Texas Tech may have just one linebacker spot in 2017, and a 6-foot-3, 195-pound under-the-radar prospect may fit the bill for it. Odessa Permian safety/outside linebacker hybrid Preston Ellison Preston Ellison has been evaluated by the Texas Tech coaching staff repeatedly since the open contact period started.
"Coach (Joe) Robinson and coach (Zac) Spavital came and talked to me about four times at school, and coach Kingsbury came by to see me once. Coach Robinson asked me for a questionnaire that coach Kingsbury needed the other day. Those are the coaches I'm really hearing from."
Ellison was invited out to Saturday's junior day by the coaching staff during one of those visits.
"The first time they came and talked to me was in January, coach Robinson had told me that they were going to invite me to the junior day in the future. The third time they came and saw me, in February, they invited me and said it was coming up. They sent me the junior day invitation poster with my name on it. They said it was going to be an exclusive junior day and they wanted me to be a part of it."
The tweener is admittedly lightweight, but has the frame to add serious weight. He was very productive as a junior Permian last season, racking up 96 tackles including nine for loss, nine pass breakups and an interception he returned for a pick-six on the way to being named a 2nd-team all-district player.
Texas Tech has major appeal for the West Texas defender.
"I've got a bunch of friends up there, and they've all told me that they love it. Just the coaches, how they've treated me and talked to me, I can just tell that they're more of a hip program, you know? They're still strict, but they want to have fun too which I really like."
Proximity and ambience play in Tech's favor with the prospect as well.
"I like that it's two hours from home because it gets me somewhere out there but I can come home if I need to. From what everybody's told me, it's a great school. I've been there for a couple games and the atmosphere is really nice."
Ellison believes an offer might be close, from what the coaches have told him.
"Coach Robinson said that coach Spavital, the recruiting coordinator, they're really harping on me really hard right now and scouting me really hard. He said he'd be really surprised if they didn't offer me sometime soon."
So if Texas Tech were to extend an offer, what would that mean for his recruitment?
"Well I don't want to rush anything, but I'd definitely be pretty excited about them offering me because that is one of the top schools that I want to go to. I don't want to rush anything though, because I don't want to jeopardize my word. My word is my bond, and I don't want to be that kid that decommits. It just depends. The time will come."
Ellison is hearing from various programs aside from Texas Tech.
"I'm supposed to go to Tulsa on the 25th and I'm supposed to be hearing from SMU, but they haven't talked to me about a junior day yet. I was hearing from Purdue also. That's about it for right now."