Jace Amaro, Eric Ward, Kerry Hyder, Dartwan Bush, Tre Porter and Will Smith. All of these guys were statistical leaders on Texas Tech’s 2013 squad. All of them now graduated and moving on.
Some of them have replacements already on the team, but some of them leave behind enormous holes that will need to be filled (and soon) by new signees. Here’s how we see the new crop of recruits shaking out from an immediate playing time standpoint.
Recruits Most Likely to Play Immediately
Robert: Nigel Bethel, freshman, CB
Besides nose guard, cornerback is the shallowest position on the team in terms of proven talent. The most experienced cornerback on the team is sophomore Justis Nelson, who’s only made three starts. Behind him there’s no one with starting experience. So there’s never been a better time for a blue-chip defensive high school recruit like Nigel Bethel to come in and play (maybe start) right away. Maybe that’s why we landed him.
Shelby: Rika Levi, transfer, DL
Levi is a huge DT, and with Hyder leaving, that opens up a spot on the line. It also helps that he’s not coming out of high school, but played at College of San Mateo in California, so he has experience. Tech has also placed a huge emphasis on a strong defense with the new coaching staff, so I think he’ll get immediate opportunity to start – no need to waste that talent.
Austin: Payton Hendrix, freshman, S
Hendrix gets the nod because he has the body size you want out of a defensive back coming straight out of high school looking to make plays. All the attention is going to be on guys like Nigel Bethel and Justis Nelson which will give Payton a chance to make a huge impact as teams try to shift who they throw to. This defense lacked a pick-6 last year and Hendrix could very well be the man who is put in a lot of prime spots to come up with turnovers.
Patrick: Jakari Dillard, freshman, WR
Dillard could very well be the best player of the incoming class. The Red Raiders lost their two best receivers from a season ago with Jace Amaro and Eric Ward leaving for the NFL. Dillard may be a bit lanky but he is as fluid a route runner as I have seen coming out of high school. He has excellent hands and is superb at catching passes in traffic.
New Recruits Rank Order by Playing Time Potential
What do you think? Where did we get it wrong? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.