At any rate, all five of Tech’s most highly rated recruits according to Scout, signed with Tuberville in 2011 and 2012. Let us now take a reverse-order gander at those recruits and see how they panned out.
No. 5: Le’Raven Clark: Clark, a 6-foot-6 245-pound offensive line prospect out of Rockdale, Texas, was tabbed by Scout as the nation’s No. 120 overall prospect. He was also rated the No. 2 offensive tackle prospect in Texas that year. And clearly, Scout’s rating was right on the money. After redshirting, Clark has started in every single game of his Tech career. He earned Freshman All America honors in 2012, first team All Big 12 plaudits last year, and helped Deandre Washington to a 1,000-yard rushing season. Clark began his Tech career as a guard, but has since found a home at left tackle. He considered declaring for the upcoming NFL draft, but much to Tech’s benefit, decided to return for his senior campaign. He should be a preseason All America pick, and has every capability of becoming a stalwart in the NFL.
No. 4: Kenny Williams: Williams, a member of the same class as Clark, was regarded by Scout as the nation’s No. 108 prospect overall, and the nation’s No. 12 running back. Unlike Clark, however, Williams did not redshirt, but rushed for only 135 yards in his initial collegiate season. As a sophomore, he made a big jump, earning honorable mention All Big 12 honors after rushing for 824 yards and averaging 5.8 yards per carry. That, however, would be his high water-mark. As a junior his production diminished to 497 rushing yards and four yards per tote. And as a senior, with DeAndre Washington taking over as the team’s lead back, Williams actually transferred to linebacker where he made three starts before moving back to offense. He made his biggest mark, however, on special teams where he excelled in coverage.
No. 3: Jace Amaro: Amaro, yet another member of the 2011 class, was marked by Scout as the nation’s No. 96 prospect and the nation’s fifth best tight end. This proved a considerable underrating. Amaro started a bit slowly at Tech, not starting a single game as a freshman, and catching a modest seven passes for 57 yards. But as a sophomore he earned various All Big 12 accolades after catching 25 passes for 409 yards and four touchdowns despite playing in only six games (injury kayoed the second half of his season). Than, as a junior, Amaro had the sort of year that Michael Crabtree had as a freshman. His 1,352 receiving yards were most ever by an NCAA tight end. And his 104 receiving yards per game were also best ever by a tight end. He earned unanimous All America honors, and is unquestionably the best tight end to have played at Texas Tech. Amaro forewent his senior season and was taken by the New York Jets in the second round. As a rookie, he started four games, and caught 38 passes for 345 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
No. 2: Michael Starts: The only member of the top five who was not also a member of the 2011 recruiting class is Michael Starts, who signed with the Red Raiders in 2012. Scout rated him the nation’s No. 68 prospect as an offensive guard, and second best at that position in the state of Texas. Tech recruited the Waco prospect as a defensive tackle, however, and at 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds he had the frame to do well there. As a freshman, his only season at Tech, he played in one game—against New Mexico—and looked impressive, but the remainder of his freshman season was shelved by a medical condition. Thereafter, he dropped out of the program and has yet to return, although that hasn't stopped rumors that he will some day.
No. 1: Delvon Simmons: Simmons, a five-star defensive tackle recruit from McKeesport, Pennsylvania was yet another can’t-miss prospect who did. Scout rated him the nation’s fifteenth best player and the third best defensive tackle prospect. Still, Simmons contributed more than Starts. He played in 10 games as a freshman an earned Freshman All Big 12 honors after recording 13 tackles. He started all 13 games as a sophomore, but his productivity was underwhelming with 27 tackles and six tackles for loss. Simmons subsequently transferred to Southern Cal and in this past season, recording 44 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. Simmons doesn't quite qualify as a bust, but, given his press clippings coming out of high school, is not far from it.