Texas Tech football: Relaxed transfer rules giveth, taketh

Sep 14, 2019; Tucson, AZ, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells looks on before the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 14, 2019; Tucson, AZ, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells looks on before the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports /

Texas Tech football is both hurt and helped by the relaxed NCAA transfer rules.

The college football landscape has seen some dramatic changes over the past couple of years, most notably from the NCAA relaxing the rules regarding athlete transfers. Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells seems to be making the most of this, but it’s also had its drawbacks for the Red Raider football program as well.

One of the latest transfers to announce his arrival in Lubbock is perhaps the biggest one yet. Offensive tackle T.J. Storment, who garnered All-Big 12 honors at TCU last season, is a big time addition for a Texas Tech offensive line that struggled at times in 2020. He will solidify the left tackle spot and help the coaching staff sort out who starts at the other spots on the offensive line.

Storment could very well have as much of an impact as linebacker Colin Schooler, who transferred in from Arizona in 2020 and was a key contributor on defense. The secondary is really helped by transfers, including Eric Monroe, Malik Dunlap and Marquis Waters. Other transfers such as quarterback Henry Colombi, offensive lineman Josh Burger and linebacker Jacob Morgenstern saw significant action in 2020.

What’s more, over the weekend, Tech also added UCLA defensive back Rayshad Williams to the roster.  He becomes the third defensive back transfer to join the program this offseason joining Duke safety Marquis Waters and N.C. State corner Malik Dunlap.

But It Also Taketh

Texas Tech has also seen some notable players leave for greener pastures over the past couple of years, including a few who’ve gone to play for Dana Holgorsen at Houston. Running back Ta’Zhawn Henry, receiver KeSean Carter and cornerback Alex Hogan have made or are making the jump, and they could be joined by receiver Ja’Lynn Polk, who is rumored to be considering Houston as a potential landing spot as well.

Polk’s transfer was certainly a surprise. His 28 receptions in 2020 were fourth-most on the team, which is impressive for a true freshman. With Carter and T.J. Vasher already gone, he seemed in line for significant reps in 2021, likely as a starter. We don’t know why Polk decided to transfer, but it likely wasn’t over playing time concerns.

Of course the other big loss is quarterback Alan Bowman. I expected him to transfer after the 2021 season, so seeing him hit the transfer portal this quickly was not a surprise. After all, he would have had to fight off Henry Colombi, Donovan Smith, and incoming freshman Behren Morton this spring, and he’ll certainly be an attractive candidate for another program with three years of eligibility remaining.

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Brave New World

Many of the other players transferring away from Texas Tech have been buried on the depth chart, so their losses are unfortunate but not devastating. We’ll be seeing more of that in the future, not just in Lubbock but at programs across the country. If a player isn’t willing to sit and wait for playing time, it’ll be easy for him to go somewhere he can play immediately.

Fortunately, Wells has done a good job of adjusting to this new reality. Recruiting high school players will always be important, but now more than ever, programs will also need to recruit players from the transfer portal. These relaxed rules mean it’s inevitable that you’ll lose some players, so you have to replace them too.

Getting impact players from the transfer portal is key, especially for a program like Texas Tech. No matter how well you recruit, you’re always going to be behind the big boys like Oklahoma and Texas, and the SEC continues to poach some of the best Texas recruits. Making up ground in other areas is a necessity, and the transfer portal gives the coaching staff an opportunity to do that.

Like it or not, this is the way of the future. The NCAA doesn’t seem intent on going back to the way things were. Wells has done plenty of things to be criticized for, but he’s been doing pretty well when it comes to the transfer portal. Some see incoming transfers as a band-aid, but in reality, it’s just another big part of the game now.