Senior-to-be wide receiver Jakari Dillard, of Princeton, has been committed to Texas Tech since August of 2012, longer than all but five of the Red Raiders 2013 signees.
On Thursday, the high three-star 2014 recruit received news that he’s in consideration to become a U.S. Army all-American and play in the Jan. 4 game in San Antonio.
Now, he’s using that as motivation to make it a reality.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Dillard said. “It does motivate me, knowing that I have to keep working hard and getting better … I hope I make it and I’m just pumped to possibly be able to play in that game. I’ve been working real hard to get there and get to the next level, but that’s one thing I want to do my senior year is play in that game.”
■ Neal makes commit No. 10
Texas Tech picked up its 10th commitment of the 2014 class last Wednesday when Dallas Lincoln athlete Derrick Neal made his pledge to the Red Raiders.
“Yes, I committed and I decided that because I think they fit my style of play the best,” Neal told Wreckem 247 in a text message.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is now the highest-rated recruit on Tech’s 2014 commitment list. Neal is rated 91 overall, and four stars by 247Sports.
“Texas Tech was showing me much love, they like how I play,” Neal said. “They’re recruiting me as an athlete. I can do a lot with the ball. I can play slot and do kickoff returns. I can play corner too, so I don’t know yet (what I’ll play first).”
■ Tech offers 2015 OT
Among the latest group of 2015 prospects to pick up an offer from the Red Raiders is Mesquite Horn offensive tackle Conner Dyer.
“Over the past (week) I’ve had two verbal offers, from TCU and Tech,” Dyer said. “They stopped by my school. They’re both very good programs that are worth looking into.”
The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder helped the Jaguars rack up more than 5,500 yards of total offense and 65 touchdowns en route to an 8-4 season in 2012.
“(Tech) said they’d like to get me on the field as soon as possible,” Dyer said. “They said they saw me last year and they’ve seen how much I’ve grown and they’d love to have me on their team.”
■ Very early offer
Something that is virtually unheard of for Red Raider fans is an offer going out to a high school freshman. That happened two weeks ago when Nate Craig of Dade City (Fla.) Pasco High School picked up an offer from Tech.
“I was speechless and surprised,” Craig said. “Usually a freshman doesn’t get offers.”
Massachusetts followed suit a few days later, and Ohio State jumped on board on Tuesday. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder is also receiving interest from Florida State, Miami, and Louisville .
“(Tech) said they like the way I play,” Craig said. “I’m the type of guy they can use up the field, and they need a big target to pass to. They said I can come in and play right away. They want to use me in goalline and jump-ball situations and as a possession receiver.”
■ Bishop Dunne has two targets
Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic offensive tackle Jovan Pruitt, a 2014 target, has a lengthy list of offers that includes Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Last week, the 6-foot-6, 290-pound prospect added an offer from Florida
“Baylor, OU, Texas Tech, Ole Miss is at the top,” he explained. “Those four are the only ones I can really name right now. I’m not really (naming) who’s in first, second or third because those are just four schools that I really like. I’m not putting those in any numerical order.”
Pruitt plans to be deliberate with his recruitment, wanting to learn more about each of his options.
“After my senior season, I’ll take more time out to go see colleges and do more research on them and see what they’re all about,” he said. “Academics most importantly, environment that makes me feel like I’m at home with all my work and just a good, strong organization and continue to build on their legacy and dynasty, that’s what I’m looking for.”
Tech is also in the mix for one of Pruitt’s teammates.
“I just got three offers (this week): North Texas, Texas Tech, and North Carolina,” safety Payton Hendrix said. “I added those offers to my list. A lot of schools are recruiting me pretty heavily, but I don’t have any favorites yet … Out of those three, North Carolina is in the ACC so that makes them stand out, and Texas Tech is in the Big 12, and they’re in Texas. Location makes them a big factor I guess.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder received the news of his offer from defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt and safeties coach Trey Haverty.
“They liked what they saw and they wanted to get some coaches down there and see me face to face,” Hendrix said. “They want to get me to Lubbock on an unofficial visit … The safeties coach said the good thing about Texas Tech is that I have an opportunity to come in as a freshman and play early, so that’s a plus.”
■ Lawrence names top four
Texas Tech has only one offensive lineman committed in its 2014 class in Cibolo Steele’s Deionte Noel, but the Red Raiders are expected to add between two and four more before National Signing Day.
One player to keep an eye on is Waxahachie tackle Patrick Lawrence.
The 6-foot-6, 255-pounder now holds offers from Texas Tech, Baylor, Oregon State, Arizona State, Washington State, Tulsa, Tulane, and Rice.
“I like Baylor, Texas Tech, Rice, and Oregon State,” Lawrence said. “They’re probably my top four … We went to Oregon State last weekend, it was a beautiful place. A beautiful campus and great coaches.”
Lawrence’s top four schools all have one particular thing in common: he’s unofficially visited each of them. His unofficial visit to Lubbock in mid-April certainly helped the Red Raiders chances of landing him.
“I loved it out there in Lubbock,” Lawrence said. “I loved the coaches, I loved watching their coaches and watching their practice, and seeing what they’re doing out there. I loved seeing all the new equipment. I’m forming a close relationship with Coach (Eric) Morris and Coach (Lee) Hays.”
■ No. 1 WR likes Tech
New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr wide receiver Speedy Noil has five schools that he has zeroed in on, and he also knows when he will announce which school will win the five-star sweepstakes.
“LSU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, USC and Florida, that’s my top five right there,” Noil said. “Those are the five I will take official visits to before I announce my decision at the Under Armour all-America game in January.”
Noil, who is the No.1 wide out in the country according to 247Sports and No. 17 in the country in the Top247, has been the subject of debate in some circles over reports that LSU was not in his top-tier of schools. He dismissed that rumor and said he has all five schools on equal footing.
“I never knew (Texas Tech was) such a passing team that gets the ball around so much,” Noil said. They have a new head coach that is an offensive-minded coach and he came from A&M. He likes to win and will throw the ball around in a spread offense.”
247 Sports writers Luke Stampini and Sonny Shipp contributed to this report
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