December 28, 2007

Level & Strebeck's Recruiting Mailbag

Q: Now that Omar Castillo will be on scholarship starting next month will he count against our 2008 scholarship limit?

A: Yes, that was the plan all along which is why he hasn't enrolled until now.

Q: Seeing that we missed out on Swanson Miller the signing of Broderick Marshall becomes that much more important from a defensive tackle standpoint. How much work does he have ahead of him (i.e. school work) to make it to Lubbock this summer? Are we looking at another Brandon Sharpe situation with him (will have to attend summer school etc.) or not?

A: He certainly has some work left to do, but it isn't near as much as what Sharpe had in front of him at this point last year. The Red Raiders are fully expecting him to be a part of the mix next season.

Q: Whatever happened to OL Sidney Nwangwu - the guy has fallen off the recruiting radar screen?

A: No one has talked to Nwangwu in a while but he'd still be a quality prospect for someone. We wouldn't be surprised to see Texas Tech revisiting that situation if Joe King and/or a few other options decided to sign elsewhere.

Q: When will be the first recruiting weekend in January? Should we expect many recruits visiting the weekend of the football banquet? Which weekend is the football banquet?

A: There is no longer a banquet weekend here. Texas Tech did away with that a few years ago. The first weekend when you can begin hosting visitors is on January 11th and we'd expect visitors in for sure on that weekend.

Q: Do you think we will take any other 2 star recruits this year? In the past there have always been 8+ and as Cody (Davis) is our only 2 star to date, this would be significant seemingly.

A: Not sure about the "what if" part of this question, but the precedent for this class has been set since the spots are limited. At this point it has to be at least doubtful that the Red Raiders would take a prospect down the stretch that can't help them right away unless its an offensive lineman. It just doesn't seem likely at this point. The last six official visits have all been from four-star prospects, so what we draw from that is that Tech is looking for serious playmakers with their last few spots.

Q: Cornerback is a big need for the 2009 class. Who are Tech's primary prospects and has the coaching staff offered anyone?

A: Look for Texas Tech to take three to four defensive backs in 2009, so it will somewhat of a focus for that class. To date the Red Raiders have early offered only two defensive backs: Kevin Brent of South Oak Cliff and Craig Loston of Aldine Eisenhower, but that list will surely grow after they've wrapped up the 2008 class.

Q; Out of the 15 recruits named on the Wish List can you speak specifically to the 4-5 you think will sign with Tech in February?

A: It's really hard to say which of the wideouts Texas Tech will land, but we feel like they'll end up with someone that everyone will be happy with. They have too many irons in the fire right now to come up empty. Could that happen? Sure it could, but right now it doesn't look likely. They'll end up with a game breaking wideout of some sort and it isn't limited to this list because the month of January can be crazy. The same can be said about defensive line help as well. It's hard to say who but there are a lot of things working. They'll end up with an offensive lineman and if that isn't Joe King they'll get someone they want. We suspect that they'll also end up with either D'Anton Lynn or Keanon Cooper. You'll win some and you'll lose some but landing four to five prospects off of the list we posted would be considered a huge finish for Texas Tech no matter who or what position they play."

Q: When you take into account the current roster and the current commitments what are the positions that you see that would be best to fill with the remaining scholarships? In other words, do we need more HS LB's in this class, more DB's, etc, etc?

A: I wouldn't take a linebacker in this class with the limited number of scholarships you have available unless he could play right away like J.R. Bryant could. Sources have told us that Bryant is the only linebacker that Texas Tech has actively recruited and is in on that could help right away. Even though this unit loses Paul Williams, Chad Hill and Kellen Tillman to graduation there is plenty of talent there that Ruffin McNeill likes. Think of a healthy Blake Collier and redshirt freshmen Sam Fehoko and Tyrone Sonier as your linebacker signees if the Red Raiders cannot land Bryant. Add those players to Marlon Williams, Victor Hunter, Brian Duncan, Julius Howard, Bront Bird and Ryan Hale and it's a position that already has numbers where others just do not and limited spots dictate that those spots will be used on someone else.

As far as defensive backs go, it's a position that seems like it has some depth there but in reality it might not be as deep as once thought, especially at safety. Joe Garcia will be lost to graduation but you'll still have Darcel McBath as well as Anthony Hines and Daniel Charbonnet. However the danger there is that they are all headed into their senior season next year so depth in a year or so won't be as plentiful. Then you have to ask yourself if LaShawn Vation will ever crack the rotation here? What about Franklin Mitchem's past injuries? This is why it looks like the Red Raiders will attempt to take a safety type like D'Anton Lynn or Keanon Cooper if they can get them. Call it a hunch, but don't be surprised if they land at least one of them. Should the opportunity arise where both Lynn and Cooper make it clear they want their future to be at Texas Tech then it would sure be hard to picture Tech turning either one of them away.

Linebackers and defensive backs will be more of a focus in 2009, especially at safety for the above reasons if Tech cannot land Lynn or Cooper.

Q: Everybody knows by now about that big name receivers Tech is recruiting. Given that most of them won't likely make a decision until signing day or just before, it doesn't leave much time to get in on any secondary options if all of our primary targets choose other schools. Is Tech staying in contact with some possible alternatives that we haven't heard about, or will they be content to not take any receivers in this class if our primary targets don't pan out?

A: It's hard to say just who else Tech might have their eye on, because it seems like a blue-chip WR comes out just about every week these days and declares their interest in Tech, but you bring up an excellent point about most of these WR's deciding at the last minute. This is frequently the case with top-tier talent and is something that Tech knows they'll be dealing with more and more as their recruiting operation improves. If Tech can't land one of the receivers they've offered at this point, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see them go without one in this class. It just wouldn't make sense to take a receiver that can't help out immediately, because chances are they'll be able to find one of that caliber for next year's class, at which time that scholarship would come in pretty handy.

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