Everything you need to know and what actually matters about the 2019 Texas Tech Red Raider recruiting class.
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It’s not like Kliff Kingsbury was killing it on the recruiting trail. Texas Tech became a fixture around the 40s and 50s in the recruiting rankings over the last several years, and the 2018 version was totally mediocre. On the plus side, the 2019 class was an improvement in a year with a coaching change.
Like all first year head coaches, Matt Wells didn’t have any time to go after the guys he wants and needs. Even so, he came up with a strong National Signing Day, filling in a few gaps and finding a few parts to fit what he wants to do, and a versatile option in Alante Brown to use in a variety of ways on offense.
For a team that has a whole lot of holes, the panic at kicker appeared to be the most obvious after losing Clayton Hatfield. He connected on 17-of-19 field goals and hit all 55 of his extra points, and Wells made certain he’d have options. Austin McNamara might turn out to be the better overall kicker, but JUCO transfer Jon Garibay was brought in on NSD to fix things right away.
One area that Wells didn’t have to worry about was wide receiver. Kingsbury signed five solid ones last year. Trey Cleveland is a good 6-4 option in this year’s class, but it’s a light group. However, the two tight ends signed – JUCO transfer and Pitt-flip Travis Koontz and Simon Gonzalez – will play a huge role.
The big problem is size – there aren’t enough prospects. For the second straight year, the program signed fewer than 20 players, with just 17 in this class and two of them kickers. There aren’t enough live bodies – everyone has to hit.
DE Gilbert Ibeneme was wanted by Oklahoma and Texas A&M, and he committed early on to the Red Raiders and stayed. Considering just one defensive end was signed in 2018, the pressure is on Ibeneme and the other two prospects for the position. If Ibeneme isn’t the best prospect in the class, he’s close.
Alan Bowman was part of last year’s class, and if he’s healthy, he’s the guy to run attack early on. However, Wells has to find a way to work with Maverick McIvor, a 6-3 passer with the quick-hitting passing skills to turn into a strong No. 2.
Wells needs to get more linebackers next year. The last two classes have been way too thin at the position. The last two classes have been way too thin defensively. Again, the problem is live bodies – there have to be more of them.
It’s one of the weaker Power Five recruiting classes and it’s one of the worst in the Big 12, but it’s better than last year’s version. Wells has the offense that should be attractive, but he needs more defenders, and he needs depth. The 2020 class should be a whopper.