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Red Raider Club
We hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer with your friends and family. All of our
lives have been anything but normal during the past several months but we are looking forward to the fall when we are all back together.
We are excited for our Red Raider football team to take the field at Jones AT&T Stadium in
September. As you know, COVID-19 continues to impact College Athletics throughout the country. In order to create a safe environment for all of our fans, Kirby has created a Football Preparation Task Force. We are working daily through all of the details including ticketing and seating, health guidelines including face masks and social distancing, premium seating operations, parking, tailgating and other critical areas that impact the football season. As you can imagine, there are many moving parts, but we are working diligently every single day to ensure a safe and enjoyable football season. We will be sending out detailed information as soon as we finalize plans in the coming weeks.
One change you will notice this fall is the move to mobile ticketing. You have likely seen in-
formation sent to you directly via email or on social media, but we believe this change will provide extra convenience for you as a fan as well as flexibility if you are wishing to transfer a ticket to a friend or family member. This change also allows us to stay fiscally responsible in these uncertain times. In the coming weeks you will be receiving detailed information including several educational opportunities around how to use mobile ticketing. Please call our office if you or your family need any help with this change.
Your gifts to Texas Tech Athletics and membership in the Red Raider Club remain critical for
supporting more than 400 student-athletes across 17 sports. Contributions to the annual fund through gifts to the Red Raider Club Excellence Fund, Annual Seat Contributions and Premium Seat Contributions impact Texas Tech student-athletes every single day through scholarship support, capital projects, facility maintenance, academic support and nutrition resources. Making up almost 30% of the overall Athletic Department’s revenue, contributions to the Red Raider Club annual fund are imperative for Texas Tech Athletics. We need you and we are grateful for your
Andrea Tirey Senior Associate Athletic Director — Development — 806.834.3270 email@example.com
continued support and investment.
THANK YOU for your unwavering support of Texas Tech Athletics. Your support is critical dur-
ing this time and we are thankful for each of you. Please call us at 806.742.1196 if you need anything and a member of our team would be more than happy to visit with you. See you this fall! Guns up!
b y S HA N N O N CA R R I C O
Gala Dumez didn’t have a typical freshman year of college. Like so many other student-athletes across the country, she didn’t get to finish her first year in Lubbock with a postseason run. Although it was a disappointing end to a promising season for the Red Raiders, she understands the necessity for the unprecedented cancellations. “I didn’t expect any of this to happen,” Dumez said. “I was doing my own thing in Lubbock and, at first, I didn’t realize how big the COVID-19 crisis was. The team and I had just
landed in Augusta, Georgia for our fourth tournament of the spring when we learned that the rest of the season, including all postseason play, was cancelled. I was very disappointed at first, but quickly understood that it was necessary.” Dumez, as sport management major at Tech, was raised in Bordeaux, France and competed internationally from a very young age before arriving in Lubbock. She played for the French National U18 and U16 Teams, won the French National Team U18 World Junior Girls Championship and was once ranked as high as No. 304 in the R&A and USGA World Amateur Golf Rankings. Her impact on the collegiate level was immediate, as she posted a scoring average of 74, good enough for third best on the team in her inaugural campaign. Her first-round mark of 67 at the Jim West Challenge was the second lowest single-round score by any player this year and she notched three top-10 finishes, including a tie for 5th at the SMU/DAC Challenge in February. Dumez contributes her early success to the facilities and resources made available by attending Tech, noting “being able to practice golf everyday is something I couldn’t do in France. Competing all over the United States on tough courses, against some of the greatest amateurs in the world is truly an amazing experience. The facilities we have access too, including The Rawls Course, are incredible. It helps that Lubbock’s unpredictable weather teaches me how to play in various conditions.” Tech was on track to appear in their 10th NCAA Regional under head coach JoJo Robertson before the season was halted. As was the case in many industries, decisions were made quickly, and Dumez knew she wanted to be back home.
“When France announced a national lockdown on March 17th, I decided to go back home,” Dumez explained. “Spending this difficult time close to my family was important to me. The quarantine lasted two months in France and was very strict. We could go outside only for necessities like food or health care, but it couldn’t exceed an hour per day. Wearing a mask was and still is mandatory in most public places.” “I was able to work a little on my golf game. Since the courses were closed, I set up a practice area in my garden. That allowed me to work on my technique. I also did a lot of visualization and meditation. It was not easy and definitely not the same as a regular practice, but I believe it benefitted my golf game.” The swift and unprecedented transition from a normal first year of school in the United States wasn’t what she anticipated, but Dumez is grateful for the opportunities she’s been given. “Online classes and remote schooling went really well to finish out the spring semester,” Dumez proclaimed. “The instructors were very helpful and made the transition to remote learning very easy for us. The resources given to us by Texas Tech and the Red Raider Club have been tremendous assets in our learning and ability to grow as individuals. I am very thankful for all the support we’re given on a daily basis.” Although her season was cut short, Dumez is ready to get back to work in Lubbock. “Most of what I experienced in my first year at Texas Tech was new to me,” she said. “Lubbock is a very special place and I feel great when I’m there. Being a student-athlete is great, but being a student-athlete at Tech is even better. I can’t wait to get back and continue this journey.”
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If you’re one of the 15,000 people who watched the live Virtual Wreck ‘Em Tour on April 30 or more than double that number since, you know:
Wes Welker taught Matt Wells Josh Abbott’s young daughter
how to do a proper Guns Up
Emery is really adorable in her
the day before he was intro-
Texas Tech cheerleader out-
duced as Texas Tech’s head
fit while holding the Guns Up
football coach in 2018. “Tilt it
sign and saying “Wreck ‘Em”
a little bit on an angle, don’t
in her toddler voice.
put it straight up, that’s loser,”
Men’s basketball coach Chris Beard wants to “bring back the cactus” – telling guys it’s a great way to save money versus buying flowers for the women in their lives.
