With 36 players from last season's Gator Bowl two-deep returning to next season's roster, Texas Tech landed a nice crop of student-athletes to complement the wealth of talent and experience the Red Raiders will enjoy in 2008. A total of 16 players comprise this season's signing class, including six that enrolled at the university in January.
"Our coaching staff did a great job of bringing in another solid class to Texas Tech," Red Raider Head Coach Mike Leach said. "We wanted to focus this year on defense, and did a nice job of attracting some of the top talent in the country along the defensive line. We also got a shot in the arm on the offensive line with a solid group there as well. Overall, we are pleased with this group and look forward to coaching them in the fall."
With the emphasis on defense, Texas Tech signed the nation's fourth-ranked class of defensive ends. Highlighting the group is McKinner Dixon, who was a freshman All-American for the Red Raiders during Texas Tech's Cotton Bowl season in 2005. Dixon redshirted the 2006 season at Cisco (Texas) Junior College, before leading the CJC defense with nine sacks and 68 tackles during the fall. Dixon, along with defensive ends Joey Fowler and Ryan Halliburton, enrolled in January. Broderick Marshall, a Tech signee in 2006, will join the program during the summer, after wrapping up the spring semester at Tyler (Texas) Junior College, while four-star junior college end Brandon Sesay also will arrive in the summer.
The Red Raiders added a pair of defensive backs to the secondary with the addition of corner Jarell Routt and safety Cody Davis. Routt was a member of Texas Tech's 2006 signing class and spent the last two seasons at Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College, where he did not play football, but participated in track. The Texas City, Texas, native will have three years to play.
The offensive line, which returns all five starters, got a boost with the addition of four prominent standouts from the prep ranks. The group averages 6-feet-6 and 308 pounds, including 6-7, 330-pound Terry McDaniel from Diana, Texas. Omar Castillo was originally signed in 2007, but spent the season as a grayshirt. He officially joined the program in January, while Joe King and Deveric Gallington will arrive in the summer.
Others joining the program include quarterback Seth Doege, who enrolled in January. Despite missing his final two high school seasons with injuries, Doege still garnered national attention with interest from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Florida and Purdue. The Frenship Wolfforth (Texas) High School graduate was rated the No. 4 quarterback in the state of Texas.
Running back Harrison Jeffers is the lone offensive backfield addition and was listed as the No. 1 running back and No. 4 overall player in the state of Oklahoma, following a standout career at Lawton (Okla.) Eisenhower High School. Donnie Carona became the first placekicker to sign a National Letter of Intent in the Mike Leach era. Carona could possibly be looked upon immediately to replace All-Big 12 Conference first teamer Alex Trlica. The Beaumont, Texas, native was a first-team all-state selection and played on offense and defense as well.
Wrapping up the class are a pair of highly regarded athletes - Cornelius Douglas and Brandon Reid. Douglas prepped at Lawton (Okla.) High School, where he was an all-state quarterback, defensive back and return man for LHS. Reid was a bruising running back at El Paso (Texas) Canutillo High School.
Handled placekicking and punting duties for four seasons as a standout specialist for Kelly, also lining up at linebacker and running back during his high school career ... served as the team's primary running back his senior year and received first-team TAPPS Division I All-State honors after leading the Bulldog attack with 792 rushing yards and nine touchdowns ... converted four of his five field goal attempts, including a long of 48 yards, and succeeded on 37-of his-38 extra points as a senior ... also a second-team All-State selection as a punter after averaging 42.2 yards on his 24 attempts, and boomed a reported 80% of his kickoffs into the opponent's endzone for touchbacks ... successful on seven of his eight field goal attempts as a junior ... ranked as the No. 7 kicking prospect in the nation by Scout.com ... coached privately by noted kicking consultant Rocky Willingham ... chose Tech over Air Force, Baylor and Mississippi.
Defensive Back 6-2, 205 Stephenville, Texas (Stephenville HS)
An extremely productive high school player, he helped lead Stephenville to a combined 33-5 record during his three years as a starter in the defensive backfield ... named an Associated Press Class 4A second-team All-State selection, and was voted the District 8-4A Defensive MVP after a senior season that saw him total 109 tackles, five tackles for loss 11 pass break-ups and four forced fumbles ... chosen to the Abilene Reporter-News' Class 4A/5A All Big Country Team following his final prep campaign ... 2007 team finished the season with a 10-2 record, an average margin of victory of 29.2 points, and a berth in the area round of the Class 4A playoffs ... noted for having scored a touchdown five different ways during his high school career ... one of 11 defensive backs in the state to be named to the Lubbock Avalanche Journal's 'Top 100 for 2008' ... a first-team Class 4A All-State pick by both the AP and the Texas Sports Writers' Association as a junior in 2007, after racking up 99 tackles, 21 pass break-ups, nine interceptions, seven forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries for the Yellow Jackets ... rated a three-star prospect and the No. 58 safety in the nation by Scout.com ... the No. 86 safety in the country according to ESPN Scouts Inc ... also a member of the varsity basketball team at Stephenville ... chose Tech over Baylor, Duke, Houston, Oklahoma State, Mississippi and Vanderbilt.
