Texas Tech assistants on Saturday scrambled to contact recruits in the wake of Tommy Tuberville’s departure for Cincinnati.
“We have, I believe, 17 verbal commitments at this time,” Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said. “I’ve asked our assistant coaches to remain in communication with those commitments as well as those individuals that they’re recruiting.
“They’re recruiting them to come to Texas Tech University; they’re recruiting them to be a Red Raider. We continue to stay in communication with them and make sure that those young men that have committed here, we’re going to honor our commitment to them.”
Several of those players gave their reaction’s to Tuberville’s exit on Saturday.
■ Devin Lauderdale, 2013 WR, Houston Bellaire
“I’m not sure about going to Tech (anymore),” Lauderdale said.
Lauderdale said he is interested in West Virginia, Cal, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Alabama and Notre Dame.
“Tuberville was the reason I was going, mostly,” Lauderdale said. “So now that he’s gone, I’m not sure if I will go there or not.”
■ Cody Hayes, 2013 OL, Fort Worth Eastern Hills
“Coach Thomsen, my recruiter, has been keeping in contact with me and sending me letters and stuff,” Hayes said. “Right now I have a good feeling about going to Texas Tech.”
Hayes said Texas Tech’s track record of graduating football players is one of the main things he likes.
“(Tuberville leaving) shouldn’t (affect me),” Hayes said. “I’m going to find out and make sure I get this taken care of.
“New Mexico and (Stephen F. Austin) are talking to me, letting me know they’re still interested.”
■ D.J. Gillins, 2014 QB, Jacksonville (Fla.) Eagle’s View Academy
“My thoughts are pretty much the same (as they have been),” Gillins said. “If Neal Brown or coach Chad Scott leaves, then I might reconsider. I got a new offer from Louisville, then Boston College, Ole Miss, and Duke.
“It doesn’t matter who the head coach is, I like Texas Tech period. It depends on how the offense changes if I’ll reconsider. If it stays the same, then I’ll reconsider.”
■ Caleb Woodward, 2013 QB/WR/CB, Leander
“I definitely didn’t expect it,” Woodard said. “I’m pretty disappointed that he ended up leaving. I’m committed to the Red Raider program. Texas Tech has been my dream school my whole life. I have family out there.”
On whether or not he would reconsider his commitment: “It would just be a matter of what new guy comes in and if that’s the right fit from me.”
“I’m hoping that Kliff Kingsbury could come in and I could play for him. I remember watching the Alabama game, they said if Texas A&M wins this game then Kliff Kingsbury’s opportunity to be come a head coach will go way up. I would be really disappointed if I didn’t end up being a Red Raider.
“I was pretty shocked that he resigned and went to Cincinnati.”
Woodward said no other schools have been pursuing him heavily.
“I committed really before anybody knew about me,” Woodward said.
■ Justis Nelson, 2013 CB/WR, Dallas Christian
“I mean, it’s (unfortunate), of course, but I don’t really know what to think about it,” Nelson said. “It’s surprising, definitely, but I don’t think it will change my perspective at all. I’m still ready to get down there.”
Nelson doesn’t believe Tuberville’s departure will affect his commitment.
“No, sir, unless they just don’t want me anymore,” Nelson said. “Otherwise, I don’t see any reason for me to look anywhere else because that’s where I want to be.”
Nelson said Yale and a Division-II school contacted him Friday.
■ Aneas Henricks, 2013 DB, Bastrop
“It’s surprising,” Henricks said. “It wasn’t something that was expected. I was just playing a game and got a text from ESPN that said Tuberville left for Cincinnati. I definitely got to see who they hire to replace him and then I’ve got to talk to the right people to see what would be the best decision for myself. I don’t know who all is leaving. It depends on who replaces him and who he takes to Cincinnati with him. I’ll talk to my coaches and see what they think.
“Tulsa and Houston have kind of kept in touch with me and tried to contact me. Wake Forest, too. If anything else from any schools pop up, it would definitely be something to look at.
“Definitely just got to see who they bring in and if you feel comfortable with them. Once you get comfortable with them and something changes like this you have to get comfortable with a whole new coaching staff.”
■ DaKorey Johnson, 2013 LB, Trinity Valley Community College
“I don’t know what to say,” Johnson said. “I’m speechless, I don’t know what to say.”
Could this affect Johnson’s commitment to Tech?
“Definitely,” Johnson said. “If Coach Kaufman leaves, yes.
If Tech makes the right hire, would Johnson stay?
“I don’t know at this point,” Johnson said. “You never know how long it will take to get another coach in and signing day is right around the corner, so I really don’t know.”
■ Daryl Chestnut, 2013 RB, Miami (Fla.) Columbus
“You know Coach Tuberville is one of the best coaches in college football,” Chestnut said. “He made two running backs go in the first round, number two and number five.”
Would this change Chestnut’s commitment status?
“Me and the running backs coach are real close, so I’ll be in touch with him, but I have to do what’s best for me.”
Other schools have been pursuing Chestnut.
“Oklahoma State and Florida State have been talking to me a lot,” he said. “I lost my state semifinal yesterday, so I haven’t had time to focus on recruiting but now that I’m off I can focus on it a lot.
“I’m still with Tech, but yeah if they bring in a great head coach who honors me and still thinks I’m the running back who helps turn their program around. I see no reason why I can’t stick with Tech.”
■ Baylen Brown, 2013 OL, O’Connor
“My dad watched the press conference and said they are honoring all commitments and keeping the coaches that are already there,” Brown said, “so I’m sticking with my commitment and not going anywhere else.”
“Houston told me they still have a spot for me if I change my mind, but that doesn’t really phase me. Coach Thomsen has been down the last couple of weeks to see me. I think had he have known, he would have told me something. He didn’t seem to know or seem worried about anything, so I think it caught them all off guard.”