Fans Should Not Panic Over Texas Tech Football 2018 Class Ranking

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 25: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 25: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The 2018 Texas Tech football recruiting class has been ranked last in the Big 12 and just 79th in the nation by however, fans should dig deeper into the reasons why before they start to panic.

With this week’s National Signing Day for college football recruits in the books many fans are now voicing concerns over the low ranking the Texas Tech football class has received.  Tech’s class comes in as the lowest ranked in the conference and 79th overall, behind such prestigious programs as Temple, Arkansas State and Texas-San Antonio causing the South Plains to be overrun with Chicken Littles.

However, a closer look at the Red Raiders’ 2018 class reveals that the situation is not as bleak as many fear.

The main reason that this Texas Tech recruiting class is ranked so low is because it is very small.  Recruiting services assign a numerical value to each individual recruit.  Their final class rankings are based on a total number of points accumulated by each team.

So in theory, a team that signed 25 players rated as just 2.0 prospects would have a better signing class than a school that signed twelve 4.0 rated recruits.  This is a fallacy because the likelihood that most of the former school’s 2.0 recruits turing out to be more impactful than the 4.0 signees of the latter school is miniscule.

The Red Raiders graduated only 14 seniors from the 2017 class (2017 senior Ja’Deion High was granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA for 2018) and lost only one junior, Keke Coutee, to early entrance into the NFL Draft.

That meant that the 2018 class needed to be small.  College football teams are allowed to have only 85 scholarship athletes on the roster at any given time so Texas Tech simply did not have room to add a large class.

For comparison, consider that Texas Tech signed two fewer players than any other team in the Big 12.  Texas signed the most (27) while West Virginia (25) and Oklahoma State (24) also had huge classes meaning their classes were ranked very high.

Another reason for discord coming from fans is centered around that notion that the players the Red Raiders signed are not as high of quality on an individual basis than the players the program is accustomed to bringing in.  However, that is not the case.

This year, the average rating for each Texas Tech signee is 2.83.  While that ranks only ninth in the Big 12, it is in line with Texas Tech signing classes from recent years.

For example, the 2017 class had an average player rating of 2.64 but was ranked 7th overall in the Big 12.    Moreover, Kingsbury’s previous five classes (2013-17) has had an average player raking of 2.72 meaning the 2018 class is right in line with what Tech has been bringing in.  If all six of Kingsbury’s classes were to be rated by player average, this year’s class would be second best behind just 2016.

One final complaint to address about the 2018 class is the imbalance between offense and defense.  This year’s class is unusual in that Tech signed only four defensive players as compared to 13 on offense.

While this may seem like an awful decision by the coaching staff, there was logic in their thinking.  With such a small class, the coaches had to be selective with their scholarships and make sure that they reinforced the roster at positions lacking depth.

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The 2017 team lost three offensive linemen, five receivers and two running backs.  Therefore, ten scholarships are required just to replenish those numbers.

Also, Kingsbury has made it a priority to sign a full offensive line class (4 or 5 signees) every year to ensure that the numbers up front don’t drop to dangerously low levels like they have been in recent seasons when the team did not have enough offensive linemen on the team to have two separate units for spring practice.

The roster numbers are far better on the defensive line.  Tech graduated just two defensive linemen from last year.  Meanwhile, the seven 2016 defensive line signees are now ready to contribute as redshirt sophomores.

Likewise, Tech has reinforced its defensive backfield and linebacking corps in recent classes.  Tech signed four linebackers in 2016 and three in 2017 while adding nine defensive backs in those two classes combined.

Ideally, the Red Raider coaching staff would like to have each signing class add players at every position group.  However, a class of 17 players simply does not allow that to happen.  So in 2018, the coaches decided to address immediate needs knowing that the defense returns ten starters this year and will lose only three or four key players after this season.

Ultimately, the 2018 Texas Tech football signing class is on par with the other classes in the program’s recent history.  While no one is suggesting that the group will go down in history as a class for the ages, this class is functional and pragmatic.

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On the other hand, fans have expected more from Kingsbury when it comes to recruiting.  He’s had  struggles on the recruiting trail and for Texas Tech to move forward as a program, he must bring in better classes.  However, fans that feel like the 2018 class is a harbinger of impending doom need to take a deep breath and realize that the class is different and unique but it isn’t a catastrophe.