Wells said he was told.
The hour-plus-long show was broadcast on texastech.com, You Tube, Twitter, Facebook and hosted by Robert Giovannetti, Senior Associate Athletics Director/External Operations & Strategic Communications (pictured during the event below). His guests besides Beard and Wells were: • • • •
Kirby Hocutt, Director of Athletics Tim Tadlock, Head Baseball Coach Student athletes Charlotte Teeter / soccer, Jaylon Hutchings / football and former Lady Raider Brittany Brewer, recently drafted by the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. Grant Gilbert, William Clark Green and Abbott, three country music artists and Red Raiders, who performed.
The show was born from a desire to do something for fans after coronavirus concerns made large gatherings impossible. “Red Raiders across the state look forward to the annual Wreck ‘Em Tour,” where Hocutt and coaches make stops around the state, said Andrea Tirey, Senior Associate Athletic Director/Development. “The most important thing to us during this time when we’ve all been forced to be apart is to communicate with our Red Raider fans and keep them informed on what’s going on and how their support allows us to continue to move forward and take care of every studentathlete. We want to be in front of our fans and Red Raider Club members and also let them know how much we appreciate them and the difference they make every single day for Texas Tech Athletics.”
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One Wreck ‘Em Tour was held in Amarillo – with Wells and a panel discussion with Hocutt, Chancellor Tedd Mitchell and President Lawrence Schovanec. They were planning events in Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Midland, and Odessa when everything went on hold. As more and more people in Athletics were using Zoom for daily meetings as they worked from home, the idea developed to do a virtual tour Wreck ‘Em Tour. It worked so well, other universities contacted Texas Tech to ask how they did it. Here’s the story of what it took to pull off the Virtual Wreck ’Em Tour, what some Red Raider Club members enjoyed and a few highlights from the show. Our University, Our Home Paul Brown’s favorite moment on the show was when Josh Abbott sang “Victory Bells” – the performer’s love letter to his alma mater. “And I loved him singing the ‘Matador Song,’” he added. The pediatric neurologist at Covenant Children’s and Lubbock native loves Texas Tech, where he received his undergrad and medical degrees. “It’s our university, it’s our home, I love the traditions. We fully support them and love to see sports events,” said Brown, who’s had tickets for football, men and women’s basketball and baseball. “I went to Tech basketball and football games since I was six years old,” he said, adding all his kids and grandkids are Red Raider fans. His favorite Texas Tech sports moments are: • Michael Crabtree’s catch to beat then-No. 1 Texas in 2008 at Jones AT&T Stadium. • Being in Minneapolis to watch the men’s basketball team come within three seconds of winning a national title. • The iconic image of Stephen Smith celebrating Devon Conley’s diving catch preserving Texas Tech’s 1-0 lead against the College of Charleston in the 2014 Super Regional. The Red Raiders went on to win, sending them to their first College World Series. He also remembers Tony Benford’s gamewinning shot at the old Municipal Coliseum in the 1980s ruining the SMU basketball team’s chances of a No. 1 ranking. And he’s a big collector. Brown has helmets, footballs and basketballs signed by Graham Harrell, Wes Welker, Zach Thomas, Bob Knight, Marsha Sharp and others. “So many great moments,” he said, adding he’s excited about the future with the coaches Texas Tech has.
We’ll Come Out Stronger “The Red Raider family is special and evenings like this when we have a chance to come together – even in these unusual times – is special,” said Hocutt on the show. “We’ll come out of this stronger than when this started.” As Athletics plans for the fall seasons, Hocutt said he’s looking forward to getting back in Red Raider stadiums. “Just the energy that the Red Raider Nation brings. The energy that will be in Jones AT&T Stadium that first time we kick that ball off. I can’t wait to be on the field pre game and to look into the eyes of our student athletes (and see) that hunger and zest to compete,” he said. As he says often, the goal is for all 17 programs to compete and win at the highest levels. “When those are your goals and you see the anticipation from your student athletes and that energy that’s built up. You only get a limited number of these opportunities. These four-to-five years go by fast,” he said, adding everyone will have a greater appreciation when teams get back to competing. Failure is Not an Option Giovannetti called David Hougland, Associate Athletics Director/Broadcast Services and told him the plan was to record everyone and then put it all together for broadcast. “Then I called him three days later and kinda apologetically told him we wanted to go live,” said Giovannetti. “The great thing about the broadcast services team is they see it as a challenge.” Hougland said: “Our philosophy is no is not an option.” Hougland grew up in Houston and many summers took the NASA tour as a youngster. “At NASA, failure was not an option,” he learned.
Everything would be controlled from the broadcast command center deep inside United Supermarkets Arena on the court level. Giovannetti and Tirey were in the studio on USA’s main floor level. Guests were in their homes. “We wanted to keep it as simple as possible,” said Hougland and the team decided using Zoom was the best platform. Program Producer Blake Silverthorn said if they could have three feeds one could be for Giovannetti, one for the guest who’s live and the third for the next guest so transitions were smooth. “That was more complex in my world of simplicity, but OK if it made it better,” said Hougland. Hougland, Silverthorn and one of their engineers did a test from their homes. “The week of the event we did another test with Robert and Andrea in their homes so they could see what it would look like,” he said. The biggest concern was if a guest had a weak internet connection at their home. Hougland came up with scenarios if something failed. “You always have a workaround,” he said. They also realized only two Zoom microphones could be live – Gionvannetti’s and the guest. They needed a way to communicate with all the other guests which Silverthorn did with a group text. Before the show, Hocutt asked Giovannetti: “Is this going to work?” It did and the team is using it for Red Raider Rewind where they bring on former players to discuss games. “It was a fun deal,” said Hougland. “We had a lot of eyeballs watching and this was a big event for the Red Raider Club. We had confidence we had the right people in the right place to do the job.”
