Texas Tech football: Red Raiders land speedy WR transfer Drae McCray

Sep 17, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; A general view of a Texas Tech Red Raiders helmet at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; A general view of a Texas Tech Red Raiders helmet at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports /

One element that was missing from the 2022 Texas Tech football team was speed, especially on the offensive side of the ball.  There were not many instances when a Red Raider skill position player was able to get behind the defense and run away to the endzone.  That left the offense with a smaller margin for error since longer sustained drives were usually required for points.

Therefore, we knew that adding speed to the roster would be one of head coach Joey McGuire’s main objectives this offseason.  On Thursday, just one day after McGuire’s team ended its season with an impressive 42-25 win over Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl, that objective was accomplished in a big way when Austin Peay wide receiver Drae McCray announced his intention to transfer to Texas Tech for his final two years of college football.

A 5-foot-9, 177-pound native of Florida, McCray absolutely torched the FCS ranks this past season.  On his way to a 76-catch, 1,021-yard campaign, he surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark in four games.  What’s more, he had nine touchdown receptions.

Now, one might simply shrug at those numbers given that he was facing FCS competition.  However, he had an impressive showing this season against one of the nation’s top FBS programs.

In late November, McCray was the lone bright spot for the Governors in a 34-0 loss at Alabama.  That day, he hauled in 12 catches for 92 yards including a 32-yard grab.

McCray is a player who can take the top off of a defense, something that none of the 2022 Red Raider receivers could do with any regularity.  Capable of playing either in the slot or on the outside, he seems to be a perfect fit on the inside for offensive coordinator Zach Kittley given that Tech seems to be set on the outside with two big receivers, Loic Fouonji and Jerand Bradley.

It’s fun to think about an offense that could go to four wide receivers with McCray and Myles Price both manning the inside positions.  When teamed up with Fouonji and Bradley, that duo could create some serious matchup problems for opposing defenses as Tech would have size advantages on the outside and speed advantages on the inside.

Hopefully, Kittley will remember his time working with another lightning-fast receiver, Jakeem Grant, who was at Tech when Kittley was a graduate assistant on Kliff Kingsbury’s staff.  Kingsbury always prioritized Grant’s explosiveness and schemed up some creative ways to get the ball to the diminutive playmaker.

We already know that Kittley is willing to push the envelope when it comes to creativity in his play designs and now, he’s got a fast new toy to play with so it should be fun to see how many different ways he incorporates McCray into Tech’s attack next fall.

Another reason that this recruiting win is so important is that it keeps McCray from potentially joining another Big 12 program.  In addition to Tech, he was also being courted by West Virginia and Oklahoma State in addition to Oregon, Colorado, Mississippi State, and several others.

Now, he’s decided to be a Red Raider and that should bode well for the 2023 offense.  That’s because McCray instantly adds something to the roster that was noticeably missing this season, blinding speed.