On July 23, when news of Penn State's sanctions was announced, some college coaches licked their chops. Any player from one of the premier programs in the country was back open on the recruiting market. The NCAA did make it easy for the vultures to prey when they gave players a free transfer with immediate eligibility. Combine that with the added bonus that the scholarship for those transfer players will not count against the limit of allotted scholarships for NCAA Division I Football and you can see why coaches were headed to State College, PA.
For Texas Tech, with two players already on the roster from Pennsylvania coupled with Robert Prunty's recruiting ties all along the east coast, Tech fans did have to wonder whether or not the Red Raiders would pursue any transfers from Penn State.
"If those guys contacted us, we would then have an interest in them," said Prunty. "I was contacted by some of the high school coaches and I was contacted by some of the players, but I wasn't going to be aggressive about it. That's not coach Tuberville's style. He (Tuberville) didn't want us going up there and seeking those kids."
Even without being aggressive, there was still interest in the Red Raiders by a couple of Penn State players.
"One came down to (this week). He was a senior and decided that he wanted to stay. The week before, I thought he had decided to come to Texas Tech, but after talking with his family and his (position) coach, he decided to stay."
Being an east coast native, Prunty also had a lot to lose if he didn't go about recruiting those players the right way.
"I was really careful about that because I have nothing but respect for those guys," said Prunty. "(Penn State defensive line coach) Larry Johnson and those guys are friends of mine. At Texas Tech, we're going to do things the right way. Those kids pursued us. We told them to talk about it with their parents and pray on it. Penn State has a lot on them already as a program. We're not trying to throw rain on anybody."
The quest for increased depth always keeps the doors open for transfers at Texas Tech. This season, the Red Raiders hope to benefit from transfers such as IR Jordan Davis, who sat out last year after transferring from Southwestern Oklahoma State and OL Brian Thomas. Thomas transferred from Texas A&M after graduating with remaining eligibility. Per NCAA rules an athlete may transfer to another Division I school and become immediately eligible if he graduates and pursues a Master's degree in a program not offered by his current institution. Under this umbrella, former Texas Tech QB Jacob Karam graduated in 3 years and transferred to Memphis, where he is slated to be the Tigers starting QB.
While Texas Tech football is always welcome to added depth, Prunty was adamant that this coaching staff would go about it the right way.
"We're going to stay professional. If a kid contacts us, we're going to pursue it. We'll talk with compliance and compliance will inform that school and that coach of the relationship. We're not trying to go around anyone's back or go about it the wrong way."