Returns to the program after earning freshman All-America honors as a standout pass rusher for the Red Raiders in 2005 ... an aggressive, physical presence up front, he racked up 26 total tackles, including six for loss and two sacks, appearing in 10 games during his rookie season at Tech ... played the 2007 season at Cisco Junior College, finishing with 68 total tackles (45 solo) and leading the defense with nine sacks, while also forcing two fumbles and recording an interception in just nine games ... an honorable mention All-Conference choice for a Wrangler team finished with a 7-3 record and an average margin of victory of 17.3 points ... regarded as a four-star prospect and the No. 15 overall player in the nation on Rivals.com's Junior College Top 50 for 2008 ... rated a four-star prospect and the No. 11 junior college defensive end by Scout.com ... listed as the No. 12 defender and No. 18 overall player on the SuperPrep JUCO 100 for 2008 ... chose Tech over Louisville and TCU, but held offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas as a prep in 2005.
One of the most promising prep quarterbacks in the state despite missing each of the last two seasons with injuries ... displayed his abilities in 7-on-7 competitions for the Tigers, leading the team to the state tournament in College Station during the summer of 2007 ... noted for his leadership, decision making and quick release, he appears to possess a number of qualities that will make him effective in operating the Tech offense ... rated as a three-star prospect, the No. 4 quarterback and the No. 71 overall player in the state on Rivals.com's Texas Top 100 for 2008 ... also listed as the No. 18 overall pro-style passer in the nation by Rivals ... a three-star player according to Scout.com ... a member of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's 'Top 100' for 2008 ... ranked the No. 4 quarterback and No. 43 overall player in the state on SuperPrep's 'Texas 110 for 2008' ... saw his last full-contact action as a sophomore, completing 115-of-171 attempts (67.2%) for 2,439 yards and 27 touchdowns at Crane High School in 2005 ... also carried the ball 78 times, gaining 526 yards and adding three touchdowns on the ground his sophomore year ... attended Texas Tech Football Camp prior to his junior year ... will enroll for the spring semester and could be rehabilitated in time to join the team for off-season workouts ... chose Tech over interest from Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Purdue.
A gifted athlete with a dynamic skill set, he appeared at quarterback, defensive back and as a return man for Lawton ... chosen as an honorable mention All-State selection on offense by The Tulsa World following his senior season ...a first-team Class 6A All-State choice on defense by OKPrepXtra.com ... completed 62-of-121 pass attempts for 828 yards and nine touchdowns from the quarterback position, also rushing for 413 yards and 14 scores during senior season en route to being named the District 1-6A Offensive Player of the Year ... engineered the No. 4 ranked rush offense in Class 6A in 2007, a group that averaged 234.4 yards per contest ... led his Wolverines team to a 7-4 record and a berth in the Class 6A state playoffs his senior year... also averaged a reported 42.5 yards per attempt on 10 punts in 2007 ... completed 67-of-131 attempts as a junior, netting 1,033 passing yards and 10 touchdowns, while also picking up 612 yards and adding 11 scores on the ground ... rated a three-star prospect and listed as the No. 3 athlete and No. 9 overall player in the state on Rivals.com's Oklahoma Top 25 for 2008 ... ranked the No. 53 overall player in SuperPrep Magazine's 'Midlands 86 for 2008' a list that features the top players from a region encompassing 11 states ... chose Tech over offers from Iowa State, Kansas State, New Mexico and Tulsa.
A tremendously strong high school prospect, he projects as a defensive end, but has the frame to move inside at the next level ... a three-star player and the No. 37 strongside defensive end in the country according to Rivals.com ... also the No. 3 defender and No. 12 overall player in the state on Rivals' Oklahoma Top 25 for 2008 ... a three-star recruit listed as the No. 33 defensive end in the nation by Scout.com ... ranked the No. 40 overall prospect on SuperPrep's 'Midlands 86 for 2008', a region that encompasses 11 states ... rated the No.31 defensive end in the country by ESPN Scouts Inc. ... named a Big All-City selection by The Oklahoman after finishing his senior season with 80 tackles, including 20 behind the line and six sacks in 10 games, despite being the subject of double teams for most of the year ... a Class 6A first-team All-State selection by both OKPrepXtra.com and The Tulsa World following his senior season ... totaled 104 tackles, including 16 for loss, five sacks and 22 hurries as a junior in 2006 for a Jaguar team that allowed just 11.2 points per game and finished the season 11-1 ... attended Texas Tech Football Camp prior to his senior year and bench pressed 225 pounds a reported 23 times ... chose Tech over Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, New Mexico, and Oklahoma State.
