Texas Tech football: Red Raiders target productive defensive tackle in portal

Arizona v UCLA
Arizona v UCLA / Harry How/GettyImages

Though the Christmas holiday has caused the news coming from the transfer portal to slow a bit, there remain plenty of intriguing players who are looking for a new home. One is Dion Wilson Jr., an active defensive tackle transfer from New Mexico State who has recently picked up an offer from the Texas Tech football program.

A 6-foot-5, 300-pound native of California, Wilson helped the Aggies to a 10-5 record this fall. However, he entered the portal almost as soon as NMSU head coach Jerry Kill stepped down from his position. Not long after that, on December 23, Wilson reported that Texas Tech had offered him a scholarship.

This season, Wilson amassed 31 tackles (2.5 for loss) with 2.0 sacks. That included 18 solo stops to his credit.

2023 was Wilson's first year in Las Cruces after he spent three seasons playing for Arizona in the PAC-12. During those years, he was credited with 33 tackles and a sack.

Coming out of high school in the class of 2020, Wilson was ranked a 3-star prospect and the No. 79 player in California by the 247Sports composite rankings. In addition to Arizona, he had offers from Arizona State, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Sacramento State.

Now, it is no surprise to see the Red Raiders target Wilson and other defensive tackles after losing out on a commit at the position just before signing day. Just days before last week's signing period, JUCO defensive tackle Danny Saili decomitted from Texas Tech and gave his pledge to Big 12 rival BYU.

The Red Raiders were excited about the prospect of plugging the 6-foot-2, 360-pounder into the middle of the 2024 defensive line rotation. Now, his defection to the Cougars has Joey McGuire and his staff in the market for more size along the defensive front.

Remember, this offseason Tech will have to replace both of 2023's starting defensive tackles, Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford Jr. That duo combined for 87 tackles and 7.5 sacks this year leaving a huge hole to be filled moving forward.

The good news is that the Red Raiders have some intriguing options at DT ready for opportunities to play expanded roles. For instance, E'Maurion "Dooda" Banks made 10 tackles (4.5 for loss) in nine appearances this year as a redshirt sophomore.

Meanwhile, Quincy Ledet Jr. made 20 tackles in 13 games this fall. He could step in as a starter next year but given that he'll be a super-senior, he isn't a long-term solution at the position.

One player Tech fans could grow old with is Trevon McAlpine. A 300-pounder from Alabama, he had 11 tackles and a sack in six games this year as a redshirt freshman.

However, the Red Raiders did not take a defensive tackle in the recently inked 2024 recruiting class. That was partially by design given that last year, the program went heavy at that position on signing day and partially out of McGuire's hands given Saili's late flip.

Now, it appears that the program still wants to find help at defensive tackle and the portal is where the coaching staff will look. So keep an eye on Wilson because he could be an intriguing stop-gap option for the Red Raiders at an important position.