College football’s national signing day falls on Feb. 1 this year, but for Texas Tech the first day of the spring semester might be more significant to this recruiting cycle.
The four most highly ranked members of Tech’s recruiting class officially became part of the program on Thursday, once classes started. In all, 13 newcomers joined the program at mid-term: six junior-college prospects who signed on Dec. 14 and seven high school prospects whose additions became official on Thursday.
Four of the seven are ranked among the state’s top 65 recruits by 247Sports.com: Frisco offensive line teammates Jack Anderson (6-foot-5, 300 pounds) and Dawson Deaton (6-4, 297) are rated No. 11 and No. 63 in the state with Cibolo Steele quarterback Xavier Martin (6-0, 175) at No. 36 and Richmond Travis offensive tackle Will Farrar (6-5, 320) at No. 59.
Also joining the Red Raiders are Arlington Oakridge wide receiver Bronson Boyd (6-2, 185), Pflugerville Hendrickson defensive end Nelson Mbanasor (6-3, 270) — both in 247Sports’ top 200 — and Canadian defensive end Tyler Carr (6-5, 250), the latter a preferred walk-on.
“We are excited to get our class of mid-year players on campus,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said in a prepared statement. “This group will benefit from a full spring with our strength and conditioning staff and participating in spring practices. We expect a competitive spring, and this group is expected to compete right away.”
Mid-term enrollees don’t sign a national letter of intent, which is administered for only one period a year that starts on the first Wednesday in February. The juco transfers who signed in December are quarterback McLane Carter, offensive tackle Jacob Hines, outside linebacker Tony Jones and defensive backs Jaylon Lane, Vaughnte Dorsey and Octavious Morgan.
Though it’s dangerous to expect immediate help from true freshmen on the offensive line, Anderson, Deaton and Farrar renew hope in a unit that’s been hurt by a spate of career-ending injuries and players kicked off for legal issues. Last year, Justin Murphy (knee), Cody Wheeler (concussions) and Conner Dyer (knee) — a sophomore and two redshirt freshmen — all retired, and Robert Castaneda and Trace Ellison were dismissed after a burglary.
On the bright side, Tech got a full season of 12 starts from Terence Steele as a redshirt freshman tackle, and true freshmen Travis Bruffy and Bailey Smith both showed promise as true freshmen.
Tech picked up two high-school skill-position players at mid-term, both of whom the Red Raiders ought to have the luxury of redshirting. Boyd caught 61 passes for 1,137 yards and eight touchdowns last season at Arlington Oakridge, but the Red Raiders aren’t hurting at receiver.
Martin led Cibolo Steele to a 14-2 record and the Class 6A Division II state final, passing for 2,248 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushing for 739 yards and 10 TDs. There’s a chance Martin could be a factor early for Tech with Patrick Mahomes II leaving early for the NFL draft. However, senior Nic Shimonek will get first crack at starting, and Carter a conference MVP last season at Junior College after throwing for 3,226 yards and 30 touchdowns.
TEXAS TECH RECRUITS
Enrolled at mid-term: Xavier Martin, 6-0, 175, QB, Cibolo Steele; McLane Carter, 6-3, 220, Tyler Junior College/Gilmer HS; Bronson Boyd, 6-2, 185, WR, Arlington Oakridge; Jack Anderson, 6-5, 300, C, Frisco; Dawson Deaton, 6-5, 297, C-G, Frisco; Will Farrar, 6-5, 320, OT, Richmond Travis; Jacob Hines, 6-4, 320, T-G, Long Beach (Calif.) CC/Long Beach Cabrillo HS; Nelson Mbanasor, 6-3, 270, DE, Pflugerville Hendrickson; Tony Jones, 6-2, 220, OLB, Butler (Kan.) Community College/Longwood (Fla.) Lyman HS; Jaylon Lane, 6-2, 185, CB, Independence, Kan., CC/Nacogdoches HS; Octavious Morgan, 6-0, 200, CB, Butler (Kan.) CC/Greenwood, S.C., HS; Vaughnte Dorsey, 5-10 1/2, 205, S, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC/Cleveland, Miss., HS.
Oral commitments: Desmond Nisby, 6-1, 238, RB, Diablo Valley (Calif.) College/Vallejo (Calif.) HS; Casey Verhulst, 6-6, 280, OT, Plano East; Dakota Allen, ILB, 6-2, 235, East Mississippi CC/Humble Summer Creek; Riko Jeffers, 6-1, 236, ILB, Sachse; Quincy Addison, 6-2, 175, DB, Angleton; Adam Beck, 6-1, 185, DB, Richmond George Ranch; John Davis, 6-0, 170, DB, Euless Trinity; Adrian Frye, 6-0, 170, DB, Aldine Eisenhower; Dominic Panazzolo, 6-5, 205, P, Snow (Utah) College/Adelaide, Australia, Aberfoyle Park.