New Texas Tech football staff jumps on 2020 recruiting class early

PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 3: Head coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies looks on from the sidelines during their game against Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on October 3, 2014 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images )
PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 3: Head coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies looks on from the sidelines during their game against Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on October 3, 2014 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images ) /

The new Texas Tech football coaching staff appears to be taking a much different approach than their predecessors on the recruiting trail by extending offers to far more prospects early in the game.

Though we are not even three months into the Matt Wells era of Texas Tech football, one huge difference between the new Texas Tech football head coach’s philosophy and that of Kliff Kingsbury’s is already apparent.  When it comes to the recruiting trail,  Wells and his staff appear to be far more aggressive than their predecessors.

Since the end of the holiday dead period when coaches are not allowed to contact recruits or make in-person visits, Wells and his assistants have been all over the map trying to not only round out the 2019 class but laying the foundation for the 2020 class.

And it will be next year’s class that will truly tell the story of how wells the new coaches can recruit to Texas Tech.  This year’s class is going to be held together by duct tape and bubble gum as Wells has just weeks from the date of his hiring to develop relationships with the players already committed and try to identify new targets in a recruiting class that is largely picked over following the December signing window.

So let’s take a look at what Wells has already done in regards to next year’s class and compare his strategy to that of the Kingsbury staff.  According to, Texas Tech’s 2020 class has only one current commit, 3-star QB Wilson Long from Austin.  And being as he committed to the Red Raiders when Kingsbury was still on the job, his status must be considered tenuous at best.

But it is on the defensive side of the ball where Wells and his assistants are being far more aggressive.  Tech has already extended 18 offers to 2020 defensive prospects with the bulk coming in the secondary.

Currently, as many as seven 2020 corners and six safeties have reported offers from the Red Raiders.  In the 2019 class, Tech offered fifteen corners and ten safeties and in 2018, it offered scholarships to just seven corners and 10 safeties.

However, it must be noted that in the 2018 class, Tech did not have as many available spots as in a normal class.  But in the four years that David Gibbs was coordinating the Red Raider defense, the highest number of corners to receive an offer in any class was 17 and the most safeties to get an offer was 13.

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The current staff has been working on the 2020 class for less than three weeks and they are on pace to blow past those numbers, especially considering that seven players listed as “athletes”, most of whom would likely be defensive backs for the Red Raiders, also hold 2020 offers. In fact, in just the past week at least ten defensive backs have reported offers from Tech.

This is a direct departure from the strategy of the previous staff, and especially Gibbs, who preferred to be patient when extending offers.  Gibbs was a proponent of seeing a prospect play or work out in person before offering and the logic behind that reasoning is understandable.

But that strategy is limiting for a program such as Texas Tech, which is not a blue-blood program.  Schools that carry tremendous weight simply because of the logo on their helmet can afford to be selective as they have their pick of four and five-star players.

However, schools of Tech’s caliber have to build strong relationships with recruits, especially the high-end prospects, in order to be able to compete with the blue-blood programs.  Far too often during the Kingsbury era, Tech spent considerable time focusing on just a handful of players at a given position and when they lost those recruiting battles, they were left empty-handed and were so far into the recruiting cycle that they had to scramble to fill those spots.  Had they been working on fostering relationships with a greater number of prospects, they would have been much better off.

Another interesting aspect of Tech’s 2020 recruiting strategy is that they are swinging for the fences with some top-end prospects.  Of the 55 prospects with a Tech offer according to 247Sports, 27 are either four or five-star prospects.

When Wells was hired, many fans were leery of the fact that he had never coached at Texas school.  Many wondered if he would be able to do battle with other programs led by coaching staffs that have been in the state for years, and in some cases decades.

But he has a handful of assistants who have been recruiting Texas for most of their careers.  Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson spent some time coaching at Allen High School in the early 2000’s and has maintained strong ties to the state.  Likewise, offensive coordinator David Yost was a frequent recruiter of Texas during his lengthy run at Missouri.  And new safeties coach Kerry Cooks plucked plenty of stars out of the Lone Star State when at Oklahoma.

While it is yet to be seen whether he can improve Tech’s overall ability to recruit, it is apparent that he has put together a staff that is hitting the trail hard.  As we have seen with Chris Beard and his basketball staff, the key to recruiting to Texas Tech is to grind away at the process and leave no stone unturned.  If the early weeks of the Wells era have shown us anything, it is that he might fit that same mold.