While the Texas Tech Red Raiders had 12 early signees, the Red Raiders added five more players to their 2018 roster on National Signing Day with two running backs, two linebackers and a defensive end.
Overall, the Red Raiders ranked No. 74 after National Signing Day, according to 247 Sports, signing one 4-star player in Timber Creek wide receiver Erik Ezukanma and 16 3-star players. The Red Raiders finished just below Houston and just above Western Michigan. The Red Raiders also finished last in the Big 12 Conference in recruiting rankings below Kansas State.
“We were heavy defense last year and signed some late guys that helped those numbers and this year just worked out that we were getting caught up on offense,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said in a press conference. “Next year, it’ll be back to more evenly split.”
The first signee for the Red Raiders on National Signing Day was Pleasant Grove High School outside linebacker Xavier Benson, who committed to Tech back in July on Twitter as a 3-star recruit. Benson chose Tech over the likes of Rice, Tulsa, Memphis, Wyoming, SMU, Arkansas State, Southern Miss and Army.
The next signee for the Red Raiders on National Signing Day was 3-star Lamar running back Ta’Zhawn Henry, who chose Tech over his other top choice of Oregon State. In his senior year, Henry rushed for 600 yards and seven touchdowns in 105 carries and caught 12 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown, according to MaxPreps.
Tech’s next addition was Hitchcock High School 3-star strong defensive end John Scott III, making it the second defensive player the Red Raiders had signed on National Signing Day. Scott chose the Red Raiders over the likes of Kansas State and Tulsa.
Scott ranked No. 93 in his position and No. 305 in Texas.
The Red Raiders added another 3-star outside linebacker in Wagoner’s Patrick Curley, who committed to Tech on Monday on Twitter. Curley chose Tech over the likes of Army and Abilene Christian. After the 2017 season, Curley was named the Defensive MVP for District 3-4A.
“He’s been on our radar all year,” defensive coordinator David Gibbs said in a press conference. “We’ve known we’ve liked him. First, we weren’t going to take a linebacker, then we were, and we decided not to offer him until late because if we did, I know what would’ve happened. So, excited to have him, he’s going to be a really good player here.”
Lastly, the Red Raiders added Ranchview High School 3-star running back SaRodorick Thompson, who chose Tech over Fresno State and SMU. Thompson first committed to the Red Raiders on Sunday, Jan. 28.
Thompson rushed for a total of 1,121 yards and 12 touchdowns in 165 carries in his junior year. Receiving wise, Thompson caught 11 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns that same year, giving the Red Raiders another solid running back to work alongside Henry, senior Tre King and senior Desmond Nisby while also building for the future. Also, with a new co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach hire in former Washington State offensive line coach Clay McGuire, the players will be groomed in the same style that the 2006-09 Red Raiders were.
“What jumped out was just the production,” Kingsbury said. “They’ve both run over 1,000 yards in their careers, both can catch the ball, both can do whatever you want out of the backfield. Ta’Zhawn is obviously smaller probably a little quicker back, great hands, but really good at running in between the tackle. SaRodorick, bigger body, tremendous athlete, 1,500 yards this year, so what just jumped out was the productivity.”
Alongside the National Signing Day signees, there were also the early signees that officially became part of the Red Raiders’ roster including Grapevine quarterback Alan Bowman, Ezukanma, Cooper wide receiver Myller Royals, Burnet wide receiver Sterling Galban and Lake Highlands wide receiver Corey Fulcher Jr.
Alongside football, the Red Raiders also added eight soccer players to the women’s soccer team. Midfielder Alyssa D’Aloise, goalkeeper Averi Isaacs, forward Charlotte Teeter, defender Cassandra Hiatt, defender Sierra Jones, midfielder Michaela Sheehy, midfielder Jen Rose and midfielder Marissa Ling were all added to the roster.