A Great Reminder Nancy Neal enjoyed seeing Hocutt and the coaches in their own space on the show. “It was a great way to remind everybody what’s going on,” said the former member of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “I can’t bear a future without college sports – especially Texas Tech college sports,” she said. Nancy and Tom Neal have had football, basketball and baseball seats for years. They came to Lubbock in 1979 to start his medical practice. Part of the attraction was a city with a school in a major college sports conference. She’s been a sports fan growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area and later living in Oregon. The Final Four in Minneapolis is now her favorite Texas Tech sports moment. She was in Atlanta when the Lady Raiders won the 1993 national title, and felt the “remarkable experience” last year rivaled 1993. “We’ll be back. Coach Beard will have us back and a better outcome,” she said. The Neals were in Kansas City in March when the Big 12 Tournament was canceled. “That’s when life stopped and we haven’t seen any sports since then,” she said. As Texas Tech, Lubbock, the state and nation move toward getting back to some semblance of normal, Neal is confident with the leadership in Athletics. “I know the right people are making decisions. When you have Kirby Hocutt in charge of the Athletics programs he’ll make the right decisions,” she said. “What Texas Tech means to Lubbock is immeasurable,” said Neal, who is also a nurse. “We invest in what we believe in. We’re big symphony and arts supporters and a lot of the lead people there are Texas Tech people. Tech is so integrated into Lubbock and support is an obvious choice.”
Tom & Nancy Neal
We’ll All Be Ready The show was also a few days after the National Football League Draft and Wells talked about how excited he was – and his family – to see linebacker Jordyn Brooks picked in the first round by the Seattle Seahawks. “Just so happy for him,” he told Giovannetti, adding how Brooks really developed in his one year with the new coaching staff. Wells also recalled recruiting Welker when he was on Navy’s staff two decades ago, but Welker ended up at Texas Tech before going on to a successful NFL career as a wide receiver. “There ain’t no prize for coming in second place and we came in second to Texas Tech. What a great player, the Oklahoma high school player of the year. We certainly thought we were going to get a steal and Tech offered him the very last recruiting weekend. We had him set to come on a trip to the Naval Academy ... he called me and canceled the trip,” said Wells. “We thought he’d be our starting kicker,” said Wells of Navy’s plans. As his segment was wrapping up, Wells told the fans, “We’re ready to get back to our sports. We’ll all be ready for that game.”
Texas Tech Sports are a Part of My Life Patrick Thornton grew up loving and watching Texas Tech sports. “I remember losing to Houston with the Southwest Conference football title on the line and I probably cried for a week,” he said. “Texas Tech sports is a part of my life. It was nice to get an update and hear about things I treasure in a state of unusual circumstances,” he said about the show. Thornton grew up in Levelland and both of his parents went to Texas Tech. But he spent part of his childhood in Houston and Fort Worth. So the family went to see the Red Raiders when they visited Rice and TCU. Some of those memories include: • Joe Barnes giving him the tie to his shoulder pads at the TCU game in 1973. • Watching Rodney Allison at quarterback in the 1970s. • Getting a letter from punter Bill “Blade” Adams in response to a fan letter young Patrick had written. “It made my day, my week, my year,” he said.
Beard’s Beard, a Cactus and Other Things Coach Beard showed off his beard that, he said, started with “laziness” but he stuck with it when middle daughter Ella endorsed it. He talked about spending a lot of time on Face Time to communicate with recruits. “I didn’t know what Zoom was, what Hulu was, what Apple TV was – now I can unmute my Zoom. I can Face Time you on the iPhone,” he told the audience. Beard explained how recruits have been making decisions quicker in the virtual recruiting world. “Which was something we didn’t expect going in but we adjusted,” he said, praising his staff. Then he got back to giving cactus as lasting gifts versus flowers. “You don’t throw out a cactus. Coach (Mark) Adams dreams about not letting the ball get into the middle — I’ve been really focused on this cactus deal,” he said, throwing out the idea of cactus night at his team’s first game this fall.
After graduating from Texas Tech – “there was never a moment” he thought of going anywhere else to college – Thornton became an architectural glass consultant and lived in South Carolina, where he was president of the South Carolina chapter of the Texas Tech Alumni Association. The Red Raider Club member still follows Texas Tech sports closely. He took his son to Texas Tech NCAA games in the East Region and eventually moved back to Texas in the Austin area. He was thrilled to see the men’s basketball team beat the Longhorns in Austin in 2019 for the first time since 1996. His parents still live in Lubbock and he takes his dad to the occasional football or basketball game.
The Funny Side Lydia Rickard (pictured, left, with family) enjoyed the banter between Giovannetti and the coaches on the broadcast showing their “softer side.” “We got to see the funny side of them, which offered a little insight into them unlike other tours,” said Rickard, who owns a marketing firm in Fort Worth after getting her journalism degree from Texas Tech. She complimented the show’s transitions in between interviews and musical guests. Rickard was born in Levelland and her dad was a Red Raider. She has football season seats, her 11-year-old son has attended Chris Beard basketball camps and even though they live five hours away, her family also gets to some basketball and baseball games. On those visits back to campus, Rickard said it’s still familiar even with all the changes. “When the Masked Rider leads the football team on the field,” she said there’s no place like it. “I’ve seen lots of different campuses and there’s nothing quite like home.” “My best years were spent in Lubbock,” she said, adding she still has a close-knit family of friends from her days working on the school newspaper, then called the University Daily. “We still do things together,” she said.
Appreciate the Small Things Tadlock chatted with Giovannetti with a Willie Nelson painting in the background done by country singer Kacey Musgrave’s mom. He talked about the canceled season just as baseball was moving into Big 12 play. “It was really fun watching it come together,” said Tadlock, discussing the depth and strength of the bullpen. Since the season was canceled, Tadlock has been impressed how close his players are – “there’s a really neat bond,” said the coach who’s taken Texas Tech to the College World Series four out of the previous six years. During a normal spring, the Tadlock family may all have dinner together one night a week – not just because of his schedule, but his kids having their own activities. The shutdown has given them some more family time. “(We’re) appreciative of the small things,” he said.
