Q&A: Texas Tech LB Commit Brayden Stringer

Cypress Ranch standout linebacker and Red Raider commit Brayden Stringer discusses his injury status, recent visits from Texas Tech linebacker coach Zac Spavital, his upcoming official visit to the South Plains and the 2016 class' desire to flip the defensive culture in Lubbock.

Cypress Ranch linebacker Brayden Stringer was a unanimous selection as first team all-District 17-6A despite missing much of the season with a broken forearm. A Scout three-star prospect ranked as the No. 6 outside linebacker in Texas and No. 42 in the country, Stringer is the highest rated linebacker commit of the Tech's 2016 class.

RaiderPower.com caught up with Stringer for an interview Wednesday afternoon, a day before he planned to fly to Lubbock for his official visit.

Raider Power: What are you doing this spring? Are you able to participate in any sports?

Stringer: I'm not doing any sports this year. I played baseball last year. I was a PO (pitcher only). I quit that my junior year. I'm just going to be working out, be on the track, you know getting faster and just getting ready for college football, you know getting ready to go play for Texas Tech.

Raider Power: How's your arm doing? I know, let's see, you broke your forearm, is that correct?

Stringer: Yes sir. Yes sir, I snapped both the bones in my forearm. I currently have two metal plates and 12 screws, six screws in each bone, in my arm. I went to the doctor two days ago and one bone is completely healed and one bone is about 90 percent healed. It's almost completely healed. I'm allowed to lift full weight now. I have to stay away from contact sports for another 2.5-3 months and then after that I'm good to go. 

Raider Power: So you expect to be able to go full (contact) in fall camp and all that?

Stringer: Oh yeah for sure. I'll be 100 percent by then.

Raider Power: Did the doctor say anything about long term effects or did he or she expect you to be alright?

Stringer: The doctor thinks, he knows my bones should be stronger than they were before. I have metal plates in there now, my bones should be 100 percent healed, so it should be stronger in that area than it ever has and I should never be able to break it right in that spot again. I can break it below the metal plates or above the metal plates, but never right there again.

Raider Power: Which arm was it again?

Stringer: It was my left arm, my left forearm.

Raider Power: OK. And I think somebody on the staff asked you in a previous interview, but how did it happen?

Stringer: So basically it was a normal play. The running back was doing his normal inside run and tried to bounce outside. I just went to pursue and as I was pursuing the running back I had my left hand on him and I was kind of in a weird spot, I was kind of pinned up and had my left hand kind of pinned up and one of our safeties came down hill and put his helmet right in the side of my forearm and that's when I heard it snap. When I was on the ground my forearm looked kind of normal because it was laying flat on the ground, but when I went to go get up off the ground my forearm just kind of fell in half and was broken.

Raider Power: Oh wow, that's horrible. 

Stringer: Yeah.

Raider Power: I'm sure you don't like to talk about that and I'm sure you have been asked about it a million times.

Stringer: It's all good. It happens, it's a part of football.

Raider Power: Yep, one last question about it and we can move on, but what was it like, because football like no other sport, for anybody who has ever played, when you're not playing you feel like you're not part of the team,

Stringer: Oh yeah.

Raider Power: What was it like for you with it being your senior year to have to sit on the sideline, just that experience?

Stringer: It sucked to end my senior year like that. No one wants to end their high school career like that, you know? Thankfully, I am playing college football and I am very thankful for that. It was more of a shock than anything else. I had never had an injury in my entire football career starting from third grade to now and it's like 'really I get hurt my senior year'. It kind of sucks, but you know everything does happen for a reason. You are playing a physical sport so I mean injuries do happen and you kind of have to realize that.

You can't sit around and pout about it. It does suck not getting to play with some of my best buddies, but also I'm on the sideline being a motivator, I have to still be a teammate. It was pretty fun getting to do that. You know it's a different view. You get to see everything from the sideline. You get a different perspective of everything.

Raider Power: What's your current height and weight, because we always get these conflicting reports.I like to get it from the person himself.

Stringer: I'm about 6-2 and three quarters, almost 6-3 and about 205 right now.

Raider Power: 205. OK. Is there a weight that any of the coaches have told you they want you to get to or a weight goal you're looking to get to before you get on campus?

Stringer: Yeah, they haven't really talked about a weight they want me at, they haven't really discussed weight at all. I don't know if they are worried about it all or not, but they just say you're going to put on weight in college, no doubt.

Raider Power: Well yeah. 

Stringer: The goal for me going to college... I'd like to be right around 215. That's what I want to come in at. We'll see how that goes, but that's kind of my goal.

Raider Power: Yeah, that sounds about right. Then as far as the coaches, I'm sure they have stopped by. Who has visited recently and how did it go?

Stringer: Coach [Zac] Spavital, he came to school the past couple weeks. he just stopped by just to check in. We just kind of talked about all the recruits and just saying how the official visit is going to go and just checking in on the family and seeing how I'm doing and how everything is going at school. This second semester, I'm ready to get up there of course and we just chat like two normal people. You know that's the good thing about Coach Spav, he's a player's coach. It's not always about football, it's personal, too which is a good thing.

Raider Power: What did Coach Spavital say about your official visit? Anything that stood out that you're excited about?

