When Texas Tech made the decision to fire then-head coach Matt Wells, it was going to give the next coach an opportunity to build the 2022 recruiting class. At the time of Wells’ firing in late October, Texas Tech ranked last in the Big 12 and 80th nationally. The 2022 Texas Tech NSD finally wrapped up on Wednesday. Where did head coach Joey McGuire and his staff succeed? What does this class say for Texas Tech’s recruiting philosophy moving forward?
Significant Upgrade In Talent
Texas Tech has never been one to pull in top-tier nationally ranked recruiting classes in football. In a vacuum, this recruiting class would not jump out as anything out of the normal. Texas Tech finished nationally with the 43rd ranked high school recruiting class according to 247. When including transfers, The Red Raiders signed on 26 new players and ranked 49th nationally. However, this is the highest-ranked recruiting class Texas Tech has signed since 2015. It also is only the third class since then to be ranked in the 40s nationally.
Not one of the 26 signees was ranked lower than a three-star prospect, with McGuire able to add one four-star to the class. The overall talent that the staff has brought in is a major boost to the depth of the roster. McGuire hit the ground running on the recruiting trail before he had his official introductory press conference, earning three verbal commitments before landing in Lubbock. Climbing 37 spots in recruiting rankings before ever coaching a game at the college level needs to be lauded.
Position Break Down
The 2022 Texas Tech NSD roster covered both sides of the ball fairly equally. It was split almost in half between offense and defense; 12 players on defense, 11 on offense, and three athletes who could play on either side of the ball. McGuire made it a point to improve both sides of the line of scrimmage. With four DL and seven OL signed, 42% of the 2022 class will line up in the trenches. Both lines of scrimmage need major improvement. Offensively, Texas Tech ranked 48th in both sacks allowed and tackles for loss allowed. Skill talent is great. But that skill talent has its ceiling come crashing down if the offensive line isn’t blocking well.
Defensively, the Red Raiders finished the 2021 season ranked 109th in sacks and 92nd in tackles for loss. Without the defensive front winning the line of scrimmage, it is difficult for linebackers to operate in space and get downhill to cause those tackles for loss. Texas Tech had one of its strongest linebacker corps in the last decade and it still struggled to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
When it comes to positions of need, both sides of the line of scrimmage ranked at the top of the priority list and McGuire made every attempt to begin upgrading that need with this class. No specialists were added to the 2022 class. It’s hard to find a real weakness/need that wasn’t filled. Certainly, it’s going to require most of these players to pan out, but on paper, Texas Tech has positioned itself to start the McGuire build with a solid foundation.
2022 Texas Tech NSD Potential Seen Already In 2023 Class
It’s crystal clear that the recruiting strategy and pitch are landing with recruits for this Texas Tech staff. Currently, the 2023 class already has 10 verbal commitments. That is best for 9th nationally. The 2023 class is headlined by a four-star edge rusher named Isaiah Crawford. Crawford is a top 150 national player and has been committed to Texas Tech since November 14th of last year. McGuire certainly knows how to “WOO” recruits and the fan base. But while all signs are pointing up and optimism continues to trend up quicker than a meme stock, it also means increasing expectations for a quicker turnaround. Only time will tell if Texas Tech can blaze a new recruiting trail and shift the balance of talent in the Big 12.