Kingsbury expects Texas Tech newcomers to contribute now
FEB 05, 2014 5:31p ET
He's talking about contributing right now, not in 2015 or beyond. That goes for much of the first full class he's been able to bring to Lubbock, starting with his quarterback. Whitehouse native Patrick Mahomes won't just be preparing to sit behind Davis Webb after Baker Mayfield and Michael Brewer transferred from Texas Tech following the regular season.
"He's going to have to come in and play right away. He knows that, and he wants to do that. We'll see situationally if that's something we can do," Kingsbury said. "We'd like to red shirt him if he's not ready to play. But if he's ready to play, we'll get him in and get going. We'll let him compete in fall camp and see how it shakes out."
Mahomes is a passer first, but the dual-sport (baseball) star has speed that Texas Tech could use in a package if Mahomes shows he's ready in fall camp.
The Red Raiders also lost their top two pass-catchers, TE Jace Amaro and WR Eric Ward from last year's team, and a strong class of receivers highlighted by Jakari Dillard, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound outside receiver and Ian Sadler, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound inside receiver, will compete to contribute right away as well.
Kingbury said Dillard "has more size than we've had on the outside," and couldn't help but offer up a comparison between Sadler, the nation's No. 46 receiver and his old teammate and friend, Wes Welker.
"I hate to say the Wes Welker mode, but has the same elite level soccer background that Wes had, and very similar in persona and does some things that look a lot like him," he said. "So we expect him to come in and contribute right away."
The 22-man class could get contributions from its biggest member, too. Kingsbury mined the College of San Mateo in California to find Rika Levi.
"He's going to be a different mold than we've had at that position. He's a run stopper who is agile enough to rush the passer, 350 pounds," Kingsbury said. "When he was on his visit here, he was ripping phone books in front of us, so kind of intimidating for other players."
"We signed four junior college defensive linemen to come in right away and expect them to have an immediate impact, and that was a big focus of this class was shoring up that defensive line," Kingsbury said.
Keland McElrath (6-foot-6, 290 pounds), Marcus Smith (6-foot-3, 305 pounds) and Brandon Thorpe (6-foot-5, 275 pounds) all join Levi as possible impacts along the defensive line out of junior colleges. McElrath is already on campus and will practice during the spring.
"We graduated a bunch of those D line men and thought that was an area we had to get better at right away," Kingsbury said. "Big impact players. Bigger bodies than we had last year initially. They have to prove to be good players, but we're excited about their potential."
Kingsbury's Red Raiders bounced back from a five-game losing streak to upset Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl, but set out in the 2014 recruiting cycle to find players who could make sure Tech can build on its 7-5 season in Kingsbury's second season.
Wednesday, Kingsbury sounded like a man who accomplished that mission. We'll know for sure when fall arrives.