Texas Tech did a lot of losing during the 2011 football season, especially in the last two months.
Maybe the Red Raiders can combat that by bringing in a raft of players who knew nothing but winning this year.
Tech picked up oral commitments late Wednesday from three teammates on an undefeated California community college team.
Defensive lineman Lee Adams, outside linebacker Will Smith and wide receiver-return specialist Sadale Foster — sophomores at Riverside Community College — plan to transfer to Tech at mid-term and join the team for spring practice.
Adams said he is 6-foot-3 and 260 to 265 pounds. Smith is 6-3, 220 and Foster 5-8, 190. Their team finished 11-0 this season and ranked No. 5 in the nation by JC Gridwire. They’ll try to bring some quick help to a Tech program that suffered its first losing season since 1992, finishing 5-7.
“I feel like we can bring the winning type of attitude and hard work it takes to get you to that winning program,” Smith said. “We’re really easy to jell
with. We’re likable guys, so we can help team chemistry real quick.”
Smith, Adams and Foster all attended California high schools. They are among four Riverside CC players who flew into Lubbock Thursday night for campus visits this weekend at Tech. The three pledges said another teammate joining them on the trip, Riverside cornerback Bruce Jones (5-9, 175) who had four interceptions and a team-high 12 pass breakups, also would like to commit if the Red Raiders offer him a scholarship.
Tech defensive ends coach Robert Prunty started recruiting the Riverside players only two weeks ago, Adams said, and won them over quickly.
“Within those two weeks,” Adams said, “I built more of a relationship with Coach P than coaches that recruited me since the beginning of the season. I think I talked with Coach P more than any other coach out there.”
Adams, who can play defensive end or defensive tackle, was credited with 40 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, seven sacks and seven quarterback pressures. He also had three pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Adams said he had scholarship offers from Boise State, Duke, Colorado, San Jose State, Texas-San Antonio and Washington and an offer from UCLA before coach Rick Neuheisel was fired.
The speed rush might be his best asset.
“I don’t want to sound cocky,” he said, “but I don’t feel anybody can stop me one on one.”
Adams was at Arizona State in 2010. He was suspended indefinitely by then-ASU coach Dennis Erickson after an October 2010 incident in which Adams and another teammate were arrested on suspicion of second-degree burglary for allegedly stealing laptops and other electronics from an unlocked dorm room.
Adams said being able to go to a school with at least two of his teammates was icing on the cake.
“Personally, I was going to commit before they offered the rest of my teammates,” Adams said. “But once they did that, it just made me feel that much more confident about my decision.”
Smith returned to his hometown of Riverside after one year at Division II Northwood University in Michigan. He was second on the Riverside team this season with 88 tackles, including 13 for loss and 1 1/2 sacks. He also made three interceptions, four fumble recoveries and five pass breakups and was credited with five quarterback pressures.
Smith’s scholarship list included offers from Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Gardner-Webb.
He said versatility is one of his strong suits.
“I’m feel like I’m an athletic kind of linebacker (who can play) run-stop and pass coverage,” he said. “I’m a do-it-all kind of linebacker. I don’t need to come off the field for any type of package.”
Foster made a team-leading 56 catches for 750 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also will have a chance to help the Tech return game. He returned 24 punts for a 13.4-yard average and a touchdown and ran back 22 kickoffs for a 28.5-yard average.
“I’d describe myself as a playmaker,” Foster said. “I can make guys miss, break tackles and I’m pretty multi-talented and versatile.”
Foster said he also drew recruiting attention from New Mexico State, Sacramento State, SMU and Louisiana Tech and Kentucky.
“I waited for the right opportunity to come along, and it happened to be Texas Tech,” Foster said. “So when it came, I jumped on it.
“I grew up watching Texas Tech football. I know about their throwing offense. I have confidence in their throwing ability and the quarterback and the coaching staff. Tommy Tuberville is a great coach. That helped me a lot in making my decision.”
Despite growing up in California, Foster said he has long admired the Red Raiders from afar.
“I’m a big fan of Michael Crabtree,” he said. “Growing up, watching him break screens, score touchdowns, win the Biletnikoff Award two years in a row, that was a lot of inspiration for me.”
Mid-term transfers can sign financial aid agreements starting Wednesday.
TEXAS TECH COMMITMENTS
The following players have made commitments to sign with Texas Tech. The national signing period begins Feb. 1 for spring graduates and Dec. 21 for mid-term transfers.
Clayton Nicholas, 6-3, 210, QB, Abilene Cooper; Quinton White, 5-8, 188, RB, College Station A&M Consolidated; Keenon Ward, 5-10, 180, IR, Snyder; Sadale Foster, 5-8, 190, IR-KR, Riverside (Calif.) CC/Riverside North HS; Reginald Davis, 6-1, 188, WR, Tenaha; Dominique Wheeler, 6-2, 175, WR, Crockett; Jared Kaster, 6-4, 268, C, Altair Rice Consolidated; Trey Keenan, 6-6, 270, OT, Argyle; Halapoulivaati Vaitai, 6-6 1/2, 267, OT, Haltom; Michael Starts, 6-4, 280, OT-DL, Waco La Vega; Lee Adams, 6-3, 265, DE, Riverside (Calif.) CC/Corona (Calif.) Centennial HS; Desimon Green, 6-4, 230, DE, Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy/McKeesport, Penn. HS; Chase Robison, 6-4, 225, DE, Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers; J.J. Bynum, 6-3, 280, DT, College Station A&M Consolidated; Anthony Smith, 5-11, 288, DT, Spring Westfield; Micah Awe, 6-0, 196, LB, Mansfield Summit; Ryan Flannigan, 6-1, 200, LB, Sugar Land Marshall; Will Smith, 6-3, 220, OLB, Riverside, Calif., CC/Riverside (Calif.) Notre Dame HS; Kris Williams, 6-2, 202, LB, Dallas Bryan Adams; La’Darius Newbold, 6-1, 180, CB, Lancaster.