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.
Delvon Simmons is without question one of the most eagerly anticipated Texas Tech football recruits in a very long time.
Part of the reason for the excitement is Simmons reputation, which suggests a great deal of talent. Depending on which recruiting service you talk to, Simmons was either the No.3 or No.5 defensive tackle prospect in the high school ranks last season. And few, if any recruits from the talent-rich state of Pennsylvania were more sought after.
But every bit as important as Simmons' skill is the position he plays. Simmons does his thing at the crucial defensive tackle spot. And defensive tackles are like true centers in basketball. They are hard to find, but when signed, can turn a team around.
It would be absurd to task Simmons with singlehandedly elevating the Red Raider football program, but there's no doubt many observers expect him to be a huge difference-maker first rattle out of the box.
Thing is, Texas Tech is not exactly talent-poor on the interior of the defensive line. Kerry Hyder and Lawrence Rumph currently run one-two at defensive tackle, with Donald Langley, Pearlie Graves and Chris Perry your top three at noseguard. None of that group will be on anybody's preseason All Big 12 squad, but as a unit, they will be very solid. And it will not be easy for a freshman, even one as talented as Simmons, to displace one of the veterans.
But if anybody can do it, it just might be Simmons. He assuredly possesses a freakish skill-set.
Simmons currently stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 280 pounds. That would make him simultaneously taller and lighter than any defensive interior lineman currently on the Tech roster. Simmons, however, will not stay at 280 pounds. Tech strength coach Joe Walker will have Simmons up to 290 pounds or more very shortly, and he will be much larger than that before his college career is through. Right now, Simmons is an Alp; he will grow into a Himalaya.
Size aside, Simmons possesses a slew of traits that betoken a future star. He is a dynamic and disruptive lineman who can make his presence felt whenever he chooses to. Simmons is an economical player in that he reads plays very quickly, and goes directly to the ball player. There's not much wasted motion in his game.
Simmons has a greasy fast first step, homes in on ball-carriers like a torpedo, and rarely gets taken off his feet.
And last but hardly least, Simmons improved dramatically from his junior to his senior season, suggesting that he's barely scratching the surface of his talent.
All in all, I don't blame Tech fans for being giddy over this prospect's prospects.