Texas Tech football: Red Raiders bolster O-line with USC transfer

During the Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Wells eras of Texas Tech football, the offensive line was perhaps the most neglected area of the program.  Specifically, since 2019 the Red Raiders have not taken more than three high school or JUCO offensive linemen in a single recruiting class leaving the position group to rely heavily on the transfer portal to fill in the gaps.

For instance, in just the current recruiting class, new head coach Joey McGuire has added four offensive line transfers as he tries to solidify one of his program’s greatest weaknesses.  The latest to join the Red Raiders is a player that those who closely follow Texas Tech’s recruiting efforts may be familiar with.

On Monday, USC transfer Ty Buchanan announced his commitment to the Red Raiders.  That gives Tech another potential starting piece to the 2022 o-line.

A 6-foot-6, 285-pound interior lineman from Corpus Christi, Buchanan has four years of eligibility remaining after redshirting in 2021.  And given his pedigree, he could be one of the most impactful transfers that Tech will add this offseason.

In the class of 2021, Buchanan was rated as a high 3-star prospect who was the No. 52 interior offensive lineman and the No. 115 player in Texas according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.

During that recruiting cycle, Buchanan was a top target of the Red Raiders.  In fact, for much of his recruitment, he was considered a Texas Tech lean.   And in addition to Tech and USC, he held offers from the likes of TCU, Colorado, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, and Purdue among a host of other programs.

This year, the Red Raider offensive line will be replacing three starters from 2021’s group.  But that’s not necessarily a bad predicament given how pedestrian last year’s line was.

But the question remains, will the new additions make this year’s front line more formidable?  After all, some of the new additions come from programs that were not in the Power 5.

For instance, Cole Spencer is expected to compete for a starting job at tackle.  But last year, he played at Western Kentucky, which is a far cry from the Big 12.  However, on the plus side, Spencer was a first-team All-Conference USA lineman a season ago.

Additionally, it is expected that New Mexico transfer Cade Briggs will be the starting center for next season’s team.  But given how awful the Lobos are at the game of football, Tech fans are justified in wondering how effective he will be when it comes to replacing Dawson Deaton, a multi-year starter at center who is expected to be selected in this month’s NFL Draft.

Even the Power-5 transfers that Tech has added on the line come with their fair share of questions.  Neither Oklahoma State transfer Monroe Mills nor Buchanan has made a start at the college level meaning that, should one or both earn a starting job in 2022, there will be a significant learning curve as they get on-the-job experience in one of the top conferences in the nation.

Still, even with the questions that come with all four of the transfers Tech has added on the line, it is refreshing to see a renewed commitment from McGuire to fix that position group.  And though he’s had to retool the line on the fly by using the portal in his first recruiting cycle at Tech, he’s turning back to the high school ranks to fortify that critical position group for the future.

McGuire has already added two high school linemen in the class of 2023 and he’s hosted several more for official visits.  Hopefully, his coaching staff will be the one that finally makes the offensive line a priority once again at Texas Tech.