Dying for Some Sports Casey Cowley, a 2006 Texas Tech grad who owns KC’s Liquor & Beer in Lubbock said the virtual tour was great. “I’ve been dying for some sports. It was great to check in and see how everything was going,” said Cowley, who owns football and basketball seats. Cowley “fell in love” with Texas Tech sports while in high school in Big Spring. “Going to Minneapolis for the Final Four was the most incredible thing I’ve experienced as a Red Raider. It was unreal,” he said. He also appreciates how sports represents his alma mater and what the Red Raider Club does for student athletes.
Casey & Kaci Cowley
From the Musicians Green sang two songs, including “She Likes the Beatles, I Like the Stones” and joked about how he misses college even though he looked “for any excuse to get out of class early.” Abbott wore a Guns Up hat with a neon “Tejas Tech” and Willie Nelson painting in the background. Abbott added he would not have a fraction of his success if not for how Texas Tech and Lubbock supported his band. “I love traveling the country and see Wreck ‘Em in the audience,” he said, holding his Guns Up.
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Linda & Terry Fuller It Started in Lubbock Mark grew up not far from the Texas Tech campus, had a Lubbock Avalanche-Journal paper route, went to McKenzie Middle School and Coronado High School. He was a year ahead of astronaut Willie McCool, who perished in the Columbia space shuttle tragedy in 2003. “He’s the reason I watched the Space X launch – watched and prayed,” he said out of respect for McCool. Mark went on to Texas Tech. One night they had “B” Movie Night at the student center – showing three terrible films like “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” and other similar offerings. “There was no cost to go in but if you left after the first movie it was $6, only $3 if you left after the second and free if you watched all Famed attorney Mark Lanier loves Texas Tech – where he studied as an undergrad and graduated from the university’s School of Law. How much? He has a lot of stories – or his testimony – not surprising for a trial lawyer who also preaches. This ‘Raider Bear’ Bleeds Red and Black Two of Mark and Becky Lanier’s daughters attended Baylor. Dad encouraged them to consider Texas Tech – especially the one who became an attorney – but they decided to go to Waco. Besides paying tuition, Mark bought football tickets. “The Baylor people saw us as potential donors,” he said, during a recent phone conversation. “I told them we give our money to Texas Tech and Lipscomb. So they set up an account called Raider Bear – with Raider first. They asked if we’d root for Baylor in every game except when they play Tech.” Then he added: “We bleed Red and Black.” And Houston Rockets players know that. Mark has a basketball court at his house and some Rockets players have used it for workouts. It’s painted Red and Black. They ask why. Mark explains what the colors mean to him.
three,” said Mark. “I see that type of cleverness at Texas Tech more than anywhere else. Lubbock just breeds cleverness and that typifies the spirit of Tech and Lubbock. I just love Texas Tech,” he said. Mark studied Hebrew and Greek in anticipation of preaching in a pulpit. But the university didn’t offer a degree in biblical languages and he transferred to David Lipscomb University in Nashville. “I was torn between being a lawyer, a preacher or in academics teaching Hebrew and Greek – I love the languages,” said Mark. He eventually realized he could go to law school and also preach and teach. Mark was accepted at Vanderbilt and Georgetown’s law schools, but he chose Texas Tech because tuition was very reasonable and he could live at home. “I knew the law school was really good at producing solid Texas lawyers and I wanted to practice in Texas,” he said. “I could not have made a better choice. It was divine providence – it was exactly what I needed and how I needed it,” he said. Mark went on to start the Lanier Law Firm in Houston. He now has offices in Oklahoma City, New York and Los Angeles. Mark’s built a reputation as one of the best trial
lawyers in the country and his firm has won substantial verdicts in cases involving product liability, serious personal injuries, asbestos exposure and other civil litigation. In 2008, the Mark & Becky Lanier Professional Development Center addition to the School of Law opened – just south of United Supermarkets Arena. The addition includes the 130-seat Donald Hunt courtroom and a 300-seat auditorium-classroom. Lanier credits the late Donald Hunt with helping him learn how to be a trial attorney. Lubbock, Tech and Taco Villa Even though he lives in Houston, Mark has taught an adjunct class at the law school, has been a guest lecturer in other classes and serves on its foundation. Becky has three degrees from Texas Tech – and she started early. “She went to Tech Kindergarten,” said her husband. “She was finger painting a Double T before she could write her name.” Later, Becky got her undergrad degree in International Trade and a master’s in Spanish. Both of Mark’s sisters have degrees from Tech and his mom studied there. “We still own the family house on 16th Street,” he said. “And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve flown from L.A. to Houston and put the plane down in Lubbock to get dinner at Taco Villa,” he said. Favorite Sports Moments Mark gets to Lubbock for sporting events four to six times a year, but during the men’s basketball team’s run to the NCAA championship game last year he was all over the country following his Red Raiders, sitting with former Texas Tech athletic director and hoops coach Gerald Myers at the finals. But the best was Minneapolis. “It was a gas,” he said. If the Red Raiders won, that might have been Mark’s favorite Tech sports moment. “We walked out with a little bit of heartache,” he said. But not 11 years earlier – when Graham Harrell connected with Michael Crabtree on the pass to beat then-No. 1 Texas in Lubbock in 2008.
