Texas Tech football: Red Raiders add second 2021 TE commit this week

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Fans of the Texas Tech Red Raiders cheer against the Texas Longhorns at Jones AT
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Fans of the Texas Tech Red Raiders cheer against the Texas Longhorns at Jones AT /

Thursday, the Texas Tech football program picked up its second tight end commitment this week in the class of 2021, Mason Tharp.

When the Texas Tech football program picked up a commitment from Wichita Falls, TX tight end Jed Castles on Tuesday, we discussed the need for Matt Wells to continue to add more 2021 talent at that position.  It took him two days to do just that.

Thursday evening, 3-star tight end Mason Tharp became the second 2021 TE to give his verbal commitment to the Red Raiders this week.  He announced his intention on Twitter while thanking everyone who believed in him.

Interestingly, both tight ends to jump on the Red Raider bandwagon this week have the potential to be massive players in terms of their physical stature.  While Castles is a 6-foot-7, 215-pound target, he’s actually the smaller of the two.

Tharp is a 6-foot-8, 225-pound prospect who is the No. 29 TE in the nation and the No. 91 player in Texas according to 247Sports.  In addition to Tech, he holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Michigan State, Utah, and several other Power 5 programs.

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The Klein, TX product has held an offer from the Red Raiders since December.  He was in Lubbock the weekend of March 9th for a visit and now he’s going to call the South Plains home for his college career.

"“I grew up playing tackle football in the second-grade,” he told Matt Malatesta of VYPE.com. “I played all the sports from baseball to lacrosse to basketball. Basketball helped with my footwork and conditioning. It’s a great break from the grind of football. Baseball and lacrosse helped with my hand-eye coordination.”"

That athletic background helped him catch 30 passes for 523 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.  What’s more, his size could make him a potential red-zone nightmare for opposing defenses in the Big 12.

Tech now has four young tight ends in the pipeline with the 2021 commits and 2020 signee John Holcomb from Wellington, TX set to join redshirt freshman Simon Gonzalez on campus this year.  It’s assumed that senior Travis Koontz will be the starter at TE in 2020 but behind him, Gonzalez is the only scholarship TE on the roster and he was indefinitely suspended from the program by Wells for off-field issues prior to the start of spring practice.

It will be important for Tech to continue to bring in a quality TE prospect in every recruiting class for as long as Wells and his offensive coordinator David Yost are in place.  That’s because Yost prefers to have a TE on the field for nearly every play of the game.

Last year, it was so important to Yost that he have a TE on the field at all times that he moved senior wide receiver, Donta Thompson, to the position and the move led to the best year of Thompson’s career.  In 11 games, he had career highs in catches (26) and yards (311) while also proving to be a much better blocker than one might expect of a player who spent very little of his time prior to Wells’ arrival focusing on that aspect of the game.

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Now, Tech is starting to bring legitimate prospects into the mix at the TE position and that’s a place where the program could begin to see greater productivity as the Wells era moves forward.  With both Tharp and Castles are in place, Tech can now check tight end off the shopping list for this recruiting cycle and begin to put the rest of the puzzle together.