Texas Tech football: Concerns growing over 2019 class as signing day nears

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 24: Head Coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies walks off the field at the conclusion of second half action against the Boise State Broncos on November 24, 2018 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 33-24. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)
BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 24: Head Coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies walks off the field at the conclusion of second half action against the Boise State Broncos on November 24, 2018 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 33-24. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images) /

As the February 6th National Signing Day for college football prospects nears, many Texas Tech football fans are growing concerned about the quality of the 2019 class, which is currently one of the worst of any Power 5 school in the country.

One week from today, the traditional National Signing Day for high school football prospects will arrive.  Though the significance of the February signing day has been significantly diminished by the advent of an early signing window in December, the first Wednesday in February remains an important date on the recruiting calendar.  But for Texas Tech football fans, this year’s signing day might be somewhat difficult to swallow.

That is because it is looking more and more likely that the Red Raiders are destined to sign a very underwhelming class in 2019, which does not come as a complete shock after the firing of Kliff Kingsbury in late November, just one month before the early signing window.

At that time, Tech had nineteen players verbally committed to join the program comprising a class ranked by most recruiting services in the mid-40’s nationally and in the middle of the pack in the Big 12.  But after a number of defections in the days following Kingsbury’s dismissal, Tech signed only 11 players in December, second-fewest in the conference.

Tech’s current class is ninth overall in the Big 12 ahead of only Kansas.  What’s more, only five power 5 conference schools have classes ranked lower than Texas Tech at No. 63 overall.

And in the weeks since, new head coach Matt Wells and his staff have hit the recruiting trail with gusto but there has been little progress made towards building the current class as most of their efforts seem to be on getting jump start on future recruiting cycles.  It is believed that Texas Tech currently has as many as 14 scholarships that could be given out this year but there doesn’t seem to be any way that number is filled.

As best as I can piece together by looking at players who have reported Tech offers on social media, only nine players set to sign next week have been offered by Wells and his staff since the end of the holiday dead period when coaches can not call or visit recruits.  What’s more, about half of that group are already committed to other schools.

More from Wreck'Em Red

But over 25 players from the class of 2020 have already received offers from Texas Tech.  What’s more, as many as ten players from the 2021 class (sophomores in high school right now) have received offers.  There is nothing wrong with getting an early jump on future classes (in fact, that was one of the ways that the Kingsbury staff seemed to fail) but such a heavy emphasis on the next two years makes one wonder what the plan for this year will be.

After all, there are gaping holes at some critical position groups that need to be addressed in 2019.  For example, there is only one defensive back (Alex Hogan, a 3-star signee out of Houston) in the current class after three DB’s decomitted in the wake of Kingsbury’s termination.  That is concerning for a team that had the second-worst defense in the nation against the pass last year and lost three safeties including starters Jah’Shawn Johnson and Vaughnte Dorsey.

Another position group in desperate need of a talent infusion is the offensive line.  Last year, Tech ranked 9th in the Big 12 with just 132.6 rushing yards per game which makes addressing the o-line important given that new offensive coordinator David Yost ran the ball more than 50% of the time last year at Utah State.

But currently, Tech has only two offensive linemen committed.   Both Landon Peterson from Odessa and Trevor Roberson from Wellington are West Texas products which is great to see as that was another area in which Kingsbury came up short.

However, it is always best practice for each recruiting class to include no less than four offensive line signees.  But given that none of the players to report offers in recent weeks play on the o-line, it is hard to see how the staff puts together a full group up front this year.

Speaking of the ground game, the only running back in the current class is 5-foot-5 Chux Nwabuko, a walk-on from Hutto, Texas.  The Red Raiders are still in the mix for 3-star RB Velton Gardner, who committed to Kingsbury but has since been flirting heavily with other schools such as Kansas and Houston.  Though he never officially decomitted from Texas Tech, he is far from a solid commit and there is no guarantee that he will sign with Wells and his staff next week.

Let’s not overlook the defensive line as well.  The good news is that Tech has already signed 4-star DE Gilbert Ibeneme and will sign 3-star DE Tony Bradford Jr. next week.  The bad news is that there are no other defensive linemen currently committed.

The biggest prize still out there for Tech at any position is 4-star DE Steven Parker who was a long-time commit before Kingsbury was axed.  Born in Lubbock, the all-state player still has a grandmother and other family in Lubbock which may give Tech a slight advantage but he recently visited Nebraska and is also heavily considering Kansas.

But even if he signs, Tech would be wise to add at least one defensive tackle in this class because Broderick Washington will be out of eligibility after the upcoming season.  However, new DC Keith Patterson employs a 3-3-5 system that utilizes only one true defensive tackle so the staff may feel comfortable with their numbers at the position.

Finally, it would be nice to see Tech add at least one more receiver since there are currently only two committed.  Keep an eye on Alante Brown from Chicago as well as grad transfer Eric Kumah from Virginia Tech.

Next. 5 things that must happen for Tech football in 2019. dark

The truth is that no one expected a top-25 class out of Wells just two months after he arrived because early signing period severely hamstrings schools that fire coaches after the season.  But with the state of the current roster, Texas Tech can ill-afford a class that does not help replenish its depth and there is reason to be concerned that such will be the case with the 2019 signing class.