“It was a huge, huge game. It was against UT,” said Mark, adding many Longhorns he knows can be a bit haughty and arrogant about their university. “It gave us a level of bragging rights. This was real and legit,” he said. Mark said for years many Texas Tech athletes were passed over by that school in Austin. “Tech has to grab athletes who weren’t on the radar as ‘A’ athletes and train them – show them that hard work can trump talent. I tell that to lawyers. All of that culminates in a moment like that,” he said. Mark also follows his Red Raiders and former Red Raiders on television – especially this year’s Super Bowl. “We had a Super Bowl party and my wife and I were wearing the college jersey of Patrick Mahomes. And I taught Sunday school in the jersey that Sunday morning,” he said. Mahomes bringing the Kansas City Chiefs back to win the Super Bowl along with the Final Four run last year and Harrell-to-Crabtree are his three favorite Tech sports moments. “And to see Patrick Mahomes rooting for Tech at the Final Four, what a great young man,” he said. All in on Chris Beard Mark has been eager to support the men’s basketball team and Coach Chris Beard. He’s all in on the coach, telling the story of being invited into the locker room after the Red Raiders celebrated a win during the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2019 on its way to the Final Four. Beard came in and told his team he wasn’t happy – even if they were. He pointed out what they could have done better. “Then he said ‘you’re only as good as your expectations. We’re here to win the whole thing. When you believe you can win the whole thing then you won’t be satisfied unless you win the whole thing. Let’s change our expectations,’” Mark remembered Beard saying. And they got within three seconds of winning the whole thing. Soon after, Beard and Myers accompanied Mark to a Houston Rockets game – where he has floor seats.
“All the players recognized Coach Beard and wanted to congratulate him and have a picture with him. He was recognized for the incredible talent he is,” said Mark. “And that elevated Tech in everybody’s mind,” he added. The Laniers donate to the Athletics Director Fund for Excellence and other areas when needed and have had football season tickets “forever,” said Mark. “We always answer the call,” he said. A Busy Life In addition to his law firm, family and supporting Texas Tech in many ways – Mark teaches his Sunday school class and has written one law book and three Christian books with four more Christian books in process. “I probably don’t sleep as much as I should. I have rules to hone efficiency. You can play to run the clock out or play hurry-up offense. I play hurryup offense,” he said. His first Christian book was “Christianity on Trial,” where he took proving faith like he would prove a case in a courtroom. The next was “Psalms for Living” a book originally written for his adult children. Mark credits growing up in a Christian home with a good childhood church for his grounding in faith.
He also founded the Christian Trial Lawyers Association. Closing Argument When asked why he so eagerly supports his alma mater, here’s his closing argument. “Texas Tech has one foot in the past and one foot in the future. Texas Tech has trained and taught and enabled people like me to find success in the world. The foot in the future is those students who are there now, getting prepared for their careers and to make their mark in the world. And there are more to follow,” he said. “When I used to say Texas Tech, people would say, “isn’t that where Mike Leach was? Now they say ‘Do you know Chris Beard?’ Success translates to success for grads. When we invest in Texas Tech, the better Tech is and the more valuable my diploma is,” he added. “If we believe in tomorrow and want the world to be better place everybody has an obligation to invest in places to make tomorrow better,” he said. Then he mentioned the recent civil unrest across the country. “We need the world to be a better place. That comes about by investing into tomorrow and places that will bear fruit. If you need an apple, plant trees. If you want people who will make world better place, put your money where it will bear fruit,” he said.
b y T E R RY G R E E N B E R G
LETTERWINNER Dr. Bryan Williamson
Every time Dr. Bryan Williamson goes into surgery, he benefits from playing football at Texas Tech about 40 years ago. “Being competitive makes you a good surgeon because I don’t like to lose. You’re paying me to win every day,” he said. He also learned discipline and work ethic, which helps him as a surgeon and learning to be part of a team, which helps working administratively in his Houston medical practice. The Red Raider teams he was on under Rex Dockery and Jerry Moore never had a winning season, but he’s grateful for the experience, memories, friendships and his education. After high school in Arlington, he was offered a scholarship to play at Texas Tech as a wide receiver and kick returner. His parents had gone to Texas Tech and his grandparents lived in Lubbock. Williamson’s favorite season was 1982. The Red Raiders went 4-7 under Moore, but they were competitive. “We lost to No. 1 Washington in Seattle by a touchdown and lost to No. 2 SMU after we tied to game with 11 seconds left. SMU fumbled the kickoff and it was pitched out to Bobby Leach who went 91 yards for a touchdown to win the game,” said Williamson. That SMU team was the controversial “Pony Express” team that led to the Mustangs getting the NCAA’s “Death Penalty” for severe violations. The Red Raiders also lost to Baylor by one point when a two-point conversion failed. Even though Coach Moore’s time in Lubbock was not successful, he went on to win 242 games. Williamson attended Moore’s induction ceremony to the College Football Hall of Fame. When asked about his favorite game as a player, two popped into Williamson’s mind. The Red Raiders traveled to Austin to face the heavily favored Longhorns on a rainy Halloween in 1981. Williamson caught a 50-yard touchdown pass over defender Jerry Gray – who grew up in Lub-
bock and went on to play and coach NFL. Texas Tech lost 26-9, but the touchdown gave the team a moral victory by beating the point spread. Coaches love to say there are no moral victories, but in a year when the Red Raiders went 1-9-1, it helped. Williamson said the toughest hits he usually took were on kick returns, because his opponents were running the length of the field before contact. But the two toughest hits he ever took were from his best friend during spring ball and from teammate Leonard Harris during that rainy game in Austin. “I was blocking for him and he hit me in the back and cracked two ribs,” said Williamson. And that was before he caught the 50-yard touchdown pass. The other game was a 24-15 win on October 2, 1982 against Texas A&M in College Station when temperatures reached 130 degrees on the Kyle Field Astroturf. “We warmed up without pads and in shorts,” he said. There were more memories featuring some famous opponents. In 1979, Williamson’s freshman year, No. 1 USC came to Lubbock. “We knocked out (running back) Charles White – who went on to win the Heisman Trophy. We knocked out Anthony Munoz,” he said about the offensive lineman considered one of the greatest to ever play the position and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Then we got killed by their second-string running back – Marcus Allen,” said Williamson. USC won 21-7. Allen is also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Williamson missed his 1980 season with a torn hamstring right before two-a-days. But he vividly remembers the game in Lubbock against then-No. 15 North Carolina. “We were on the 4-yard-line and about to score. Quarterback Ron Reeves made a pitchout
and it was knocked down by the defensive end and recovered,” he said as the Tarheels held on for a 9-3 win. The defensive player for North Carolina was Lawrence Taylor – another member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Williamson’s football experience helps him relate to athletes with sporting injuries. Even though he focuses on spine surgery, he did a sports medicine fellowship in 1993 at the Cleveland Clinic, which worked with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns head coach was Bill Belichick that year, the defensive coordinator was Nick Saban and the defensive line coach was Jim Bates, who was on the Texas Tech staff that had recruited him. Years later, Williamson still has friendships with more than a half-dozen of his former teammates with a connection forged on the field that created a decades-long bond. He’ll always be indebted to his alma mater. “Texas Tech gave me a great opportunity to play football and get an education,” said Williamson. But the best thing about Texas Tech was meeting his wife Susan. They’ve raised four children. Williamson had a year of eligibility left but skipped the spring game to take the Medical College Admission Test. He was accepted into medical school and faced a choice – another year of football with a team that was going to be ranked or move toward his career. He moved on, but Texas Tech still paid for his spring and summer semesters. “They didn’t have to do that,” said Williamson. He’s been a member of the Red Raider Club, had football tickets for a number of years and has been proud to be a donor. He still follows his Red Raiders and likes Matt Wells. “He seems organized, sharp and brought his whole staff with him. He’s a positive influence. I like where he’s heading the program,” said Williamson.
