Several Texas Tech targets were featured in the Texas state championship games this year. One running back who will be a nationally-recruited prospect is Keaontay Ingram, a junior running back out of Carthage.
The 6-foot, 190-pound running back, who helped Carthage to the Class 4A Division I state championship this past season, is being recruited by Red Raider running backs coach DeShaun Foster. Ingram rushed for 2,225 yards and 31 touchdowns on more than seven yards per carry, and hauled in 46 passes for 475 yards and two TD's in 2016 after
"My recruitment's going pretty good," Ingram said. "Coach Foster says he's going to try to get me to a basketball game, get me on the campus and stuff like that. That's the last time I heard from him [because of the dead period]."
The Red Raiders have always stood out to Ingram, even before his name became widely known among Texas recruiting circles.
"Texas Tech, to me, has always been an outstanding program. I've more known them for the offense that they've had. They've just always been a top school of mine that I've liked since I was a little kid. I've always had my eye on them."
Ingram discussed his connections to Texas Tech.
"I know a guy from Tenaha, Reginald Davis. Then, Carthage played Patrick Mahomes when he was at Whitehouse, they beat us when we won state in '13. They gave us our only L that year. Jakeem Grant, I never played against him, but I've heard of him."
The junior running back was asked about the differences between his offense at Carthage and the uptempo attack at Texas Tech.
"I think we pound the rock a little bit more, we run more of a pro-style offense. But Texas Tech does pound the rock, and I like that they get the ball to the backs in open space."
Ingram discussed Carthage's tough journey to the playoffs. The Bulldogs finished 3rd in their district behind Kilgore and Henderson, but began a hot streak midseason that never stopped.
"You know, the journey was tough. At the beginning of the season, we started off pretty strong, and then we entered district 0-2. People were asking if we would even make the playoffs. We knew what we had to capitalize on, we knew what we were doing wrongs. We've fought, and we've been in close games all season. 70% of our games have been close games, especially in the playoffs playing tough teams. Our coach just preached survive and advance, regardless of if you win by 30 or by 1. And it paid off with a state championship, because we had been in a dogfight the whole year."
Carthage again faced adversity in the state title game against Abilene Wylie, coming back from a 14-point deficit to ultimately win the championship 31-17.
"There were a lot of people, and that's something that we're not new to. When we were down 0-14, nobody was panicking because we had been under that pressure, that predicament, many times throughout the season. We weren't new to that. I think that had a great effect on us."
Does the state champion running back prospect have any plans this offseason?
"Same old, same old. Work hard. Probably go to a couple camps. I think the Opening, too. I got invited to the Opening regional and I'll try to go to that whenever that is."
What about a timeline for making a decision in his recruitment?
"No sir, not at all. Just taking it day by day."
Ingram has been offered by TCU and Missouri, and reports interest from Texas A&M, Texas, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt, among others.