No. 1: It is hard to believe that Tyree Wilson walked on at Texas Tech
Former 4-star recruits don’t usually walk on to programs. Neither do future NFL first-round picks. However, that’s what Tyree Wilson did with the Red Raiders prior to the 2020 season.
After spending two years at Texas A&M, Wilson saw the light and came to Lubbock but because of roster numbers and the mid-August timing of his transfer, he had to play as a walk-on during his first season at Tech. It was the greatest recruiting job of Matt Wells’ brief and unsuccessful run as Texas Tech head coach to get a player of Wilson’s caliber to play as a walk-on.
After being an honorable-mention all-conference defensive end in 2021, Wilson blossomed in 2022 to earn First-Team All-American honors. In only 10 games, he made 61 tackles including 14.0 for a loss and 7.0 sacks.
In the 2023 NFL Draft, Wilson went to the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 7 overall. That was the highest a Red Raider defensive player has ever been drafted.
The reality is that Wilson’s career at Tech highlights how the transfer portal can even the playing field in college football. A school the caliber of Texas Tech isn’t going to be landing multiple recruits of Wilson’s talent on a yearly basis. Even Joey McGuire with all of his recruiting wins would be lucky to land defensive ends like Wilson in each class.
However, when Wilson was looking for a new home, he was open to hearing from Tech and ultimately, he decided to come to Lubbock to finish his NCAA career. Remember, though, that Wilson wasn’t a star when he arrived.
Rather, he was a project who had yet to even scratch the surface of what he would eventually become. Fortunately, he did realize his immense potential while at Tech and he goes down as this program’s greatest portal victory to date.