But truth be told, the ecstatic surprises and the crushing disappointments are relatively rare. In the vast majority of cases, the players sign with the schools to which they are pledged heading in to National Signing Day. There are exceptions, however. And that being the case, Raiderpower.com takes a brief look at three dramatic incidents in Texas Tech’s recent football recruiting history.
Texas Tech had a very good recruiting class in 2011, but it could have been quite a bit better. Hence, late in January, Tommy Tuberville received a pledge from defensive back Marcus Roberson out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He was rated one of the top five defensive backs in the nation by most recruiting services. And it was a bit of a surprise that Tech managed to pull such a prime recruit from SEC country, but the Red Raiders had an ace in the hole, in Otis Mounds, Roberson’s uncle who was a Tech graduate assistant recently promoted to cornerbacks coach. Alas, blood was not thicker than water in this case, as Roberson decommitted to Auburn, and then again to Florida, where he eventually signed. Tech fervently hoped Roberson would reconsider on National Signing Day, but it never happened. Now he is with the St. Louis Rams.
This linebacker from Aldine Eisenhower was considerably less touted in 2010 than was Roberson in 2011, but a coach will take any switch he can get on National Signing Day. Hubert, who had been committed to Iowa State for four months pulled the rug out from under the Cyclones and signed with Texas Tech. He quickly established himself as a big hitter in the Red Raider football program, but was eventually dismissed for the obligatory “team rules violations.” Hubert landed at Southeast Louisiana where he became Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, an AFCA All American, and a member of the Butkus Award watch list.
For the 2008 signing class, Mike Leach and his staff hit the state of Arkansas hard. Initially, this strategy paid off when Tech received a commitment from Camden, Arkansas defensive end Brian Christopher. But the real prize was four-star wideout Jarius Wright of Warren, Arkansas, and to a lesser extent, Christopher’s Camden teammate, tackle Lavunce Askew. Wright, who was being courted furiously by Arkansas rookie coach Bobby Petrino, gave Tech fans every reason to believe the Red Raiders had a great shot at him, although he never pledged to Tech. But, on National Signing Day, Wright broke many a heart when he signed with Arkansas. And not only that, but Christopher flipped to Arkansas, and Askew signed with the Hogs as well. Arkansas slammed the door in Tech’s face, and Tech has never again made Arkansas a priority.
As an aside, Askew was kicked out of the Hog program following theft charges, while Wright became a star and now plays for the Minnesota Vikings.