Texas Tech football: Matt Wells and Red Raiders land another big defensive end

WACO, TEXAS - OCTOBER 12: Head coach Matt Wells of the Texas Tech Red Raiders before the game against the Baylor Bears on October 12, 2019 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
WACO, TEXAS - OCTOBER 12: Head coach Matt Wells of the Texas Tech Red Raiders before the game against the Baylor Bears on October 12, 2019 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Thursday, Matt Wells and the Texas Tech football program picked up a commitment from defensive end Charles Esters III.

The Texas Tech football program’s 2021 class continued its upward trend on Thursday when Matt Wells landed another key defensive line recruit.  Charles Esters III, a 3-star defensive end from Cedar Hill, Texas announced his intention to join the Red Raiders on Twitter making him the seventh player in the 2021 class to commit to the Red Raiders.

Esters is rated by 247Sports as the No. 60 weakside defensive end in the nation and the No. 130 overall player in the state of Texas.  In addition to Tech, he held offers from the likes of Kansas, Air Force, Colorado State, North Texas, Army, and others.

"“I love the team. I love the coaches,” he told the Avalanche-Journal. “The coaches give me the same type of energy as the coaches here, and it feels like home.  I feel real close with them. They treat me like I’m already one of their own players.”More from Wreck'Em RedTexas Tech football: Red Raider fans need to know about these MountaineersTexas Tech football: Red Raiders land first commit for class of 2025Texas Tech football: Why have the Red Raiders struggled on the road under McGuire?Texas Tech football: Why the Red Raiders can compete for a Big 12 titleTexas Tech football: Plenty of questions remain as conference play arrives"

Last season, he racked up 14 sacks playing in one of the toughest districts in the state.  Now, he’s set to join E’Maurion Banks from Wichita Fallas to form the bookends of the 2021 Red Raider defensive line class.  Banks, a top-100 player in Texas, committed to the Red Raiders earlier this week and is one of five players to give his pledge to Wells this month.

Defensive line depth was one of Texas Tech’s biggest weaknesses in 2019, a primary reason the defense seemed to wilt in the second half of games.  But since arriving, the current coaching staff has started to add quality pieces to the defensive front.

Last year, true freshman Tony Bradford Jr. saw action in eight games making 14 stops and registering 1.5 sacks.  Meanwhile, his fellow classmate, Gilbert Ibeneme (a former 4-star signee) is set to return to the field this year after missing all of his true freshman season with an injury.

In the class of 2020, Wells picked up DE L.B. Moore from Amarillo and DE Philip Blidi from Portales, New Mexico and both could see the field in backup roles this fall.  They will join a group of returning veterans such as senior Eli Howard and junior Nelson Mbanasor as well as JUCO DE Devin Drew to give the Red Raiders a much deeper pool of defensive ends to rely on.

As for Esters, he’s already 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds so by the time he arrives on campus, he could be in the mix for some early playing time given the fact that he may not need a year to put on the type of weight required to compete in the Big 12.

"“He’s one of those kids that checks all the boxes as far as being a good kid and a good football player,” Cedar Hill coach Carlos Lynn told the A-J. “He’s just an extremely hard worker, taking care of business in the classroom, and he’s done his part. He has a super, super support system with his family. His mom and dad have done a fantastic job with him, so we’re extremely proud of him and excited for him.”"

Tech’s recruiting class now sits at No. 24 nationally and at No. 4 in the Big 12 according to 247Sports.  The only three teams currently ahead of the Red Raiders in the conference are Texas, West Virginia, and Iowa State.

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Of course, plenty will change by the time these players put pen to paper in either December or February.  But for now, it appears like Matt Wells is putting together the type of class that Texas Tech football fans have not seen in the better part of a decade.