here is that Grant will be used far more extensively than Walker ever was. Probably as a freshman, no less.