With the opening of Friday’s college football transfer portal window, players are already flooding into the NCAA version of free agency. Of course, Texas Tech fans will be watching closely to see how Joey McGuire and his staff go about using this avenue to improve a roster that will change dramatically this offseason.
This year, Texas Tech was an older team meaning that there will be quite a bit of roster management to sort out in the upcoming weeks and months. For instance, we know that the nine super seniors on the team will be out of eligibility.
What’s more, it is a certainty that numerous players with eligibility remaining will decide to seek opportunities at other programs. After all, that’s going to be a reality for every program in the nation.
For that reason, making the most of the transfer portal has become as important as anything a coaching staff may do. Thankfully, McGuire and Co. have proven to be rather adept when it comes to evaluating transfers.
Last offseason, six of the seven players the Red Raiders brought in via the portal made their way onto the 2023 two-deep. Of that group of six, each one either earned a starting spot or played a critical role in his first season as a Red Raider.
In the class of 2022, the transfer class was twice as large as last year’s as McGuire put together his first roster at Tech. That haul of 14 players included six who would eventually be starters or regular rotational pieces.
It is interesting to think of McGuire as a portal disciple given that he is such a proponent of high school football. A former Texas high school coach himself, he is a champion of the prep level of the sport but he also knows that no program can keep pace in the current climate of the game without also taking advantage of the transfer portal.
That’s especially true of a program that is in Texas Tech’s situation. Ideally, coaches would like to be able to fill each season’s holes with players that they recruited and developed themselves.
However, the struggles Tech faced in recruiting high school talent in the years prior to McGuire’s arrival left no option but to fill the gaps with transfers. In the three years before McGuire was hired, Tech’s average recruiting class ranking was just 55.6 nationally. Therefore, it is no shock that those classes failed to produce enough talent to plug every hole that has come up in the McGuire era.
Fortunately, Tech’s last two classes have ranked 46th and 36th respectively. That’s a sign that McGuire is capable of stocking his program with better talent than his predecessor could. What’s more, the 2024 class (which will be signing next month) is ranked 22nd in the country and tops in the Big 12.
Still, it will take time for most of the incoming signees to be ready to make a difference at this level. Also, many of the 2022 and 2023 signees are still developing as players and may not be ready to play starting roles next fall.
As a result, McGuire is going to have to sift through the portal once again and find some gems from among the thousands of names that will be available. So as we prepare for more madness from the portal, let’s look at some position groups that Tech will need to prioritize when trying to bring in some immediate help.