Texas Tech football: A grad transfer the Red Raiders should prioritize

Nov 25, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils tight end Jalin Conyers (12) against the Arizona Wildcats during the Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils tight end Jalin Conyers (12) against the Arizona Wildcats during the Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

It is still odd for many college fans to wrap their heads around the current state of NCAA athletics.  The transfer portal when combined with N.I.L. benefits has made the offseason ritual of pilfering other programs’ rosters just as important (if not more) than high school recruiting.  That’s why, though it feels odd for some of us to monitor the players leaving other programs, it is likely that each high-profile player to enter the portal is immediately envisioned in a Texas Tech uniform by fans in West Texas.

While not every player set to find a new home this offseason will be a fit for or have an interest in Joey McGuire’s program, one new entrant into the portal would be a godsend for the Red Raiders.  What’s more, he has deep West Texas roots.

Thursday, Arizona State tight end Jalin Conyers announced that he is entering the portal and looking for a new home for his final season of college football.  He is a player that McGuire and Co. should not only kick the tires on but one that should be a priority for this coaching staff.

Tight end is a sneaky-important position of need for Tech this offseason.  Though we have no indication that he will, senior Baylor Cupp could decide to move on to a new program and given that he will be a super-senior next year (meaning that he almost certainly has his degree), he would not have to sit out next year should he transfer, even though it would be his second transfer as a collegiate.

What’s more, Mason Tharpe, who will be a senior next year, is a player who has battled a myriad of injuries throughout his career. In fact, he was limited to just seven games this season.

Outside of those two players, next season Tech will have only Jayden York, the lightly-used TE who did catch a TD in the season opener at Wyoming but who only caught three passes all season and will be most remembered for being ejected from the BYU game for spitting on an opponent.  That’s because blocking tight end Henry Teeter will exhaust his eligibility after this season concludes.

Thus, adding a player like Conyers would make perfect sense.  After all, he would bring an element to the tight-end room that has been missing for some time.

In his career, Conyers has 74 catches for 846 yards and six touchdowns.  That includes 30 catches for 362 yards this year.  A season ago, he hauled in 38 passes for 422 yards and 5 TDs, all career-highs.

While those numbers are far from what star TE and former Red Raider All-American Jace Amaro put up during his time in Lubbock, they would make Conyers one of the most accomplished weapons on the Red Raider roster.  His 2022 stats, would have made him second on this year’s team in receptions, third in yards, and tied with Myles Price for tops in TD catches.

If Conyers’ name is a familiar one to Red Raider fans, it would be because he was highly recruited by the Red Raiders out of high school.  A native of tiny Gruver, Texas (some 100 miles north of Amarillo), he was a 4-star prospect and the No. 4 TE in the nation in the class of 2020 according to 247sports.com.

Unfortunately, that was in the middle of the Matt Wells era and the former Texas Tech head coach was such a poor recruiter that he would have struggled to convince his own son to play for the Red Raiders much less a top-100 recruit in the nation.  Ultimately, Conyers would sign with the Oklahoma Sooners out of high school but after only one season, he would transfer to Arizona State where he’s spent the last three seasons.

Now, this intriguing tight end (who has his degree and would be free to play at a new school next season) is looking for a new place to play.  The Red Raiders should certainly gauge his interest in coming home.

At 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, he is a big target, though he is nowhere near as large as the 6-foot-6 Cupp or the 6-foot-9 Tharp.  He’s also very athletic as a former multi-sport star athlete in high school.  He would thus give Tech a much-needed downfield threat in the passing game, something that neither Cupp nor Tharp have proven to be thus far as Red Raiders.

Texas Tech is likely to solidify its tight end ranks this offseason.  Trey Jackson, a 3-star prospect out of Dallas will sign with the program but at just 210 pounds, he’s nowhere near ready to play Big 12 football meaning that the portal or the JUCO ranks will be where McGuire turns to bring in another capable TE.

Conyers would be a natural fit for the Red Raiders.  He has West Texas roots and he’s the type of tight end that this program doesn’t currently have on the roster.  So keep an eye on his recruitment because he could be exactly what Texas Tech needs.