Offensive Lineman 6-4, 320 North Richland Hills, Texas (Richland HS)
A decorated offensive lineman who received first-team All-District 5-5A and second-team All-State Class 5A honors following his senior season at Richland, despite it being just his first on the offensive side of the ball ... chosen as one of 88 players nationally to be invited to the annual Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, and started the game at right tackle for the West team ... a second-team all-area selection on the Fort Worth Star Telegram's Super Team for 2007 ... also a Dallas Morning News All-Area second-team selection, rated the No. 2 offensive lineman and No. 24 overall player in the area by the publication ... one of seven offensive linemen to be named to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's 'Fabulous 44', an annual listing of the top high school players in the state ... given a three-star rating and ranked as the No. 24 guard prospect in the country by Rivals.com ... appears as the No. 65 overall player on Rivals' Texas Top 100 for 2008 ... a three-star prospect according to Scout.com, listed as the No. 32 offensive guard in the nation ... listed as the No. 64 overall recruit in the state on SuperPrep's 'Texas 110 for 2008' ... boasts a reported bench press of 400 pounds and a squat of 600 ... contributed as a member of the Richland varsity basketball team following his final football season ... chose Tech over Arizona, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Utah and Washington St.
Defensive End 6-4, 234 Wolfforth, Texas (Frenship HS)
Local product and three-year starter at defensive end for Frenship teams that collected a 35-8 record during his high school career ... helped anchor a Tiger defense that yielded an average of just 15.5 points per game his senior year, posting two shutouts and holding opponents to 10 points or fewer on five occasions ... an Associated Press Class 4A All-State honorable mention choice in 2007 after totaling 67 tackles, including nine for loss, seven sacks, and 29 quarterback hurries ... also named first-team All-District 4-4A following his senior season ... a member of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's Class 4A/5A All South Plains team in 2007 ... rated a three-star prospect and ranked the No. 30 strongside defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com ... also the No. 94 overall player in the state on Rivals' Texas Top 100 for 2008 ... received a three-star rating from Scout.com and is listed as the No. 56 overall defensive end in the nation by the recruiting service ... ranked as the No. 79 overall player in the state on SuperPrep's 'Texas 110 for 2008' ... attended Texas Tech Football Camp prior to both his junior and senior seasons ... chose Tech over offers from Houston, Kansas State, Northwestern, Oklahoma State and Purdue.
Running Back 5-9, 210 Lawton, Oklahoma (Eisenhower HS)
An explosive ball carrier with impressive speed, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns on only 164 carries, and caught 42 passes for 489 yards as a senior for the Eagles ... regarded as a four-star prospect and the No. 1 running back, and No. 4 overall player in the state on Rivals.com's Oklahoma Top 25 for 2008 ... also ranked the No. 11 overall all-purpose back in the nation by Rivals ... a three-star player listed as the No. 44 running back in the country by Scout.com ... listed as the No. 59 recruit on SuperPrep's 'Midlands 86 for 2008', a region that encompasses 11 states ... represented the West team in the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State football game ... named to the 2007 OKPrepXtra.com Class 6A All-State First-Team ... led all players in Class 6A his junior year, gaining over 1,800 yards on the ground (2,069 yards from scrimmage) and finishing with 17 total touchdowns ... also a standout in track, he holds a reported personal-best of 10.28 in the 100m and 21.56 in the 200m ... chose Tech over Kansas State, Oklahoma State, SMU and Wyoming.
Offensive Lineman 6-6, 297 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Putnam City North HS)
A strong player with an imposing frame, he seems to fit the physical mold for an offensive lineman at Texas Tech ... rated as a three-star prospect, the No. 2 offensive lineman and No. 15 overall player in the state on Rivals.com's Oklahoma Top 25 for 2008 ... also listed as the No. 79 offensive tackle recruit in the nation by Rivals ... ranked the No. 98 offensive tackle nationally by Scout.com ... a member of the 2007 OKPrepXtra.com Class 6A All-State First-Team ... started at tackle for a Panther offense that averaged 23 points per game and propelled North to an 8-3 record and a berth in the Class 6A state playoffs in 2007 ... given an overall grade of 88 by the coaching staff his senior year ... a second-team All-State selection by The Tulsa World following his senior season ... participated in the Los Angeles NIKE Training Camp last April and was praised by camp coaches and observers for his performance in one-on-one drills against some of the top defensive line prospects on the west coast ...for season chose Tech over Iowa State.
