Nearing the tail-end of the current recruiting cycle, the Red Raiders have locked up two three-star linebackers who could lead the defense in the near future.
Tyrique Matthews leads the Red Raiders 2019 linebacker recruiting class. The product of Eisenhower High School in Houston is the 30th ranked outside linebacker in the country according to Rivals. At 5-11, 205, Matthews is a bit undersized to play inside. However, he more than makes up for his stature with his speed and lateral quickness. Matthews runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and has elite sideline-to-sideline speed. Matthews is also a very instinctive player who regularly finds himself around the football. In the Big 12 conference, where teams spread you out, Matthews athleticism could help him excel for the Red Raiders.
Bryce Robinson was the first linebacker to commit for the Red Raiders 2019 in this cycle. Robinson, a native of Sachse, Texas, is the 64th ranked inside linebacker in the country according to 247Sports. At 6-0, 233-pounds, Robinson is more of the tradition linebacker who imposes punishment to running backs. Robinson finished his junior year with 130 total tackles, two quarterback sacks, and two forced fumbles. More impressively, Robinson headlined a defense that only allowed five opponents to score in double-digit points in 2017. Although the Big 12 is a pass-happy conference, the running game opens up the passing game, so stout run defense is vital. Robinson could add physicality to the Red Raider depth chart and help a linebacking unit that’s currently allowing 146.4 rushing yards a game, which is 6th in the conference.
The signing of Matthews and Robinson only adds depth to a linebacking corps that is set to return four players with in-game action in 2018. With experience and leadership returning for the Red Raiders next fall, Matthews and Robinson could both find themselves redshirting and gaining knowledge from the sideline.