It is being reported that the Texas Tech football program is the leading candidate to land Arizona LB Colin Schooler, one of the nation’s most productive linebackers.
The decisions by the PAC 12 and Big 10 to cancel the fall 2020 football season have opened up a new talent acquisition rush as players from both conferences seek opportunities to play this season in a league that still plans to hold a fall schedule. And one such player is Colin Schooler, one of the best linebackers in the PAC 12.
Now, it is being reported that Texas Tech may be in the lead for the senior’s services. That’s what at least one Arizona Wildcat “insider” is reporting on Twitter anyway.
Jason Scheer of WildcatAuthority.com, part of the 247Sports network, Tweeted on Tuesday that Schooler is “more likely than not to wind up at Texas Tech.” That would give DC Keith Patterson’s defense a rather intriguing boost at a position that is already considered one of the deepest on the team.
The 6-foot-1, 230-pounder is a tackling machine. Starting for the last three years at middle LB for the Wildcats, he’s racked up 312 tackles (46 for loss). What’s more, he’s been given credit for 11 passes defended and he’s registered four interceptions. Earning the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, he had 95 tackles. As a sophomore he increased his tackles to 119 and last year, he had 98 stops.
Texas Tech fans may remember his name after the Red Raiders’ trip to Tucson last fall. That night, in a 28-14 Arizona win, Schooler had eight stops including 1.5 for loss. While that was a nice showing, it was one of his more pedestrian showings of his junior year. Seven times in 2019 he had at least nine stops in a game including three double-digit performances.
Interestingly, Schooler’s older brother (a wide receiver) had transferred to Arizona this offseason to be able to play with Colin but he too is transferring, though it doesn’t seem like the siblings are married tot he idea of landing at the same program. Rather, their father says he simply wants them to find a place where they can play at all this fall.
“My kids want to play,” Tom Schooler recently told the Arizona Daily Star. “I want them to play. They are willing to make that choice with all the information that has been gathered.”
Colin Schooler is a graduate transfer meaning that he’s not going to have to file a waiver with the NCAA for immediate eligibility. And he’s almost certain to be a one-and-done player at his new school despite the recent ruling that players in fall sports will not lose a year of eligibility this year. That’s because he is a rather highly-regarded NFL prospect, a factor that makes the idea of participating in a proposed spring PAC 12 season out of the question as it would interfere with his draft preparation.
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While it may seem like Schooler might not be needed by the Red Raiders given their quality at linebacker, let’s consider the options his presence would give Patterson and linebackers coach Kevin Cosgrove. If Schooler were to call Lubbock home, he would slot in as one of two inside LBs where he would play next to JUCO All-American Krishon Merriweather.
That would then allow Patterson to get creative with how he uses senior Riko Jeffers, who has been working at inside LB in fall camp. Jeffers played outside LB last season where he racked up 76 tackles and three sacks. And as the year progressed, he began to become more of a disruptive force at OLB and moving him back to that role this year would be a huge plus for Patterson as it would allow him to unleash havoc by using his most athletic LB as a heat-seeking missile rather than as a stay at home MLB. The thought should have Texas Tech football fans salivating.
There’s no word on a timetable for Schooler’s decision but being as classes are already underway in Lubbock and the season is less than three weeks from kicking off, we should expect him to reveal his plans soon. Hopefully, the reports of his interest in Tech prove to be legitimate because he could be a huge last-minute addition to the Red Raider defense.