Texas Tech Recruiting: Players That Exceeded Expectations

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Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) catches a pass during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Wes Welker

Another player who signed before star rankings became the gospel of college recruiting is “The Natural,” Wes Welker.

Despite being named the Oklahoma H.S. Player of the Year after his senior season, Welker had no scholarship offers from Division 1 schools. Another player considered too small for college football, Welker turned into a superstar at Texas Tech. However, it was fate that brought Welker to Tech. On National Signing Day 2000, Texas Tech had a player back out of his commitment. The next week, Welker was offered and accepted a scholarship to play for Mike Leach.

During his time at Tech, Welker had 259 receptions for 3,019-yards and 21 touchdowns. He also is tied for the record of most all-time NCAA punt return TDs with eight. His most famous return can be seen below despite the fact that when it happened, it couldn’t be seen on by anyone who wasn’t at the stadium.

Welker was undrafted by the NFL but as a one-time rookie free agent, he has played 11 years in the NFL amassing 9,539 receiving yards and 49 TDs. He currently holds the NFL record for: Most 100 catch seasons (5), Most 120 catch seasons (2), Most games with 15+ receptions (2), Fastest receiver to 500 receptions with one team (New England), and the most receptions of any undrafted player in NFL history.

The kid who was too small and too slow for Division 1 schools has been to five Pro Bowls and will be a strong candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame when his career ends.