Tech's Top Recruiting Class of the Scout Era

A look at the Red Raiders' highest rated recruiting class since 2002 and how that class ended up performing.

Scout’s history as a college sports and recruiting service dates to the year 2002. Texas Tech’s highest rated college football recruiting class during the Scout era was the 2011 haul reeled in by former head coach Tommy Tuberville.

The 2011 class was ranked No. 20 nationally by Scout, just behind Ole Miss and just ahead of Michigan. It was comprised of 27 recruits, six of whom were four-star prospects, and 19 of whom were awarded 3-star status.

Of those 27 recruits, 11 never appeared on campus, transferred to another university, or washed out of the program without completing their eligibility.

Two of the most highly touted recruits—four-star defensive tackle Delvon Simmons and three-star quarterback Michael Brewer—transferred to Southern Cal and Virginia Tech respectively, after making modest contributions in their time at Tech. During the 2014 season, Simmons played extensively at USC, but failed to make a huge impact, while Brewer started for the Hokies but had an inconsistent campaign.

Among the wash-outs was three-star running back Ronnie Daniels. He gave every indication in spring and summer workouts of being a tremendous talent, but drug problems rendered him null and void. This writer rates Daniels, from a pure talent standpoint, as among the most gifted backs in modern Tech history along with Timmy Smith and Bam Morris.

Justin Cooper, Blake Dees, Derek Edwards, Kindred Evans, Jeremy Reynolds and Matt Wilson simply did not pan out and failed to complete their eligibility for one reason or another. Of that group, only linebacker Dees and receiver Edwards showed anything resembling real promise.

Of the 27-man class, only three-star defensive ends Desimon Green and Cooper Washington failed to show up at all. Academics got Green, while Washington’s absence was never fully explained. The latter was a “local” prospect from Muleshoe, Texas who originally committed to Oklahoma before signing with the Red Raiders.

The class also featured three JUCO transfers. They were four-star receiver Marcus Kennard, four-star defensive end Leon Mackey, and three-star defensive tackle Dennell Wesley.

None of the three made a huge impact. Kennard had length and speed, and was smooth, but did not really catch on in his two years in Lubbock. Mackey certainly looked the part of a prime defensive end, and although he started occasionally, never lived up to his billing. Wesley soldiered on throughout his time in Lubbock, starting often, but on some of the worst defenses and defensive lines in school history.

The book on nine of the 27 recruits remains to be finished. Le’Raven Clark, J.J. Gaines, Jakeem Grant, Branden Jackson, Tony Morales, Alfredo Morales, Donte Phillips, Pete Robertson, and Deandre Washington still have eligibility remaining.

Clark, a three-star offensive lineman, Robertson, a three-star receiver prospect, and Washington, a three-star running back, proved to be real gems in the class. Clark, an All Big 12 performer, flirted with leaving early for the NFL, but will return for his senior season. Robertson, now an All Big 12 linebacker, is probably the best pass rusher in the conference, and Washington rushed for over 1,000 yards as a junior, the first Tech back to do so since Ricky Williams in 1998. Suffice it to say, all three have proved better than their Scout ratings.

Gaines has started many games as a safety, but his productivity has been hit-and-miss. He hopes to have a big senior season. Grant had a terrific sophomore season but a disappointing junior campaign. Jackson is a long-time starter and a solid performer. Tony Morales, a four-star offensive lineman, has been chronically injured, while his three-star brother Alfredo has turned into an excellent run blocker and probably the most underrated player on Tech’s offense. Two-star defensive tackle Phillips has been a spot player.

Along with Simmons, the highest rated player in the class was four-star tight end Jace Amaro. The San Antonio product exceeded even this lofty billing by becoming unquestionably the greatest tight end in school history (and that includes All American Andre Tillman). He opted for the NFL after his junior season, was selected in the second round by the New York Jets, and enjoyed rookie success for one of the worst teams in the league.

Sam Eguavoen, Bradley Marquez and Kenny Williams were the three recruits who did not redshirt and stayed the entire four years. Eguavoen, a three-star prospect, was a starter for almost the entirety of his career. Marquez, also a three-star recruit as a running back, switched to receiver and had a very solid career. Williams, a four-star running back recruit, played extensive early in his career, but ultimately was bypassed by Washington, and transferred to linebacker for part of his senior season. In sum, he made significant contributions on offense, defense and as the proverbial “special teams demon.”

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