Initially a member of Texas Tech's 2006 signing class, his size makes him a candidate to play either defensive end or tackle for the Red Raiders ... totaled 43 tackles (16 solo) two behind the line, and one and a half sacks, earning first-team All-Southwest Junior College Conference honors following his sophomore season at Tyler in 2007 ... a four-star prospect and the No. 7 junior college defensive tackle prospect in the nation according to Scout.com ... rated a three-star player and the No. 83 overall prospect on Rivals.com's Junior College Top 100 for 2008 ... also the No. 91 overall player on the SuperPrep 'JUCO 100 for 2008' ... was the District 25-4A Defensive MVP as a high school senior in 2005, finishing with 47 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles and three pass break-ups on a McCallum defense that held opponents to just 14.9 points per game ... originally chose Tech over offers from Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma State coming out of high school in 2006.
A massive high school prospect with rare versatility, he was named first-team All-District 18-2A as both an offensive and defensive linemen following his senior season at New Diana ... earned Associated Press second-team Class 2A All-State honors after totaling an impressive 72 pancakes and 43 knockdowns on offense and adding 96 tackles on defense during his final prep campaign ... noted for not having given up a sack during his high school career in what amounted to more than 430 pass attempts ... tallied 306 tackles, including 45 for loss, and 10 sacks over the course of his three varsity seasons on defense for the Eagles ... also a second-team All-State selection on the offensive line following his junior season ... named first-team All-East Texas by the Longview News-Journal on both offense and defense following his junior and senior seasons ... chosen to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's 'Top 100' for 2008 ... regarded as a three-star player and listed as the No. 71 offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com ... ranked as the No. 36 offensive tackle prospect in the country by the ESPN Scouts Inc. ...also received a three-star rating from Scout.com and is ranked by the recruiting service as the No. 55 tackle nationally ... attended Texas Tech Football Camp prior to his senior year ... chose Tech over Arizona, Colorado, Kansas State, LSU and Oklahoma State.
Athlete 6-2, 208 El Paso, Texas (Canutillo HS)
One of the top running backs in the west Texas region, he will make the transition to linebacker at the collegiate level for the Red Raiders ... rushed for just over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior, helping his Canutillo team to a 10-2 record and a berth in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs ... named an honorable mention All-City selection by The El Paso Times in 2007... totaled more than 2,500 yards and scored 21 touchdowns on the ground during his three years on the varsity for the Eagles ... a second-team All-District 2-4A selection following his senior season ... given a three-star rating and ranked as the No. 88 athlete in the country by Rivals.com ... also appeared at cornerback, linebacker and safety during his prep career ... chose Tech over Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas A&M and UTEP.
Defensive Back 6-0, 205 Coffeyville, Kansas (Texas City HS/Coffeyville Community College)
A developing prospect with impressive speed, he could begin contributing immediately on special teams at the collegiate level ... a three-star player according to Rivals.com, he's clocked as low as a reported 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash ... originally signed with Tech out of high school in 2006, and was placed by the coaching staff at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas ... redshirted during his first year of junior college and now has three years to play three for the Red Raiders ... was also a member of the Coffeyville track team and served as the first leg on a Red Raven 4X100 relay team that qualified for both the indoor and outdoor national meets his freshman year ... a Class 4A All-State honorable mention selection following his senior season at Texas City, where he appeared at corner, wide receiver and running back for the Stingarees ... a second-team all-district pick as a junior in high school, playing both receiver and defensive back for head coach Tim Finn ... originally chose Tech over offers from Arkansas State, Iowa State, and Mississippi.
Defensive End 6-6, 273 Atlanta, Georgia (Douglass HS/College of the Sequoias)
The premier defensive prospect to have signed with Texas Tech during the Mike Leach era ... a dominating pass rusher with tremendous size and strength, he appears primed to make an instant impact at the Division I level ... rated a four-star prospect and the No. 11 overall player on Rivals.com's Junior College Top 50 for 2008 ... also listed as a four-star prospect and the No. 6 junior college defensive end by Scout.com ... registered 28 tackles (23 solo) including seven for loss and four sacks in six games for Sequoias in 2007 ... racked up 63 tackles and an impressive 12 sacks in eight games as a freshman in 2006 at Northwest Community College in Mississippi ... originally signed with Georgia out of high school in 2005 after totaling 50 tackles, including 15 for loss, 17.5 sacks, 24 hurries and eight forced fumbles as a senior at Douglass ... a member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 following his final prep season ... was ranked as the No. 3 defensive lineman and 10 overall player in the state on Rivals' Georgia Top 40 for 2005 ... reportedly received over 70 written scholarship offers during his final junior college season ... has two years to play two ... chose Tech over California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Michigan, Oregon, and Tennessee amongst others.