Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury says he’s given former blue-chip signee Michael Starts a chance to return to the program, but didn’t sound as if fans should get their hopes up.
Starts, who played briefly for the Red Raiders during the 2012 season and quit the team not long after, stirred interest among Tech fans when he showed up at a spring practice in March.
“We’re working through it,” Kingsbury said. “I think he’s got some academic stuff he’s got to handle, but I’m not opposed to that totally. So we’ll see how it plays out.”
No final determination’s been made on Tech wide receiver Peyton Williams’ future, Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said, but whether he plays again remains cloudy because of knee injuries.
Williams underwent knee surgery as a high school senior in January 2012, signed with Colorado and then transferred to Tech in January 2013. He later suffered another knee injury.
Texas Tech released its post-spring football depth chart on Monday, and you can check it out below. Here are 13 thoughts on how the two-deep shakes out as the Red Raiders start looking toward summer.
■ You might notice the spelling of offensive tackle Reshod Fortenberry’s first name has changed. Apparently, that’s the proper spelling, but the big fellow never bothered to correct anybody or any program that spelled it the more conventional way. By any name, Fortenberry’s a guy the Red Raiders are thrilled to have back for another year.
Former Ohio State linebacker Mike Mitchell, a Texan who was one of the nation’s top recruits in 2013, attended the Texas Tech spring game Saturday, a source confirmed.
Mitchell signed with Ohio State in 2013, redshirted last season and then decided to transfer back closer to home. He has not committed to any school after being given permission in February to contact other programs. He attended Plano Prestonwood Christian.
Defensive end Gary Moore came back from injury during the second half of spring football and played Saturday. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound redshirt freshman had been out with a foot injury since late last season.
“He shows up now,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “He’s got some quick-twitch that we don’t have on the defensive line, so it’s going to be exciting.”
On Saturday, Moore made a tackle and was penalized twice — once for being offside, another time for hands to the helmet of quarterback Tanner Tausch.
The Fehoko family was a prominent presence at the Texas Tech spring game Saturday. Former Tech linebacker Sam Fehoko and current Red Raiders linebacker V.J. Fehoko had about 10 immediate and extended family members in attendance, Sam Fehoko said.
Before the game, the two linebackers, their father Vili and their younger brother Breiden, one of the nation’s top recruits, led the Red Raiders in a Haka chant and dance.
Texas Tech backup wide receiver Peyton Williams hasn’t practiced this spring, and offensive coordinator Eric Morris indicated the redshirt freshman from Southlake Carroll might leave the program.
“He’s had an injury,” said Morris, who coaches the receivers. “I think he’s consulting right now with his family and trying to decide what his next steps will be, whether he wants to come back and play.”
It’s fortunate for Texas Tech that Rashad Fortenberry had his senior-year eligibility restored recently.
Matt Wilson’s career could be over after another knee surgery, offensive line coach Lee Hays said. Wilson’s a junior who played in four games last season backing up Fortenberry at right tackle.
If Texas Tech had a game this Saturday, seniors Kenny Williams and Austin Stewart would be the 1-2 at Raider outside linebacker, co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said Tuesday.
“What’s great about that is they’re both playing pretty well,” Smith said. “They’re both competing and both of them are cheering each other on. When you have two guys at a position playing well, competition makes a football team. They practice hard every day because they both want to play.”
Texas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said before spring practice that sophomore safety Keenon Ward needed to finish better on tackles and show more confidence at the point of attack.
Ward apparently took the message to heart.
Co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said Ward has stood out this spring, not just among the candidates for an open safety spot, but on the defense in general.