Texas Tech football: Red Raiders land 3-star JUCO defensive lineman

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 12: The Texas Tech Red Raiders mascot Fearless Champion leads the team onto the field prior to the game against the UTEP Miners September 12, 2015 at Jones AT
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 12: The Texas Tech Red Raiders mascot Fearless Champion leads the team onto the field prior to the game against the UTEP Miners September 12, 2015 at Jones AT /

Wednesday, the Texas Tech football program picked up a verbal commitment from 3-star JUCO defensive lineman Devin Drew.

As Matt Wells continues to put the finishing touches on his 2020 recruiting class, the JUCO ranks are going to be a major area of focus.  On Wednesday, the Texas Tech football head coach added some much-needed depth to his defensive line by securing a verbal commitment from Devin Drew, a defensive tackle from Iowa Western Community College.

A 6-foot-4, 272-pound native of Kansas City, Missouri, Drew has two years of eligibility remaining as well as still having a redshirt season available should he need.  But given the struggles of the Texas Tech defensive line in 2019 and the loss of Broderick Washington, it would figure that this is a player who factors into the immediate plans of defensive coordinator Keith Patterson.

Drew is rated as the No. 16 JUCO defensive tackle in his class by 247Sports.  He picked Tech over offers from Maryland, SMU, North Texas, and UNLV.  An NJCAA All-American this year, the versatile lineman amassed 55 tackles (13 for loss) and 8.5 sacks while coming up with two fumble recoveries and forcing a fumble in 2018.

That’s the type of disruption that was largely missing from this year’s defensive front.  DE Eli Howard led the defensive line with 5.0 sacks (tops on the team) and 6.0 tackles per loss which are nice numbers but far from the type of stats that a team needs from its top option along the d-line.

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Drew becomes the 18th player in the Red Raiders’ 2020 recruiting class but he is the first interior defensive lineman to pledge to Wells and Co.  Thus, there is still work to be done at that spot and this late in the recruiting process, it seems likely that the Red Raiders will look to another JUCO player or a potential grad transfer to help solidify a position that was problematic this fall because of a lack of healthy options.

Tech’s class now sits at No. 7 in the Big 12 and No. 45 nationally according to 247Sports.  The good news is that with an average rating of. 0.8577, this class has a higher per-prospect rating than any class since 2016.

The early signing window for college football prospects is right around the corner on December 18th.  Expect the majority of Tech’s current commits to sign early this year which has to be exciting for Wells who saw only half of his class sign in December last year being as the new coaching staff was just weeks into their tenure in Lubbock.

However, it doesn’t look like Wells will fill out his entire class before Christmas because there are still plenty of holes to fill.  For instance, Tech has only two offensive linemen in the fold so expect some heavy focus to be placed on that critical position group in the upcoming weeks.

What’s more, after not signing a high school or JUCO running back in 2019, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see the Red Raiders add a second running back to this class to pair with 3-star Manor, TX prospect Tahj Brooks.  Given the fact that this year finished up with only one healthy scholarship running back, SaRodorick Thompson, able to play in the season finale.

After signing one of the lowest-rated classes of any Power 5 school in each of the last two years, Tech needs the 2020 class, the first true test of Matt Wells’ ability to recruit to Lubbock, to be a foundational block for the program.  Whether or not that comes to fruition, we will be here to break it all down as Wells continues the chore of trying to return this program to relevance.