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.
There are more highly touted players in Texas Tech's 2010 recruiting class, and there may be a few who are surer bets to contribute immediately, but none could factor at as many disparate positions as Bradley Marquez. The Odessa High product will play and play well for the Red Raiders, but the question is where.
Marquez made his mark as a running back in the high school ranks and will get an opportunity to do the same as a collegian, but his ultimate home could be at slot receiver or even cornerback. Marquez has the athleticism and raw skill to excel at any of those positions.
The talents that allowed Marquez to flourish as a running back translate well to the inside receiver position. Marquez is a long strider with excellent speed, but more important, he is a decisive, economical runner in the open field.
Marquez is not as dynamic as a Michael Crabtree, and he doesn't have the quickness of a Wes Welker, but like both of those players, he wastes no time getting upfield once the ball is in his hands. Additionally, Marquez does a phenomenal job of reading his blockers. Consequently, he never makes a bad cut or runs into the wrong seam.
One of the more interesting features of Marquez's game is his blocking. Despite weighing no more than 180 pounds, Marquez obviously relishes taking out opposing defenders. In his high school days Marquez was known for obliterating two or even three opponents on a single play. This speaks to Marquez's aggressiveness, physicality and unselfishness.
And this thirst for contact is one reason why playing Marquez at cornerback is not a stretch. At five-foot-eleven, he also has the ideal frame for the position, and his speed is plenty good as well.
If the Tech coaching staff leaves Marquez at running back, he will almost certainly redshirt. The Red Raiders are stacked with experience and talent at this position, and Marquez is unlikely to make a dent there immediately.
Inside receiver is another story. Marquez, who looked very comfortable catching the ball in high school, could contribute here in a hurry. Current inside receivers Alex Torres, Austin Zouzalik, Cornelius Douglas, Adam James and Aaron Fisher all have either injury or productivity issues. There is an opportunity here for Marquez and fellow freshman Jakeem Grant to make an impact.
Cornerback would be a more difficult transition for Marquez, but Tech has a need here. Jarvis Phillips, Derrick Mays, and Tre' Porter all have talent, but the Red Raiders would like to go into battle with at least four cornerbacks they feel very good about. And Marquez is bright enough to pick the position up quickly should the Tech coaching staff decide to go this direction. At this point, who knows what direction they'll go?