March 18, 2008

Leach already has three on board for 2009

For a school that's known primarily for its offense, Texas Tech is sure making some recruiting noise on the defensive side of the ball.

Pundits have claimed for years that if Tech ever were to field a stout defense, the Red Raiders would become one of the scarier teams in the entire nation. After all, Mike Leach's offense does show up in the top of just about every offensive statistical category in existence year after year, so it only makes sense that the Air Raid, coupled with a strong defense, would be a scary proposition for opponents.

In years past, Tech could blame its defensive woes on a multitude of things, chief among them a lack of talent, but that line of thinking will no longer cut the mustard. In the 2006, 2007, and 2009 classes, the Red Raiders made serious strides toward upgrading their defensive talent pool, landing current starters Jamar Wall, Rajon Henley, Marlon Williams, Bront Bird, Colby Whitlock, and talented defenders like McKinner Dixon, Joey Fowler, and Brandon Sesay.

But the good news for Tech fans is that the 2006-2008 momentum has apparently carried over to the 2009 class, as the Red Raiders' first three commitments have been on the defensive side of the ball. And we're not talking defensive commits of the early Leach Era either.

Daniel Cobb has to be the headliner in this class thus far for two reasons. 1) He's got legitimate four-star talent. 2) He fills what could perhaps be Tech's biggest need in this class- safety. He's a big, fast, athletic kid who makes plays on all three sides of the ball for Killeen Ellison, and his reputation as a big hitter is well known throughout the high school coaching ranks in the Lone Star State.

D.J. Johnson and James Scott are lesser known quantities in the recruiting world, but both will likely end up being fairly significant members of the 2009 class, if for no other reason than the fact that both Johnson and Scott are big time athletes.

Johnson, who is lethal as a dual threat quarterback for the time being, will play defensive back at Tech, and brings a tantalizing blend of size (6-foot-1, 185-pounds) and 4.4 speed to the table. Frankly, outside of defensive tackles, finding legitimate cornerbacks who have the requisite size to match-up with today's taller receivers could quite possibly be the biggest challenge in recruiting, so when you find an athlete like Johnson, you have to feel pretty good.

Though Scott, much like Johnson, wasn't highly recruited when Tech offered him, his film speaks for itself. Scott, who projects as a linebacker for the Red Raiders, is a lot like Johnson in that he has an excellent frame and speed to burn. He was the first to jump on board for the Red Raiders in this class and has the tools to become a serious playmaker.

The key here is that Tech, yes, the Tech that some claim doesn't place a premium on recruiting defensive players, has landed three prospects that have what it takes to make an impact in the Big 12. Forget the fact that Scott and Johnson might not have impressive offer sheets at this point, their film is impressive enough. In fact, they might not ever have a list of offers that gets recruiting gurus excited, they committed early on in the process, and they both have insisted that they're happy with Tech and won't be looking around. The important thing is that they have the talent, they have the size, and their film is impressive.

In fact, I have a hunch that when this class is evaluated four years from now, Tech fans will look back at the first three members of the 2009 class and smile.

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