No. 4: LB Jacob Rodriguez is an emerging star for Texas Tech
The next player on our list is included because of what he will likely become, not because of what he’s done thus far. Middle linebacker Jacob Rodriguez is a star in the making and one of the best transfers this program has added via the portal.
A former high school QB who was recruited by Tech out of high school to be a linebacker, the Wichita Falls native originally went to Virginia to play QB. However, as a freshman, he was used as a jack of all trades rather than as a QB.
After that 2021 season, he would come home to Texas and convert to defense for the Red Raiders. Last season, he was primarily a backup behind seniors Krishon Merriweather and Kosi Eldridge, though.
Appearing in 12 games, he would make 29 tackles with three being for a loss. However, this year, he earned the starting middle linebacker job out of fall camp.
Unfortunately, a foot injury in the season opener caused him to miss seven games. He would return to appear in three games in November before sitting out the season finale at Texas to preserve his redshirt capability.
This year, Rodriguez finished with 24 tackles despite playing in only three full games and the first quarter of the Wyoming game. He’ll be able to play in Tech’s bowl game and he’ll return next season with two years of eligibility remaining.
That means that he will pair with Big 12 Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year Ben Roberts to give Tech as solid of a 1-2 punch at middle linebacker as any program could ask for. As a result, the Red Raiders aren’t likely to be too active in the portal at inside LB.
Rodriguez didn’t make too many waves when he transferred to Tech given that he was switching positions and that he was just a bit player for Virginia the season prior. However, he’s poised to be an impact player for Texas Tech for the next two seasons and if he can stay healthy, he could be one of the Big 12’s best linebackers. That potential makes him one of the best transfers to join the Red Raiders in the “portal era”.