Pro teams don’t invest much of their payroll to fill certain positions — think kickers and punters in the NFL, low-leverage relief pitchers in the major leagues. The same goes for college football teams, who seldom sign players at certain positions to scholarship agreements straight out of high school.
Texas Tech figures it can find big blocking backs by sorting through non-marquee players on the roster.
David Schaefer, a walk-on who lettered from 2005-07, had been a tight end-defensive end at a Class 2A power. Omar Ontiveros came to Tech as a walk-on defensive end, then moved to fullback and lettered from 2011-13. This year’s No. 1 fullback, Rodney Hall, was a walk-on transfer from Tyler Junior College. Ryan Hale was an exception, a signee out of high school who moved from linebacker to blocking back midway through his career and lettered from 2006-09.
Now the Red Raiders are converting Tyler Scalzi to be a big blocking back.
“Rodney’s going to be a senior, so we’ve got to start developing someone,” running backs coach Mike Jinks said Tuesday.
Scalzi is a 6-foot-4, 236-pound sophomore from Flower Mound who walked on in 2012. An undersized defensive lineman, he made three tackles in five games last year. He moved from defensive tackle to fullback after spring practice.
He’s switched from jersey No. 50 to No. 35.