Texas Tech football: Red Raiders land transfer safety from Duke

Monday, the Texas Tech football program landed a verbal commitment from Marquis Waters, a grad transfer safety who played last season at Duke.

The transfer portal continues to yield results for the Texas Tech football program and specifically the secondary.  Just days after landing corner Malik Dunlap from N.C. State, the Red Raiders added Duke safety Marquis Waters to fortify the 2021 defensive backfield.

Waters is familiar with current Texas Tech defensive backs coach Derek Jones, who was on the Duke staff prior to joining the Red Raiders last offseason.  Now, the two will reunite in the Hub City.

A 6-foot-1, 200-pound defensive back, Waters racked up  71 tackles (seven for loss), seven pass breakups, a sack, and an interception this past season for the Blue Devils.  And unlike most players in the transfer portal, he’s not seeing an opportunity to play after riding the bench at his previous school.

Rather, he was a three-year starter who appeared in 49 games at Duke.  Now, he figures to compete for the starting job at the safety spot that senior Thomas Leggett left open for the taking after he decided to pursue a professional football career this offseason.

Waters has only one year of eligibility remaining and he’s decided to spend it with the Red Raiders.  Also spending one more year with Tech in 2021 will be linebacker Jacob Morgenstern.

Also a transfer from Duke, the big linebacker was a pleasant surprise this year.  He finished with 32 tackles, 7th-most on the team.

What’s more, Morgenstern was a key special teams ace for the Red Raiders this fall.  In fact, he was credited with a blocked punt against the Texas Longhorns.

Morgenstern joins a group of returning senior defenders that includes DaMarcus Fields, Colin Schooler, Eric Monroe, and Riko Jeffers.  We still await word on whether corner Zech McPhearson will also join that list.

It’s not quite clear whether or not Tech’s strategy of doubling-down on transfers is going to paly off.  But one thing is for certain, next year’s defense is going to depend on these transfer portal additions coming through for the program.