In the game of recruiting it is inevitable that certain "can't-miss" players do. The evaluation of football talent is simply not an exact science--just ask those responsible for drafting Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russell, Vince Young and Kenneth Sims. And Texas Tech, just like every other program in the nation, has had its fair share of busts. With this piece, we will take a look at the Tech's biggest disappointments on the offensive side of the football.
Quarterback: Scotty Young—Perhaps Young will be a sensation at Louisiana Tech where he transferred after failing to best Michael Brewer for the starting position at Texas Tech. Nevertheless, Young was a heavily decorated player who didn't cut the mustard for the Red Raiders. He was a Max Preps and Parade All American at Denton Ryan, a top 20 in Texas high school prepster, and was regarded by many as the best high school quarterback in Texas his senior season.
Running Back: Chris Pryor—Whether or not Chris Pryor is the most heavily recruited running back ever to sign with Tech is debatable. But there is no question that Pryor was the most publicized. He was a record-busting back for the 1983 Converse Judson team that won the Texas 5A state championship. No other player in Texas had his notoriety. Unfortunately, Pryor, who was recruited to Tech under odd circumstances, bailed on the Red Raiders before ever playing a game, saying "I don't want to die in a tornado!"
Running Back: Dominic Rhodes—Many a fine high school football player has been felled by academics and Dominic Rhodes certainly qualifies on that score. In 1997 Rhodes was regarded as either the best or second best back in Texas while playing for Abilene Cooper. He didn't score high enough on the SAT to attend Tech, however, went the JUCO route, then to Midwestern State, and ultimately to the NFL where he played for the Indianapolis Colts and rushed for over 1,000 yards as a rookie.
Receiver: Marquis Johnson—The junior colleges seem to produce more than a proportional number of busts, and Marquis Johnson is a shining example. He was a Parade All American in high school in Champaign, Illinois, and like so many of those elite recruits, signed with the University of Texas. Johnson quickly abandoned the Horns and played JUCO ball instead, before signing with Tech in 2004. He could never get on the field in Mike Leach's aerial circus, however, and vanished into the mists.
Receiver: Javares McRoy—The Red Raiders wanted Javares McRoy badly when he was a prepster in Lakeland, Florida. Alas, McRoy spurned Tech for in-state powerhouse, the University of Florida. For whatever reason, McRoy found no success with the Gators and transferred to Tech where his brother Ben was already playing. Javares played second fiddle to the less ballyhooed Jakeem Grant last season, however, and is no longer in the program.
Tight End: Cole Roberts—Blue chippers are not heavy on the ground in west Texas, but when they pop up, Texas Tech will move heaven and earth to keep them at home. And when such prospects do stick with the local outfit, Tech needs them to live up to billing. Roberts of Shallowater, was almost as heavily recruited as current Red Raider tight end Jace Amaro. Roberts, however, never made much of a mark on the field his first three seasons. He finally contributed as a senior in 2001, catching 38 passes and four touchdowns. Much more was expected out of Roberts.
Offensive Line: Todd Phelps—Jerry Moore didn't recruit too many blue chippers to Lubbock, but Todd Phelps, an offensive lineman from Haltom City was certainly one of them. He was regarded as easily one of the top 50 high school players in Texas in 1983, but played only one season for the Red Raiders before fading to black.
Offensive Line: Scott Wilson—Scott Wilson was a hulking, six-foot-six 290-pounder in the mid to late 80s when such specimens were still quite rare. The 1985 Corpus Christi Flour Bluff product was also a top 50 Texas recruit. Wilson, however, didn't scratch in the scarlet and black and transferred to a junior college in Kansas.
Offensive Line: Scott Conrad—Another of Jerry Moore's premier recruits that failed to hit was Sherman's Scott Conrad. He was regarded by Dave Campbell's Texas Football as one of the state's top offensive linemen in 1983, but if he ever played a down for the Red Raiders, it escaped everybody's notice.
Offensive Line: Daniel Christian—By all accounts, Daniel Christian was and presumably still is, a first-class man. He was certainly a first-class JUCO recruit in the California ranks in 2002 (rated five stars by Max Emfinger), but in his time with the Red Raiders, was unable to crack the starting lineup with any consistency whatsoever.
Offensive Line: Ofa Mohetau—Mohetau was as highly regarded as any offensive lineman in America when he signed with BYU out of Euless Trinity in 2003. He was almost that highly rated when he signed with Tech after a stint at the College of the Sequoias a couple of years later. But Mohetau arrived out of shape and undermotivated, and did not survive a single fall camp under Leach before jumping ship.