For months, Texas Tech had hoped to add more experienced offensive linemen to its recruiting class and the Red Raiders were successful in doing so on the last official visit weekend before national signing day. Tech came on late in the recruiting cycle for Shaquille Davis, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound tackle from Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) College, and after a trip to Lubbock his mind was made up.
“I committed this morning,” Davis said Sunday. “I really liked the coaching staff and I really like what they’re doing with the program. What really stuck out to me is that they seem like they care a lot about the players. It seemed like the right place.”
Texas Tech’s new special teams coordinator, Darrin Chiaverini, has paid off in a major way on the recruiting trail. Chiaverini, hired less than three weeks ago from Riverside (Calif.) City College, has helped address the Red Raiders’ offensive line needs by bringing in Riverside offensive tackle Dominique Robertson last week and now Davis.
“Coach Chiaverini actually used to coach at the JC I’m going to,” Davis said. “He came late. It kind of seemed right to go ahead and go there and give it a chance. It was the last trip and I had all these other schools that were wanting me to go this weekend – Cal, Louisiana Tech, Purdue and Cincinnati.”
All four of those programs had extended scholarship offers in addition to Fresno State, San Diego State, Colorado State and Florida Atlantic. Davis, who will have two years to play two seasons, sat down with offensive line coach Lee Hays to learn what’s expected of him in 2014.
“I had a nice little meeting with him, and we went over the film from last year and he showed me some things,” Davis said. “He wants me to compete for a tackle spot and he wants me to come in and compete right away so I can start.”
The Red Raiders also had someone else in their corner to help land Davis.
“They’re actually my little brother’s favorite team,” Davis said. “I knew quite a bit about them, so when I found out they offered me he was excited.
“He played with them on (the video game) NCAA a lot and started watching the games a lot and researching the program. It’s one of his top schools. He’s a freshman in high school. He’s going to work to get recruited. He plays safety and corner.”
For Davis, the opportunity to play Division I football is a dream come true. Since his days at Claremont High School in Pomona, Calif., it’s been a long road for everything to finally come together.
“I went to a pretty good high school and I was being recruited by a couple of schools, but nowhere really big and it was partly due because of my grades,” Davis said. “I ended up having one offer, which was San Diego State. I was trying to get in there, but I was kind of undersized to play tackle and I was playing defensive end. Most schools wanted me at d-end but I really wanted to play tackle.
“I had two math classes to do in high school. I decided I wasn’t going to try to do both math classes at once and decided I wanted to go juco to develop and get my grades together. I had some troubles at first and finally got my grades together. Then sophomore year, which was this year, I was recruited heavily.”
Davis said he’s in good shape now, needing a math class to finish at Mt. SAC and come to Lubbock in May.
Also on Sunday, the Red Raiders picked up their first pledge for the 2015 recruiting class. Corey Dauphine, a 5-10, 175-pound running back from Port Arthur Memorial, said he committed to Tech. Dauphine said Tech running backs coach Mike Jinks offered him a scholarship over the phone Saturday night.
“He was talking to me and sounded like I can be good for them,” Dauphine said. “I feel like I could be good in their offense because we run the same offense in our high school.”
Tech was the second school behind Lamar to extend an offer to Dauphine. Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Houston, Old Dominion and Colorado State are also recruiting him, he said.
“We run the same offense and I wouldn’t really have to get used to it or anything because I’m already doing it,” Dauphine said. “Texas Tech, they’re one of my favorite schools since I was little.”
Dauphine rushed for 507 yards and 13 touchdowns on 95 carries in 2013. He split time with running back Kameron Martin, a college prospect for the 2016 class. He’s also a former teammate to Texas Tech freshman safety Jalen Barnes.
“(Tech coaches) said that I can get bigger and that I’m already fast,” Dauphine said.
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The following players have signed with Texas Tech at mid-term or made oral commitments to the Red Raiders for the class of 2014. An asterisk (*) denotes a member of the A-J Fabulous 44. A grid (#) indicates a member of the A-J state Top 100. The national signing period for spring-semester graduates begins Feb. 5. Oral commitments are non-binding.
Signed at mid-term: Devin Lauderdale, 5-10, 175, WR, Navarro College/Houston Bellaire HS; Keland McElrath, 6-4, 290, DT, Coahoma (Miss.) Community College/Ripley (Tenn.) HS; Marcus Smith, 6-3, 315, DT, Highland (Kan.) Community College/Wadesboro (N.C.) HS; Josh Keys, 6-2, 191, DB, Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College/Seminary (Miss.) HS.
Oral commitments: *Patrick Mahomes, 6-3, 180, QB, Whitehouse; Demarcus Felton, 5-7, 175, RB, Spring Dekaney; *Justin Stockton, 5-9, 165, RB, Cibolo Steele; Cameron Batson, 5-8, 165, WR, Oklahoma City Millwood; #Byron Daniels, 6-1, 168, WR, San Antonio Madison; #Jakari Dillard, 6-4, 190, WR, Princeton; #Ian Sadler, 5-11, 190, IR, Argyle; Shaquille Davis, 6-4, 320, OT, Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) College/Pomona (Calif.) Claremont HS; Justin Murphy, 6-6, 275, OT, Belton; Dominique Robertson, 6-5, 300, OT, Riverside (Calif.) City College/Redlands (Calif.) East Valley HS; Robert Castaneda, 6-4, 315, OG, Round Rock; Deionte Noel, 6-3, 280, OG, Cibolo Steele; Brandon Thorpe, 6-5, 270, DE, Highland (Kan.) Community College/Tucker (Ga.) HS; Rika Levi, 6-2, 350, DT, College of San Mateo (Calif.)/South San Francisco HS; LaDarrius Kidd, 6-4, 315, DT, Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison; #Dakota Allen, 6-0, 220, LB, Humble Summer Creek; Nigel Bethel, 5-9, 173, CB, Miami (Fla.) Washington; Jamarcus Howard, 5-11, 190, CB, Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College/Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Northridge HS; Tevin Madison, 5-11, 165, CB, Fayette County, Ala.; Joseph Clark, 5-9, 180, S, Tyler Chapel Hill; #Derrick Dixon, 5-8, 186, S, Dallas Skyline; #Jah’Shawn Johnson, 5-10, 172, S, Ennis; #Payton Hendrix, 6-3, 190, S, Dallas Bishop Dunne; Connor Wilson, 6-1, 200, S, Argyle.