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Tech notes: Much anticipated transfer Levi reports for camp at 348 pounds

The Red Raiders are counting on Levi being a run stuffer

Posted: August 3, 2014 - 10:47pm  |  Updated: August 4, 2014 - 12:08am
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Texas Tech’s most talked-about newcomer, junior-college noseguard Rika Levi, has shed about 30 pounds in the last several months.

The 6-foot-2 transfer from College of San Mateo (Calif.), who weighed 379 pounds last winter, reported to Tech this summer weighing 366, defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said, and is now down to 348 for the start of preseason practice.

“I think in his career, he’s been maybe as high as 390,” Wallerstedt said. “If we can get him into the low-340 range, you may have a guy that can play not just first and second down, but could help us all three downs.”

The Red Raiders are counting on Levi being a run stuffer and are optimistic that people will soon talk about more than his uncommon size.

“He’s a guy that the strength staff really, really likes,” Wallerstedt said. “He’s a voice in the weight room, he’s a voice in the locker room and he’s a voice on the field pushing guys.”

New assignments

Junior Tyler Middleton and redshirt freshman Caleb Woodward have made position switches since spring with Middleton going from cornerback to split end and Woodward changing from inside linebacker to “Y” inside receiver, the position All-American Jace Amaro played.

Middleton might be the fastest player on the team, and now the coaches will try to put that to use.

“Tyler’s a guy that can fly and we (defensive coaches) liked his potential,” defensive coordinator Matt Wallertstedt said. “But I think with our offense and just numbers and what he can do offensively, I think Kliff (Kingsbury) felt like for the betterment of the program he would fit better over on that side.”

Freshman signee Jah’Shawn Johnson from Ennis already has changed spots. Johnson was ticketed for safety, but was moved to cornerback, Wallerstedt said, after the three-game suspension to freshman corner Nigel Bethel II.

Receiver plan

Offensive coordinator Eric Morris has three true freshman receivers. He plans to put Argyle’s Ian Sadler at “Y” inside receiver, the position at which Bradley Marquez starts, and Oklahoma City Millwood’s Cameron Batson at “H” inside receiver, Jakeem Grant’s spot.

Jakari Dillard from Princeton will train first at flanker with Morris thinking he could be a split end at some point in the future.

The early buzz is about Batson, an all-purpose player and high school valedictorian.

“Cameron Batson’s the one everybody talks about, defensively and offensively,” Morris said. “He’s a kid that has really good natural hips, in and out of breaks. He has (body) lean, he understands it and takes the grown-man approach to things.

“He’s straight business. He’s not a guy that messes around. You can tell he wants to be good and he attacks stuff.”

In brief

Late signee Sam Atoe from the College of San Mateo (Calif.) was scheduled to report Sunday night for the start of practice Monday. The Red Raiders landed the 6-foot, 220-pound Atoe on Friday. Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said Atoe could help the team at Raider outside linebacker or at inside linebacker. ... Among the walk-ons on Tech’s 104-man roster is Cooper graduate Stanton Keane, listed at wide receiver. Keane was an all-South Plains running back as a Cooper junior and the area’s leading Class 3A passer as a senior. Keane, also a baseball standout, had five runs batted in in the Pirates’ state-semifinal loss to College Station in June.

don.williams@lubbockonline.com

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