Looking Good/Needs Work

Texas Tech is on its way to landing a large 2016 signing class with 19 commits on board, but still has work to do in some need areas. The following is the first in a four-part series looking at which positions the Red Raiders are still recruiting heavily, and the prospects being recruited to fill those slots. RaiderPower.com also takes a look at which positions the staff has seemingly wrapped up.

Texas Tech is up to 19 commits with 10 on offense and nine on defense following a flurry of action during the spring evaluation period and satellite camp circuit.

The Red Raiders have some wiggle room in terms of possibly over signing as a handful of the commits are expected to be early enrolees and can be counted back toward what was a light, in terms of numbers, 2015 recruiting class.

That's good because Tech needs some serious numbers this cycle in what has generally been considered vital positions throughout the history of the game such as quarterback, offensive line and defensive line.

This four-part series will take a look at two positions each story; one that has already filled up its quota and another in which the staff still has work to do starting with quarterback and offensive line.

One could make a strong argument Tech should sign two quarterbacks this class to help make up for not getting one in 2015 but I am not one of those people for several reasons.

First off, Tech has three relatively young Division I caliber quarterbacks already on the roster in junior Davis Webb, sophomore Patrick Mahomes and redshirt sophomore walk-on Nic Shimonek. Meaning, by the time a 2016 signee hits campus all three will have eligibility remaining.

For Texas Tech head coach/offensive coordinator/QB coach Kliff Kingsbury this is easily the best quarterback situation he has known at Tech after starting freshmen in 17 of his 25 games his first two seasons back on the South Plains.

Kingsbury has also made it clear he only wants elite guys behind center. He inherited Webb in the 2013 class, signed Mahomes, the Associated Press Player of the Year in Texas and Max Preps National Athlete of the Year as a senior in high school, had a five-star blue-chip prospect committed until late in the 2015 recruiting cycle and now has a commitment from dual-threat quarterback Jett Duffey.

Duffey is rated as a three-star prospect by Scout, ranked as the No. 8 quarterback in Texas and the No. 37 signal caller in the country. There is reason to believe his ranking could increase dramatically by the time National Signing Day arrives as Duffey qualified for the Elite 11 finals and The Opening, taking place this week, with stellar performances in regional tournaments in New Orleans and Charlotte.

He also emerged as perhaps the top performer in the Elite 11 semifinals in Los Angeles in June.

The elite performances in camps are great, but more importantly the guy performs when the lights come on. Duffey tallied 2,259 yards, 20 touchdowns passing and 1,103 yards, 19 scores rushing to lead Mansfield Lake Ridge to the third round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs.

In other words, it appears Kingsbury has his elite dual-threat quarterback for the class wrapped up.

Besides, many of the quarterbacks who might be deemed elite have already committed elsewhere. In fact according to Scout, 20 of the top 25 quarterbacks in the country have already given their verbal and every signal caller Tech has offered is committed.

Texas Tech returns an accomplished, senior-laden starting offensive line in 2015, but depth is a serious problem. So much so that as many as four of the five second-team offensive linemen at the Midland scrimmage were walk-ons.

The Red Raiders signed two offensive linemen in the 2014 class--Robert Castaneda and Justin Murphy--both of whom redshirted last season but appear to be players according to the coaching staff.

Then Tech went out and signed six offensive linemen in the 2015 class, headlined by four-star tackles Madison Akamnonu and Conner Dyer.

Despite the haul in the previous class, Tech still needs numbers up front in the 2016 cycle. The thought is the staff will take five offensive linemen.

The Red Raiders have two solid commitments from Lubbock Coronado's Emoree Giddens and Houston Episcopal's Gio Pancotti.

Giddens is noted for being a standout on the basketball court and projects as a tackle due to his athleticism, but will have to bulk up to play at the next level.

Pancotti is a masher who is ranked as the No. 8 guard in Texas. His 6-foot-6 frame suggests he could add significant weight and not lose much quickness.

The two commits leaves three offensive lineman spots open. Of the 30 offers Tech has extended this cycle, 16 are already committed. Of the 14 remaining, I have selected a handful to keep an eye on and have also pegged three targets who the staff have not offered yet, but might in the future.

link text Auwae told RaiderPower.com in a relatively recent article that Tech has made him its top offensive lineman priority and it's easy to see why. Auwae is looked at as an elite interior lineman who can play either center or guard with a nice combination of lateral quickness and punch power.

Landing Auwae would go a long way toward solidifying the offensive line class, but the Red Raiders will have to fend off virtually every West Coast school to do so. Auwae plans on taking two trips to Lubbock this fall so there is legitimate hope.

RaiderPower.com reporter Alyssa Chrisope interviewed the three-star prospect from Broken Bow (OK) earlier this week and Tech is definitely in the mix. Frederick has family who lives in town. Tech is also currently his only power five offer. Rowdy said he plans on visiting this summer.

If Oklahoma or Oklahoma State offers all bets are off.

Hermanns projects as an offensive tackle or even perhaps a defensive end. RaiderPower.com interviewed Hermanns after he visited in May and he said he and the coaching staff had established a bond.

Hermanns holds about 10 offers currently and will definitely garner more attention, but I expect Tech to be in the mix.

Bruffy is another athletic guy with a large 6-foot-7 frame he can grow into. Tech is the first and currently, only, power five school to offer him, though many are in touch and slow playing him. Bruffy told RaiderPower.com in a recent article he is taking notice of the way schools are recruiting him and it could play a role in his decision.

Bruffy is expected to visit later this month and I would not be surprised if he committed shortly after.

McCollum reminds me a lot of Bruffy, though he is slightly shorter. Tech offered him in June and he visited the campus just a week or so later. McCollum told RaiderPower.com he came away from the visit impressed, especially after watching a workout and checking out the facilities and uniforms.

McCollum also said he's going to take his time with his decision. I don't see Tech holding a spot for him, but if he changes his mind and commits soon or Tech has a scholarship open late then he could be a perfect fit.

Could offer?
Here are some other prospects the coaching staff has been in contact with, and who could receive an offer in the future:

Raider Power Top Stories