Joey McGuire must never rest. That’s because he’s added yet another new piece to the Texas Tech football roster for 2022 via the transfer portal.
Former Vanderbilt linebacker Dimitri Moore announced on Wednesday that he’ll be returning to his home state to spend his final year of college football with the Red Raiders. This move is also a reunion for Moore, who played for McGuire at Cedar Hill High School.
Moore played this past season at Missouri State after leaving Vanderbilt after the start of the 2020 season. But to understand his potential, one needs to look back at his 2019 campaign in Nashville.
That season, in 12 games, he amassed 99 tackles with 48 being solo stops and six coming for a loss. That tackle total was good enough to rank in the top 10 in the SEC. Along the way, he had five double-digit tackle performances.
This past season, he appeared in only six games for Missouri State of the FCS. But now, he’s ready to compete for a starting role for the Red Raiders.
Following the 2021 season, Tech will lose starting linebackers Riko Jeffers, Colin Schooler, and could see Krishon Merriweather also move on (though he could return as a super senior). What’s more, key backup LB Jacob Morgenstern will also be out of eligibility after this season.
Behind those players, the only Red Raider who has received significant playing time this year is sophomore Jesiah Pierre, a former transfer from Florida, who has made 27 stops this season. Thus, adding starters via the portal is likely to be McGuire’s only choice when it comes to replenishing this position group.
The problem for Tech is that in recent signing classes, the program has failed to add very many quality pieces at the LB position. In 2019, Tech signed Tyrique Matthews and Bryce Robinson but neither has managed to break into the two-deep thus far. In 2020, along with Merriweather, Tech signed Derrick Lewis but thus far, he’s failed to crack the program’s two-deep either.
Even worse, in the 2021 signing class, recently fired head coach Matt Wells failed to sign a single linebacker despite the fact that Tech was set to see several players leave the program following the season. Now, because of those recruiting missteps, McGuire is up against it when trying to find new linebackers.
But filling the shoes of those who are about to depart won’t be easy. Thus far in 2021, Schooler, Jeffers, and Merriweather have combined for 191 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery.
Hopefully, Moore will help ease the pain from those departures. As a high school recruit, he was rated a 3-star prospect and the No. 94 player in Texas. He held offers from the likes of Colorado, Kansas State, Minnesota, Arizona State, Arkansas, Cal, Illinois, Iowa State, Missouri, Tech, and Utah among others.
Now, he’s set to return to his native state and reunite with his high school head coach for his final year of college football. Hopefully, it will be a year to remember.