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S EP TE b y T E R RY G R E E N B E R G
September 12 is an important date for the Red Raider Na-
tion – the first home game of the 2020 football season hosting Alabama State after opening the season the week before at UTEP.
It’s also the first Texas Tech home sporting event since March
after winter sports and spring sports were canceled because of the coronavirus. “We’re looking forward to it more than any other season,” said John Biltz, a Texas Tech grad and football suite holder. The last event he saw was when Texas visited the men’s basketball team at United Supermarkets Arena in late February. “So by the time football starts it will have been six or seven months. You don’t realize how good you have it until it’s taken away,” said Biltz. Matt Wells is also ready for his second season leading the Red Raider football team. The coach understands how the desire is pent up to see Texas Tech sports. “Our passionate fan base is excited to come watch their team” at Jones AT&T Stadium, he said. And all of the Athletics Department is ready for football. “Football represents 85 percent of our budget,” said Andrea Tirey, Senior Associate Athletic Director/Development. “After having our winter and spring sports cut off, a full football season has many benefits – obviously financially, but also giving our fans a sense things are returning to normal.” Football helps fund the budgets for many of the 17 men’s and women’s sports at the university. “We appreciate everyone who supports Texas Tech football whether they have a suite, club seats or regular season seats. It’s the 20 RedRaiderSports.com
place to be in Lubbock from September to November and the options will grow over the next few years as we make more improvements to Jones AT&T Stadium,” she said. Also on Sept. 12, Biltz will be happy to see Scott Watkins – his former Texas Tech roommate about 30 years ago – who shares an East Side suite with him and another friend. The pair met in elementary school in Corsicana before ending up in Lubbock. They still live in their hometown, where Watkins owns an oil and gas construction company and Biltz is a dermatologist. With their busy lives, they like to joke they see each more in Lubbock for Texas Tech sports than they do living about an hour south of Dallas. Bring ‘Em Together Wells is ready to see his team take another step forward as he builds his program. “Accountability, toughness, discipline – getting better at so many things that go into winning football games. The players have bought into that,” he said. “We have a competitive Big 12 Conference. We want to be in the fight and the middle of the race,” he added. When the team was forced to be apart in March, Wells and his staff focused on player relationships, recruiting and game planning. “We created Tech Talk, a one-hour Zoom
meeting at 1 p.m.,” he said. Players had to have their phone ready and charged for using Face Time on their end. “We wanted them to flip their phones around so we could see where they were and their environment,” Wells said. There have been offensive and defensive team meetings, meetings with position coaches, strength staff, rehab staff, academics and more. “The primary focus was on their well being mentally, emotionally – their health – and then football,” said Wells. “Relationships deepened.” Some well-known former Red Raiders joined the Zoom calls: • Anthony Lynn, head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, who played seven seasons in the NFL and served as an assistant coach in the league for 16 years before taking over the Chargers. • Wes Welker, wide receivers coach of the San Francisco 49ers, who played 12 seasons in the NFL. • Zach Thomas, who played 13 seasons in the NFL. • Le’Raven Clark, offensive tackle for the Indianapolis Colts.
