Texas Tech football: Jack Anderson foregoes NFL Draft, will return in 2020

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 11: Jack Anderson #56 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 11, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 11: Jack Anderson #56 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 11, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Texas Tech football program got some great news Saturday when guard Jack Anderson announced that he will not enter the NFL Draft.

One of the most important tasks facing the Texas Tech football team this offseason is rebuilding an offensive line that graduated three senior starters after the 2019 season.   Fortunately, that rebuild will not including having to also replace right guard Jack Anderson.

The Frisco, Texas native is the best NFL prospect on the offensive side of the ball for the Red Raiders and he entered this fall as one of the top interior draft prospects in the nation.  Thus, many believed that the second-highest ranked high school player to ever sign with the program might head to the professional ranks in April.

But after missing the final eight games of the year with an upper-body injury, he has decided to return to Lubbock for at least one more season.  However, being as he played in only three games, he could use 2019 as a redshirt and play two more years at Tech.

That seems unlikely though given how highly-valued he is as an NFL prospect.  He even referred to next season as his senior year in Saturday’s Twitter announcement.

"“This decision has been difficult for me due to positive feedback I have received about declaring early and my lifelong dream of having an opportunity to play in the NFL,” he wrote.  “That being said, I feel that it is in my best interest to forego the 2020 NFL Draft and remain at Texas Tech for my senior year.”"

Prior to this year, he had started all 25 games of his Red Raider career.  But in the second week of the season, he was held out of the UTEP game after tweaking a knee in the season-opener against Montana State.

He returned for two games but sustained his season-ending injury in the Big 12 opener at Oklahoma.  In his place, redshirt freshman Weston Wright stepped in and played rather well.

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Thus, we might have an idea of what the interior of next year’s line will look like.  Wright and Anderson seem like the logical candidates to flank junior center Dawson Deaton, a high school teammate of Anderson’s at Frisco High School who excelled this year while playing center for the first time in his career.

If the 2020 season were to open this week, junior-to-be Casey Verhulst would likely get the start at one tackle spot.  He started the first two games of the year at right tackle when Terrence Steele was still recovering from an offseason injury.

At the other tackle, we would likely see junior-to-be Will Farrar, who was a primary backup this year.  However, most of his time was spent at the guard spot so Wright might move outside to tackle, which he played in high school.

But we should also expect the team to add some players that could be immediate starters.  We know that Tech has extended an offer to 3-star JUCO tackle Jeremy Flax, who has Tech in his list of top choices.

Tech also figures to target some help in the grad transfer market if any viable candidates are looking for new homes.  This focus on the JUCO and transfer market is all a result of poor recruiting along the o-line in recent classes.

In the 2019 class, the Red Raiders added only two linemen and neither are close to being ready to play starting roles.  Of the five 2018 signees, Wright is the only one yet to break into the two-deep and the others are not really even being discussed as potential options for next season.

That’s why it is such great news to have Anderson back in the fold.  He has been a starter since the day he stepped on campus earning freshman All-American honors in 2017 and second-team All-Big 12 recognition after last season.

Fortunately, he will return to anchor an offensive line that now looks much more promising than it would have if he had decided to head to the NFL this offseason.  This is a huge win for Matt Wells and Co. who now have one less position to worry about along the offensive front.