Recruiting the Bayou

It has been years since Texas Tech signed a recruit out of the talent-rich state of Louisiana. In fact, under Tommy Tuberville the Red Raiders rarely even offered a player from Texas' eastern neighbor. But the relatively new coaching staff, one assistant in particular, is cashing in on some relationships and trying to make new ones in order to tap a new resource of talent for the Red Raiders.

Texas Tech's (Lack of) Presence in Louisiana
2014 20
2013 40

As the chart above shows, Texas Tech has not even attempted to recruit Louisiana in recent years.

In fact, there is not one player from the state of Louisiana listed on the Red Raiders' spring roster.

That appears to be a thing of the past, or at least the coaching staff is making an attempt in the 2015 and 2016 classes to draw some Louisiana talent to West Texas.

The Red Raiders have offered seven Louisiana prospects in the 2015 class and another in the 2016 class. That's as many as Tech offered in the last four classes combined and National Signing Day is still more than 10 months away.

Louisiana Prospects with Texas Tech Offers
Tyron JohnsonWR2015New Orleans (Easton HS)6-2190
Kelejawan LefloreWR2016New Orleans (Easton HS)6-1175Unranked
Arthur McGinnisLB2015New Orleans (Easton HS)6-2.5215
Kirk MerrittRB2015Destrehan5-11200
Jozie MiltonDT2015Clinton (Stillman HS)6-2310
Brandon ScottS2015Destrehan6-1180Unranked
Reggie WalkerDE2015Ponchatoula6-4235
Courtney WallaceDT2015Monroe (Neville HS)6-1300Unranked

In tracking down the genesis of this new activity across the border one name kept coming up: Kevin Curtis. I asked coach Curtis, who was the cornerbacks coach at Louisiana Tech for three seasons prior to joining Kliff Kingsbury's staff in Lubbock, about his foray into Cajun country knowing he could only say so much without committing a recruiting violation.

"We want to target great young men who are great football players that truly care about football and truly care about getting that degree," Curtis said. "So wherever that may be we're going to go after them. Sometimes geographically the people who are closest you have a better chance at, but I've had a chance to build some relationships out there and wherever we go we sell ourselves, we sell the people in this program and I think young men are buying into it and they like what they are seeing." Louisiana recruiting analyst Mike Coppage said Tech's presence has definitely been noticed in the state.

"I've never heard of Tech recruiting Louisiana that much in the past, but you know Kevin Curtis was at Louisiana Tech before going to Texas Tech and he talks with a couple of my buddies who run these varsity prep sites," Coppage said. "It does seem like they are getting out and about over here more often."

Of the eight Louisiana prospects Tech has offered for the 2015-16 classes five hail from two schools--New Orleans Easton Charter and Destrehan.

Tech has offered three Easton players. One is four-star wideout Tyron Johnson, considered one of the top receivers of the 2015 class. Another Easton 2015 target is linebacker Arthur McGinnis, a three-star rated prospect, who at 6-foot-2, 215-pounds runs a 4.4. Lastly, the Red Raiders offered 2016 receiver Kelejawan Leflore earlier this month.

Those three are hard to beat, but the pair at Destrehan may be able to. First up is athlete Kirk Merritt, a running back who has seen his recruitment explode recently due to his combination of size, speed and versatility as a receiver.

"I heard he likes LSU, Tech, TCU and Texas A&M a lot," Coppage said. "I know he likes a wide open offense and wants to play somewhere he can move around and play receiver or running back. He's not playing running back at all right now, he's strictly a wide receiver, but he's projected as a running back."

Tech also offered Destrehan defensive back Brandon Scott, who could end up being the best player out of all of Tech's Louisiana targets though he remains unranked by as of now.

"Some people believe Brandon Scott is the best player on the best team in the state or at least in his class," Coppage said. "They (Destrehan) have Kirk, who I think is a four-star talent, they have a three-star receiver and I think Brandon is better than those guys."

Tech hasn't signed a Louisiana prospect since 2010 when it inked Urell Johnson out of New Orleans Walker High School, who was buried on the depth chart before transferring to Southern Miss in 2012 and Branden Smith out of Central Lafourche.

Though the Red Raiders have yet to land a 2015 commitment from the bayou, the way they are aggressively pursuing the area it is only a matter of time, then perhaps Tech will have a new stream of talent to draw from.

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