Speed Kills

A look at how the Texas Tech coaching staff is targeting and landing faster athletes in recruiting such as 2014 signee Nigel Bethel (pictured above) out of Miami, FL.

Surrounded by the press during a spring media availability in April Jakeem Grant was asked whether he or Devin Lauderdale was faster.

The lightning fast inside receiver flashed a big smile and responded, "Of course I'm going to say me."

Grant added he beat Lauderdale in some team 40-yard sprints and would welcome a race between the two.

Just the fact Grant, who has made many a Big 12 defender look silly with his combination of pure speed and elusiveness in his first two seasons at Texas Tech, is being challenged by Lauderdale is a positive sign for the Red Raiders.

Grant, who is expected to be one of Tech's top offensive weapons next season, better get used to being challenged to races as the Red Raiders are seriously upgrading the roster in terms of pure speed through recruiting.

Lauderdale, a 2014 signee and midterm enrolee from Navarro College, is just the beginning. Another speedster joining Lauderdale in the 2014 class is Cibolo Steele running back Justin Stockton, who has been clocked with a 4.33-second 40-yard-dash time, Stockton could provide the type of high-end, straight-line speed Texas Tech hasn't seen in the backfield since All-American Byron Hanspard toted the rock for coach Spike Dykes in the 90's and is also a talented kick returner.

Grant, Lauderdale and Stockton all possess the type of speed which forces fans to their feet every time they touch the ball. Yet, Miami (FL) Washington cornerback Nigel Bethel, another 2014 signee, and Port Arthur Memorial running back and 2015 Texas Tech commit Corey Dauphine proved earlier this month the Red Raiders are adding truly two of the fastest recruits in the nation.

Bethel claimed three Florida state track titles on May 3--the 100 meter dash (10.73 seconds), the 200 meter dash (21.22) and the 400 relay (41.19).

"I have been working for it since right after football season, I have been saying I was going to do what I did," Bethel said recently. "The coaches didn't think I could win the 100, because I was a slow starter and was previously a 200 and 400 guy. My reaction after winning was it was just amazing. I won the 100 and 200 at regionals and came back and did the same thing at state.
"It was a blessing to be able to showcase my talent and go out with a bang my senior year."


Last weekend Dauphine, who is 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, won the UIL Class 5A 200 meter dash with a personal best time of 20.76 seconds.

"I felt like I had to prove a point that I was the fastest kid," Dauphine told RaiderPower.com shortly after winning the race Saturday night.

Being fast is great but maximizing that God-given ability comes down to coaching. Early returns are good with Kliff Kingsbury's young staff according to Grant, who commented during the previosuly mentioned media session, that his work with the coaches is paying off.

"Everybody knows I have speed, but knowing how to manage my speed and get my technique down has been a great thing," Grant said. "Now I know how to control my speed and use it at the right time to get past defenders and basically give them the juke stick or just my speed release to go right past them."

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