The all-time Texas Tech football roster of players not from Texas stacks up well with the other all-time rosters with one huge exception.
As we wrap up our look at the all-time Texas Tech football rosters based on where the players came to Lubbock from, we have to give some love to the Red Raiders that did not grow up in Texas. After all, some of the best and most popular players in program history have been out-of-state recruits.
Though the vast majority of Tech’s roster every year is built around Lone Star prospects, out-of-state players are still an important part of the program’s success. Last season, 18 members of the roster were from one the other 49 states and one, punter Dominic Panazzolo, was from Australia.
However, that number could be on the decline with Matt Wells now focusing even more heavily on recruiting Texas. Though it would not seem possible for the Red Raiders to put a greater emphasis on in-state talent than they have over the decades, Wells is doubling-down on his efforts to make Tech football a greater factor in landing top-end Texas talent.
“I’ve recruited Texas before,” Wells said at his introductory press conference. “I’ve never recruited the state of Texas with an in-state logo on. That’s going to be fun.”
The motivation for this emphasis on Lone Star talent is sound. It all comes down to the fact that Texas produces some of the most college-ready players of any state in the nation given the depth and quality of high school football played here.
“They’ve been doing things at a high level since they were in junior high,” Wells said to 247Sports’ Mike Roach. “So many of these systems have the same system all the way up to the junior high, to the freshman team, to the sub-varsity team, and the varsity team. From what you say, to the colors you wear, to how you act, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Texas High School Coaches Association. The programs here played a part in me taking this job.”
Currently, there are 14 players verbally committed to the Red Raiders for 2020 and all are from Texas. The only one with any out of state ties is QB Donovan Smith who will be playing at Frenship H.S. in Wolfforth this fall after being at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, Nevada the last two years. Smith’s father DeAndre Smith is Tech’s new running backs coach and Donovan only moved to West Texas after his father joined Wells’ staff.
However, in the 2019 class Tech added six players from outside the state. That included JUCO tight end Travis Koontz who is an Ohio native, punter Austin McNamara from Arizona, and placekicker John Garribay from California.
The only three high school position players Tech signed from another state this year are Dequan Watts (a DB from Georgia), Dadrion Taylor (a DB from Oklahoma), and Alante Brown (an athlete from Illinois). Wednesday, it was announced that Brown will not enroll at Tech but will go to a prep school because of academic concerns.
Still, it would be wise for the Red Raiders to continue to explore every area possible when trying to bring in the type of talent that will turn the program around. As we will see when looking at the all-time roster of players from outside of Texas, some of the best Red Raiders in program history came to Lubbock from across the nation.