Stringer: Yeah, I don't know if it's normally like this, but we do have 16 other players (CLICK HERE for the full confirmed visitor's list) who will be there at the same time so I'm excited to get up there and meet all those guys in person and really get to know them. That's what I'm looking forward to the most, being around those guys, you know sit around, chat, get to know their personal lives and how everything's going this year.

Raider Power: You visited for the season opener, but did you ever get back to Lubbock during the season?

Stringer: No, I never got to go back. I never got to go to another game out in Lubbock.

Raider Power: Is there anything about Lubbock, because with the official you really get more time more than anything to check out the town, the school and everything. Is there anything you want to check out about Lubbock or the campus or facilities or anything that you didn't get to on the first visit?

Stringer: The coaches did pretty good about showing me around the area and of course the athletic facilities, that was the main part. They showed me that pretty well. I know most of the stuff there. Now I'm sure I'll travel around more this time, get outside of campus. Besides that I'm mainly going to be there to hang out with the guys and have a good time. I'm starting to get familiar with the area so I'm sure I don't know everything yet, but it's starting to get more familiar. It's mainly just to go up there be with a bunch of the recruits and get to know them.

Raider Power: Is anybody coming with you? Any family or are you meeting up with any of the fellow commits on the way in?

Stringer: I'm actually flying down tomorrow (Thursday). I'm going to be with a buddy. And then my parents are coming on Friday because that's when the actual official starts. 

Raider Power: You said a buddy. is he a fellow recruit or just a buddy going along with you for the ride?

Stringer: Nah, he's a buddy. He's going there as a student. He actually played linebacker with me last year.

Raider Power: Ah OK. Any events or anything about the official standing out? Any kind of dinner or gear you know you'll get to try on or is there anything you're looking forward to other than just hanging out with the fellas?

Stringer: Yeah, I mean the food. I'm trying to think of the name of the restaurant. I think it's Spanky's or the one that...

Raider Power: Yes, Spanky's. That's it.

Stringer: I want to go there again. I haven't been there since my first unofficial I took. I'm excited to go there. I want to get some more of those cheese sticks again, those are pretty damn good.

Raider Power: They are, man.

Stringer: That's probably one of the main places I want to go when I get there.

Raider Power: That's a Lubbock and Tech institution. I don't know if you like these but they have some monster fried mushrooms, too to go with it. It's not exactly healthy but..

Stringer: Aw, I love mushrooms. 

Raider Power: They're really good, they're ginormous and very good.

Stringer: OK, I'll have to try those.

Raider Power: Yeah, but you definitely still have to get the cheese sticks or logs I should say,

Stringer: Yeah, logs, there you go. That's a better word (laughs).

Raider Power:  We interviewed Picone recently who said y'all are pretty tight along with the other linebacker commits. Is there anything you could add to that?

Stringer: I don't know we just kind of clicked from the beginning. I talked to Houston, met Kevin Moore, I actually met Kevin for the first time in Houston. Him and John actually came down before they even committed and that's when I first met those two and they're both pretty cool guys, we kind of clicked from the beginning. I'm interested to hang out with John and get his opinion on how things are going. You know he's up there right now (as an early enrollee) so I'll get a little intel from that.

Raider Power: I don't want to ignore the fact Tech struggled mightily on defense last season. Everybody saw what happened. What do you talk about, because y'all are obviously bringing in a lot of numbers on that side of the ball, but what do y'all talk about as far as does last season concern you or are you talking about how you can change it? What's the message there?

Stringer: I think every guy in our recruiting class has the same mindset. We want to be known as that class that came in and changed Tech's defense, that we flipped it around. We want to be that class known for that. We want to go out there no matter who we are playing, I don't care what your name is, how big you are, we're gonna go kick your ass on the field and that's all that matters. I think everybody is just excited to get up there. I think we have some real talent coming in for sure.

Raider Power: I have talked with several of the commits who have mentioned the group message on Twitter. How often do you frequent or get on that and talk with some of the fellas and when did you first hear about it?

Stringer: Well, we first made it pretty recently after we started getting a lot of commits. Once we started getting the numbers in we, I can't really remember who made the message at first, but after that everything just kind of fell into place and started adding more players who ended up committing. Now we have 25-26 commits. It's ridiculous, but it's a massive group of kids. but it's a good time, kids are funny. We can talk about everybody's personal life, what's going on. It's good, it kind of helps keep up and keep track with everybody. That's basically what it's for. We get to chat, add new people and screw around like normal guys do.

Raider Power: (laughs) Alright, that's good stuff. You were heavily recruited when you committed to Tech and then you shut it down and were pretty adamant about it when you committed to Tech, but are you still hearing from other schools or have they backed off?

Stringer: Honestly, the only recent school that has really contacted me is A&M. I don't really know what A&M's doing, but even if A&M offered me I still would not decommit from Tech. I'm still 100-percent loyal. I don't care what anybody else says, I still think we're going to change Tech's defense for the better and it's going to be a good thing. They're really the only school that's messaged me after I kind of shut it down totally.

Raider Power: Then any thoughts about National Signing Day? Is it anti-climatic for you, something you just want to get done or are you excited about it?

Stringer: Oh, I am so excited. I want it to get here as soon as possible and just soak in that whole day. You only get to do this one time in your entire life so I am excited for that day. It's mixed emotions; I'm ready to sign and then you're going to leave all your buddies from high school so it's mixed emotions, but mostly I'm excited. I'm just ready to sign and get up to Tech as soon as I can.

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