M B E R 12 “It’s a way to connect the past to the present,” said Wells. “We tell the guys ‘you play for the guys who came before you, you play for the guys who are here now and will be your best friends for life and you play for the ones who come after you – recruits and all the little kids growing up.” Speaking of recruiting . . . “We’re benefiting from a year ago when we got the class of 2020 committed pretty early. So we started on the 2021 class in December and January. We had a ton of in-state guys who were our ‘first-round’ draft picks on campus. They were at the Kansas and Kentucky basketball games. What a tremendous atmosphere in the USA and they had great experiences. A lot of those guys have already committed,” he said. Recruiting is also helped by players moving to the next level. Jordyn Brooks and Broderick Washington were picked in the first and fifth rounds, respectively, in the recent NFL Draft. After a year-and-a-half in Lubbock, Wells is impressed with those who give to support Texas Tech’s student athletes. “The support we get from our donors and boosters is reflective of the passion and emotional ties to Texas Tech and Texas Tech football. It’s what makes Texas Tech special and part of the reason I chose to come here. It’s really cool to see it up close and personal,” he said. The Biltz family – past and present – have attended Texas Tech, except for his wife, who went to Texas A&M. “My wife wished she would have gone to Tech, but after going to the Final Four last year she’s completely a Red Raider,” said Biltz. Watkins started at the University of Texas where he played soccer, but he followed his then-girlfriend and now-wife Jeri to Texas Tech, where she was a cheerleader. Watkins’ daughter graduated from Texas Tech and their son is a sophomore. Like her mom, their daughter was a cheerleader and member of the first national championship cheer team, said her dad. The pair have had seats for a long time,
John Biltz and his Red Raider Family
getting the suite a few years ago. Biltz was on campus years ago and saw an application form for the new Club seats and sent it in. “They asked me where I got the form – they had not been sent out yet,” he said. “I loved the Club so much, but the suite is a whole other experience.” Besides games, Watkins held his daughter’s graduation dinner in the suite and complimented Club Corp on how they handled the event. The men are generous to their alma mater beyond tickets. Watkins leads an effort to give scholarships for high school students from the Corsicana area who are going to Texas Tech. They’ve helped about 30 students since 2005. He also donated to the Dustin R. Womble Basketball Center under construction just west of the USA. “Part of that was selfish,” he said. Both basketball teams, volleyball and cheer squads
are cramped for practice space. “I knew Tech needed additional gym space,” said the husband and dad of Texas Tech cheerleaders. Biltz has served on the Texas Tech Foundation board and donated for various projects on campus. And both are excited about Wells. “I had an opportunity as a member of the Century Club to meet him. I’m impressed. He’s a program builder. I have a lot of confidence in him,” said Watkins. “He’s a great choice, his coordinators are outstanding – I’m very optimistic,” said Biltz. “We could have had seven or eight wins last year if a few plays had gone a different way.” Whenever Biltz is back in Lubbock for football, he likes to get coffee and walk around campus on Saturday mornings. “There’s this Tech spirit. To have an entire part of the state revolve around and support Texas Tech it’s really hard to understand until you’ve lived it,” he said. 21 RedRaiderSports.com
Still Connected b y B RA N D O N S O L I Z
The Texas Tech football program has seen several of its starting quarterbacks make it to the NFL over the last several years. That list begins, of course, with former first-round NFL Draft picks Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield, who transferred to Oklahoma after his freshman season with the Red Raiders. Davis Webb also holds a spot on that list. He was a part-time starter as a true freshman in 2013 and secured the position fulltime heading into the 2014 season. Webb sustained an ankle injury midway through the 2014 season, which opened the door for Mahomes to take over as the team’s top quarterback. Webb eventually transferred to Cal and, from there, went on to the National Football League, but he still kept in touch with his West Texas roots. When Texas Tech hired
Matt Wells in December 2018, Webb was already very familiar with Wells and his coaching staff. “I think just having a relationship with coach (David) Yost when he was recruiting me back in his prime when he still had the flow at (Missouri),” Webb said while laughing. “Just kind of kept a relationship with him. I got a chance to play against him a couple of times in college when he was at Oregon and Washington State, you know. I think he’s a heck of a coach and I respect him.” Webb’s connections with the Red Raiders new coaching staff didn’t end there. His first scholarship offer as a high school athlete came from Wells and Utah State. “I’ve known coach (Matt) Wells for a couple of years. He was the first person to actually ever offer me out of high school,” Webb said. “I’ve known him and (his brother) Luke for a while so just maintained that relationship ... They asked if I wanted to jump on Zoom calls and I was like, ‘Of course. Text me every day. I’ll be there most of the time.’ So it was fun to sit on the meetings and kind of be a fly on the wall and listen to Alan (Bowman) and Maverick (McIvor). They have a great room.” Webb himself has been a member of talented quarterback rooms, beyond even his time as a Red Raider with Mahomes and Mayfield. Webb was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and was led in the QB room by two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning. Following his time with the Giants, Webb spent time with the cross-town New York Jets and is now with the Buffalo Bills. Much like Webb, Bowman has battled injuries in his Texas Tech career. However, Webb said Bowman has a legit chance to be a great Red Raider quarterback if he stays 100 percent from here on out.
“They’re good players. I think Alan, when he’s healthy, is going to be an unbelievable player at Tech,” Webb said. “Maverick competes. I think he’s got a bright future as well.” Webb was in Buffalo this spring, but made his way back home to Dallas before the coronavirus swept across the United States. There, with a lot of time on his hands, Webb spent time joining the Red Raiders virtually. “I had Davis talk to the offense and he came to, I think, seven or eight of our 10 QB meetings,” Yost said. “He gave us updates, I asked him questions and now we can slow things down in position meetings. We gotta find a way to get better at these things ... We've done a lot of communications with our kids.”
