Raider Power Mailbag

RaiderPower.com reporter Zach Tanner joins senior writer Joe Yeager and publisher Jarret Johnson to answer questions from subscribers about Texas Tech football, basketball, baseball and recruiting.

jaburrs: Do you think this fall we're set to see a completely different offensive ideology? (Essentially an offense that involves zero subs and we have some guys who can play multiple positions.)

Joe: That sounds pretty radical. I'm sure certain skill position players will pull double duty, but you've simply got to have a rotation in the line. I imagine coach Hays will play a minimum of seven linemen and he'd probably like to play nine.

Zach: Not necessarily, I think it'll look about the same. Keeping guys like Lauderdale fresh will be important, if your offense involves zero subs you can't send a guy like Lauderdale on too many go routes while he's on the field. I do think there will be more wrinkles thrown in for Mahomes to take advantage of his speed.

Jarret: I get where you are going with this, but I think more than anything Tech is looking for speedy, shifty guys who know how to make plays with the ball in their hands at running back and inside receiver. I think that's why you are seeing guys recruited who can play both positions. The slot receiver at Tech is a glamour position a spot where you can really make a name for yourself and get to the league as Welker, Amendola and Amaro have.

RidinFearless: Even with the fact that this offense requires many wide-outs and slot guys are you concerned that we are we recruiting too many receivers? I thought we would put more early emphasis on defensive recruiting.

Joe: No, not concerned. I wouldn't even be concerned if Tech signed two more receivers. Any more than that, however, looks like overkill and neglect of the defense. I'm hoping almost all of the remaining open scholarships are reserved for defensive guys.

Zach: No way. Jett, Thomas, and the two JUCO receivers will all be early enrollees and count towards the 2015 class. There are still plenty of spots for the defense. You also need to take high school receivers so there's not a shortage when the two JUCOs graduate.


TECHAWL: In your opinion, which current commit is the most important to the recruiting class that is not a QB or DT and why? Which one are we most concerned about losing?

Joe: Good big guys, linemen, are always important, because God doesn't make all that many of them. And since you took away the DT option, I'm going with Pancotti as the most important recruit currently in the fold. And I'm sure his presence alone will result in a much better athletic buffet than currently exists. The linguini! The gnocchi! The arrabiata! As far as any fear about losing a current commit, as far as I'm aware, all of these guys are solid right now. But people will be coming after Jett Duffey, especially if Tech struggles in 2015.

Jarret: Joe picked a good with Pancotti, so I'll go with Donte Coleman. He's a big target Tech desperately needs (along other recent additions) to augment the smaller guys who thrive on operating in space. Simply put, Coleman is a guy you can throw it up to and be confident he will come down with the ball because he's simply a better athlete than most on the field. That will still be the case at the Big 12 level because he's that talented.

As far as guys who might decommit, I'd say Duffey of course, but Da'Leon Ward is another guy who will garner a lot of attention as one of the top running backs in DFW. Right now everybody appears solid.

CaptainPopsicle: Any news lately with Mitchell or Terry? Seems like we had the fast track to recruiting these guys with both have strong connections to the program, but I haven't heard anything lately on either.

Jarret: McKinley Mitchell and family have moved to Winter Park, Florida. Mitchell has been hard to get ahold of, but the last interview I saw didn't look good. I believe Terry is down to Tech and OU. Most "experts" say OU is the leader, but I honestly believe they say that because of OU's pedigree more than anything else. I have interviewed Terry a couple times and will try again soon.


RAIDERIVEY: Any official word on if J.F. Thomas will be in Lubbock in June with all of the other Freshman or is he headed to a JUCO?

Jarret: I don't have an official word, but Thomas reportedly double-signed with Tech and Trinity Valley Community College. Thomas always had some work to do to get qualified. It is my understanding the target date is August. We'll have to see what happens with his situation.

WreckEm07: I believe silent commits are the bigfoot of recruiting, but are they really out there? If so, can you name any players who have outright said they did this?

Jarret: Yes, I've known of a couple. Tech had one last year where the player committed, but told the staff they wanted to keep it under wraps until after he visited another school the following weekend. The player even told his HS coaches about it, which is how I found out. The prospect visited the other school, was offered and committed there.

It can go both ways though. Sometimes a school will have an "agreement" with a player without offering so they can pursue other players higher up their board. If the school gets the player or players higher up the board they will simply ignore the silent commit, if they don't they make the offer.

jaburrs: Also, can we start call this a "throwback" recruiting class yet? I was perusing through some of Leach's old classes, littered with 2* guys. Seems like this is what got us to the promise land. Are we focusing on guys who fit our system, and we don't give a damn what people think now?

Joe: I think the primary focus is making dam' sure Tech signs a full class. Coming up far short in numbers last time 'round is hard to excuse, and it could hurt. The strategy this year seems to be to load up on players you have a legitimate shot of actually signing, and then hope that with a successful season on the field, you can round out with a few blue chippers. The learning curve in action, right before our very eyes.

Zach: I don't think Tech is going after "system" guys in lieu of blue chips - far from it. They've offered a sixth of the Scout 300. Those guys are just taking their time. Of the 50 Scout 300 prospects that Texas Tech has offered, only 12 have committed. Of the remaining 38, just skimming the list, Tech is high up on the list of Obi Eboh, Maxs Tupai, Andrew Fitzgerald, T.J. Vasher, Levi Onwuzurike, Marvin Terry, and Camron Williams.

This class just looks like Tech wanted to take some early enrollee guys to count against last year's class, and are laying off the blue-chip-or-bust strategy of last year. They're offering more of the not-so-highly-ranked prospects, sure, but those are guys that have graded out highly for the coaches (Armstrong and Cox-Wesley among others were offered on the spot after being evaluated in person). If you trust in the coaching staff's evaluation capabilities then that is very encouraging for this class.

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