Wells, new staff win early recruiting battles

Red Raiders expected to ink more than a dozen players in early signing on Wednesday.

A change at the top of a football program is always going to cause a transitional period throughout the roster and such has been the case since Texas Tech introduced Matt Wells as its new head football coach on December 1.

With the departure of Kliff Kingsbury, the Red Raiders have seen quite the turnover in recruiting. Since the regular season concluded, the Red Raiders have lost 6 verbal commits. With the early signing period upon us, the Red Raiders coaching staff has a tall order to add talent to a promising recruiting class.

The most worrisome position group heading into early signing now lies in the Red Raider secondary. The depth the Red Raiders once had in the secondary has dwindled down to one. Alex Hogan, a three-star cornerback, is the only verbal commit that has decided to stay with the Red Raiders. The decision didn’t come easy for Hogan, as he decommitted and recommitted in an eight-day span.

A number of other talented prospects will continue to honor their commitment with Texas Tech. Gilbert Ibeneme headlines the 15 commits who will help usher in the Wells era at Texas Tech. Ibeneme is a four-star prospect and is the 29th ranked strong-side defensive end in the nation according to Rivals. 

Other defensive prospects that remain committed to Texas Tech are three-star prospects LB Tyrique Matthews, LB Bryce Robinson, DT Cooper Lake, and DE Tony Bradford. All four players are extremely talented and will benefit from the new multiple-front schemes that defensive coordinator Keith Patterson brings to Lubbock.

Offensively, the foundation for the Red Raiders is still intact. Offensive tackle Trevor Roberson remains committed to Texas Tech and the new coaching staff added a commitment in offensive lineman Landon Peterson of Odessa Permian. Keeping three-star Roberson is huge for the Red Raiders. Roberson has amazing size and strength that will help engineer a run game for new Offensive Coordinator David Yost.

Similar to Hogan, dual-threat quarterback Maverick McIvor recommitted with the Red Raiders. McIvor had strong ties with Kingsbury, so his recommitment was a pleasant surprise for the new coaching staff.

The skill positions for the Red Raiders have taken a significant hit. Trey Cleveland is the only wide receiver to remain with the Red Raiders. Cleveland is a three-star prospect out of Arlington (Texas) that brings a lot of length to an already dynamic receiving corps. Tight end Simon Gonzalez and all-around playmaker Velton Gardner round out the pass catchers that decided to stay with the Red Raiders.

A major addition to the Red Raiders recruiting class is tight end, Travis Koontz. Koontz is a 3-star JUCO who last played at Ventura College. At 6-foot-5, 250-pounds, Koontz becomes the first traditional tight end the Red Raiders have recruited in years. His arrival assures fans the Red Raiders want to feature the tight end in traditional formations in 2019.

The Red Raiders have key holes to fill in a short period of time but the new coaching staff has the moxie to add to an already talented recruiting class.

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