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Get the scoop on Texas Tech recruiting ahead of early signing period

EZ touchdown return from football recruit

Erik Ezukanma was off to the races with this 61-yard punt return for a touchdown against Keller Central.
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Erik Ezukanma was off to the races with this 61-yard punt return for a touchdown against Keller Central.

Kliff Kingsbury and the Texas Tech Red Raiders are in for a busy week.

Not only is Tech is due to sign 12 commits during the early signing period from Dec. 20-22, but the Red Raiders will also face South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 23.

The Star-Telegram caught up with Jarret Johnson, publisher of insidetheredraiders.com, on what Red Raiders fans can expect this week and beyond.

Question: Fans of Tech should be happy at the end of this week if what happens for the Red Raiders during Early Signing Period?

Johnson: “Everyone who expects to sign early, does. The Red Raiders expect to sign just under half their 2018 recruiting class this week, which should give them a great foundation as the staff looks to sprinkle in some late additions over the next two months.”

Q: Are there any recruits that aren't supposed to sign this week that fans should be concerned about moving forward?

A: “I wouldn't say fans should be concerned, but one guy the coaching staff will definitely have to recruit hard through the February signing day is running back commit Devin Brumfield. The 5-foot-10, 220-pound three-star recruit out of Covington, Louisiana rushed for 2,292 yards and 25 touchdowns in 13 games this season and finished his career as the school's all-time leader in both rushing yards (6,534) and rushing touchdowns (77).

Q: How many kids are planning to sign with Tech this week?

A: “We have confirmed with 12 Texas Tech commits who plan on signing this week and they are: DL Jaylon Hutchings, Forney, WR Corey Fulcher, Lake Highlands, OL Demarcus Marshall, Grand Prairie, OL Troy Bradshaw, Mineral Wells, WR Sterling Galban, Burnet, QB Alan Bowman, Grapevine, WR Kesean Carter, The Woodlands, WR Myller Royals, Abilene Cooper, OL Weston Wright, New Braunfels, OL Clayton Franks, Mansfield Legacy, OL Hakeem White, Waco Midway and WR Erik Ezukanma, Keller Timber Creek.”

Q: Do you see any surprises this week, someone commits and/or signs with Tech someone de-commits?

A: “I'm a little apprehensive to say no, because things change so quickly on the recruiting trail, but I really don't. As I stated above, we checked in with every commit recently to confirm when they are signing and they all appear to be on board. The Red Raiders had a couple decommits recently, but they were both known for a long time so it didn't come as a big shock. I expect Texas Tech to sign 12 recruits this week then another 10-12 in February and add some late transfers in the spring and summer.”

Q: Who is the biggest signing this week for Tech and what about him makes him special?

A: “It's hard to pick just one guy, but I guess I'd have to say quarterback Alan Bowman from Grapevine. The Red Raiders will have a wide open quarterback competition this offseason with no established guy in place. Bowman will at least get a look and is giving himself a fighting chance by enrolling early and participating in spring football. Bowman isn't really a dual-threat guy, but has a strong arm, a ton of experience in a similar offense to Tech's and by all accounts, a lot of leadership qualities. Kliff Kingsbury immediately offered him a scholarship after evaluating him in person at a camp last summer in Lubbock. I saw Bowman in person once earlier this season during Tech's bye week when Grapevine played at Abilene Cooper. In addition to Bowman, I got to see Red Raider commit Myller Royals, a prolific 6-4 receiver for Cooper who is also signing and enrolling early at Tech.”

Q: What's the overall expectations during early period?

A: “Good. Officially locking up almost half your class in December is not a bad thing. Honestly, Tech and many other programs have been bringing guys in early for a long time as early enrollees for years. In fact, of the 10 recruits expected to sign this week, six are expected to graduate high school early, enroll at Tech in January and participate in spring football.”

Q: What does Tech staff think of the early period?

A: “I don't think they like it very much simply because, like I said above, it speeds up the whole process and Tech, especially on defense, prefers a more methodical approach in terms of evaluating prospects. In looking at Tech's commit list just four are on the defensive side and just one, defensive tackle Jaylon Hutchings from Forney, is expected to sign this week. It also doesn't help that Tech will have to set up their signing day in the conference room of their hotel in Alabama as the Red Raiders will be preparing to play South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl, which kicks off Saturday.”

Q: Will Early Signing Period force Tech to change the way they recruit at all?

A: “The biggest change is it will force all schools, not just Tech, to speed up its process in terms of which offers are commitable and which ones aren't. As positions of need are filled old offers become uncommittable, while recruits do the same in terms of committing to schools while still looking around at who else is interested. Often times it's a cat and mouse game and the new signing period speeds all that up in terms of both parties having to lay their cards on the table and finish the evaluation process.”

Q: What do you believe will be Tech's main focus after this week is over with?

A: “Defense. The Red Raiders are almost full on offense this recruiting cycle but still need to add 1-2 defensive linemen, a linebacker, and probably two defensive backs, preferably a corner and a safety.”

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