Texas Tech football: Big 12 rivals battling Red Raiders for 3-star LB

The Texas Tech football program has made the top five for 3-star LB Jackie Marshall from Louisiana but to land him, the Red Raiders will have to beat a couple of Big 12 rivals.

As the Texas Tech football program continues to try to assemble its 2021 recruiting class, linebacker Jackie Marshall is a name to watch.  The 3-star prospect from Reserve, Louisiana has cut his list of suitors to five and Matt Wells’ program remains in the mix.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pounder is also still considering Baylor, Oklahoma State, Houston, and Louisiana Tech.  He made his list known on Twitter and now, the Red Raiders will likely have to beat out the two Big 12 schools in this recruiting battle.

Other schools to extend an offer to Marshall include Arizona, Colorado, Miami, Michigan State, Ole Miss, and Washington State among others.

According to 247Sports, Marshall amassed 82 tackles, 38 stops for loss and 11 sacks as a junior and is most comfortable coming off the edge.  That seems to make him a natural fit for Keith Patterson’s attacking style of defense in Lubbock.

Keep in mind that the new linebackers coach at Tech is Kevin Cosgrove, who has ties to the state of Louisiana.  This offseason, he joined Wells’ staff after spending 2019 as a defensive analyst for LSU.

Thus, he is taking the lead in Marshall’s recruitment and the Red Raiders hope that connection pays off.  Marshall’s offer from Tech came on February 19th of this year, just over a week after Cosgrove joined the program.

Right now, there are no linebackers committed to Tech in the class of 2021.  That’s got to change given that several of the current LBs are upperclassmen.

The leader of that group this year is expected to be senior Riko Jeffers.  He enters this season with 166 career tackles and carrying the label of the best defensive player on the roster.

Tech will also be counting on Michigan State grad transfer Brandon Bouyer-Randle to play a key role as an outside LB.   Also, expect JUCO transfer Krishon Merriweather to enter the fall as the leading candidate to earn the starting middle linebacker job.  That means that potentially all three of Tech’s starting LBs could be either juniors or seniors.

But the pipeline isn’t barren.  The Red Raiders will welcome back redshirt sophomore Xavier Benson and 2019 signee Tyrique Matthews, both of whom the current coaching staff believes have futures as significant contributors.  Either one could conceivably see the light turn on this year and be a breakout contributor in 2020.

In the ever-changing world of college football class rankings, Tech sits at No. 7 in the Big 12 and 43rd nationally.  But if Wells can start to beat Big 12 rivals for talent like Marshall, it will do wonders for the program’s talent acquisition, which has lagged behind most of the conference for far too long.