Every team has to start somewhere when arranging the pieces of a new recruiting class. Evidently, Texas Tech will start with speed.
The Red Raiders on Monday landed oral commitments from Manvel cornerback Tavares Garner (6-foot, 170 pounds) and Bellaire receiver-return man Devin Lauderdale (5-10, 170), both of whom count speed among their best assets. The two suburban Houston recruits, who happen to be cousins, are Tech’s first pledges for the class of 2013.
“My cousin committed the same day,” Lauderdale said, “and I told him, ‘Wherever you go, I’ll go, too.’ He committed (Monday), and I did want to go to Texas Tech for the longest. That was one of the schools I wanted to go to, so I committed.”
Lauderdale is ranked among the nation’s top 250 prospects in an early listing by Rivals.com. Bellaire coach Trey Herrmann used Lauderdale at safety as a sophomore and as a receiver and running back last year.
On a team that finished 7-4, Lauderdale carried 62 times for 708 yards and five touchdowns and turned 25 pass receptions into 759 yards and 10 TDs. He averaged 20.3 yards on seven punt returns and 28.3 yards on 10 kickoff returns.
Lauderdale said Tech coaches project as an inside receiver and return man.
“He’s got a ton of speed,” Herrmann said. “You try to get the ball in his hands as often as you can. As a return man, he’s explosive. I guarantee you Tech is excited about him. He’s a good one.”
Lauderdale said he already has scholarship offers from Colorado, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor, Arizona, Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA. Tech has to hold on to him until Feb. 6, which is national signing day for 2013.
“I feel like 85 percent I’m going to Texas Tech,” Lauderdale said, “but I still feel like I should give other schools a chance.”
Lauderdale committed to Tech without having been to campus, but he said he’s found the Red Raiders appealing for some time.
“Number one, I’m a receiver, and they throw the ball,” he said. “I just like it. It seemed like a good, strong program to be in, and the coaches are cool and all that.”
Garner, who was in Lubbock for a Tech junior day last weekend, was a ballhawk DB on a Manvel team that went 15-1 and lost to Aledo in the Class 4A Division II state championship game in December. He was credited with 48 tackles, 19 pass breakups and three interceptions.
“I think he’s a heck of an athlete,” Manvel coach Kirk Martin said. “He can really, really run. He’s a physical cornerback, a true lockdown corner. You’re not going to get behind him.”
Manvel is located south of Houston, near Alvin and is part of the Alvin ISD. The high school opened six years ago and has competed at the varsity level for four seasons. The Mavericks were just moved up to Class 5A in the University Interscholastic League realignment this month.
Garner transferred to Manvel from Houston Austin, where he started on varsity as a freshman at cornerback and as a sophomore at running back, Martin said.
“Texas Tech’s the first one to offer him, and I think there will be several more,” Martin said. “Arkansas has called on him. I really don’t think he’ll waver. He’s really excited about Tech and has committed, and he’s all in.”
Martin has heavy West Texas ties: He graduated from Valley High School, has coached at Odessa Permian and Alpine, and his parents and a brother live in Lubbock. He’ll have another tie assuming Garner follows through on his commitment.
“He really liked the team and the coaching staff,” Martin said. “I think what sold him was he truly believes there’s a need there. From what they’ve told him, that (cornerback) is an area they’re really trying to get better in, and he thinks he can play right away.”
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