QB WATCH b y R A N DY R O S ETT A
Most high school athletes tend to follow a triedand-true path to the next level: Star in high school, emerge on the recruiting radar, pick a college program and start working toward the chance to blossom all over again. Not everybody sticks to that plan, of course. And the emergence of high-profile prep schools built around preparing athletes for college have changed the dynamic. Sometimes the out-of-the-box path to college can cause some pitfalls early on at the next level. But that sure doesn’t seem to be likely for Donovan Smith, a dual-threat quarterback in Texas Tech’s 2020 recruiting class. Not after the way he has navigated a winding, less-than-ordinary route to the college level. As a junior, Smith starred at Nevada powerhouse Bishop Gorman – but at receiver after Penn State signee Micah Bowens claimed the starting quarterback job. As a go-to target for Bowens, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Smith snared 49 passes for 806 yards and 8 touchdowns. When his father, DeAndre Smith followed Matt Wells to Lubbock from Utah State, Donovan Smith made the move to West Texas and enrolled at Frenship, a proud program that had hit hard times. To say that Smith found a perfect fit with the Tigers might be an understatement. In the third year under coach Jay Northcutt, Frenship turned a huge corner by notching a 7-4 record and advancing to the Class 6A playoffs for the first time in his tenure, and the dynamic Smith was a major reason why. The move back to QB yielded a huge season for Smith: He passed for 3,094 yards and 25 touchdowns to go with 491 rushing yards and 13 scores. In a district that includes perennial powers Odessa Permian and Midland Lee, as well as Tascosa and Eric Plunk – a Red Raiders’ preferred walk-on – Smith nabbed the District 2-6A Offensive Player of the Year honor and was a unanimous first-team all-
district selection. After Frenship sent seven different players out to take snaps at quarterback in 2017 and 2018, Smith was on the field for every meaningful play last season and he was at the heart of the Tigers’ turnaround. “We knew when Donovan got here that he was going to make a big difference with his physical skills, but he was much more than that for us,” said Northcutt, who tutored current Mississippi State sophomore QB Jaylen Mayden when he was the offensive coordinator at Sachse. He also mentored Kent Myers, who starred at Utah State under Wells. “He was such a great leader for our younger (quarterbacks) by showing them the way to study film and prepare. You never would’ve known it was his only season with us because he made such a big impact in so many ways.” Now Smith is in the middle of another transition that he has been working toward for several seasons. Rated as a three-star prospect, Smith heads to the Red Raider program as the only quarterback in the 2020 class and projects as the third-string signal-caller when practice begins behind veteran Alan Bowman and redshirt freshman Maverick McIvor. RedRaiderSports.com recruiting analyst Ben Golan said that any question marks have been erased for Tech fans who hadn’t seen Smith operate at quarterback until last fall. Because of his spectacular Texas debut at Frenship, Smith arrives with lofty expectations. “Donovan has the size and arm to be a successful quarterback at the next level,” Golan said. “He has plus athleticism and showed good touch on his throws downfield. “While many don’t expect Smith to win (the starting job) out of camp, he can play his way into that role and he’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on this year and the foreseeable future.”
FINDING A WAY b y R A N DY R O S ETT A
With the mid-point of March on the horizon, there was a buzz surrounding the Texas Tech athletic department. The Big 12 Conference basketball tournament was about to rev up, a loaded Red Raider baseball team was off to another red-hot start, the Red Raider softball team was bursting with promise and the university’s track & field program was at the starting line of what looked to be another strong season. Just as the potential zenith of a historic Tech spring came into tantalizing view, though, the coronavirus pandemic tightened its grip around the globe. Everything stopped. “It was right about when the Big 12 Tournament was about to get going that everything started to unravel,” said Robert Giovannetti, Tech’s Senior Associate Athletics Director/External Operations & Strategic Communications. “When we found out sports were likely to be canceled, we started fleshing out ideas on how tell stories and which stories wanted to tell.” The athletic department’s plan was based on a two-pronged approach: First, Texas Tech wanted fans to know that the athletic department missed fans and sports as much as they did. Second, the university wished to emphasize what athletic department staff and student-athletes were doing during the shutdown period. To achieve those goals, the athletic department came up with a blend of multimedia offerings. On the university’s athletic website, three podcasts were a key: Typical Tech, hosted by Giovannetti; Scarlet & Black with Hax, hosted by Red Raider men’s basketball and baseball play-by-play man Geoff Haxton; and The Kirby Hocutt Show, a weekly session featuring Tech’s Athletic Director and hosted by Giovannetti. Another huge element has been rebroadcasts of classic Tech games, both streamed on the school’s website and over the radio on Double T 97.3 FM, the flagship station for Red Raider athletic broadcasts. Jamie Lent, Program Director for KTTU-FM/KJTV-AM, called the collaboration a no-brainer. “To me, it was just a chance to give our listeners an opportunity to hear old games that they had great memories of,” Lent said. “I thought that would be the next best thing to actual live sports. “There were plenty of obvious choices for the games. Luckily, our teams have played in plenty of big games over the last 10 years or so.”
The combination of games on TexasTech.com and 97.3 found a welcoming audience. Former Red Raider baseball letterman and Tech graduate Mike Gustafson said he felt an emptiness when the baseball season abruptly ended in March. Watching and listening to broadcasts of games have helped fill some of that void, even if he knew the outcome. “Those things have been a welcome respite from everything else going on right now,” Gustafson said. “While it’s not the same as watching those great moments unfold before your eyes, the thrill has been in reliving the stuff that happens in games that you don’t remember. It’s been fun to listen and watch that with new kind of interest. It also gives you a chance to reflect on guys and performances and appreciate them even more.” Besides the game rebroadcasts, Tech has also offered other features that have appealed to a fan base hungry for anything Red Raider-related. Those have included video diaries by players, inside looks into each athletic program and a virtual tour of the inside workings of the department. The ‘Wreck ’Em Tour’ virtual offering was shown live and featured Hocutt, football coach Matt Wells, men’s basketball coach Chris Beard and baseball coach Tim Tadlock speaking about their programs and what lies ahead. It replaced an event that would have been in held in Dallas in front of audience of 750. The broadcast has remained available since the live airing and the number of views topped 50,000 in early June. Likewise, the traffic on the Tech-produced podcasts was about 300 visitors in February. In May, that number surged to 13,000. “I knew my staff was really good and talented, but I have been amazed at the ideas they have consistently thrown out there and they’re still coming every day,” Giovannetti said. “We’ve used a lot of different platforms to keep our fans engaged, and the big thing is that we’re doing things that are sustainable until we all figure out what’s next. “We’ve come up with things that we may very well continue even when things do get back to normal because what we’ve learned is that we can provide a great outreach to our fans, especially in other markets outside of our normal reach. We’re looking at how people are consuming and talking about doing several other events virtually starting in the fall. “People are thirsty for sports and I’m proud that we’ve been able to answer that the way we have and we’re looking forward to giving our fans more than ever when our teams get back to work.”
The MLB Effect
Brian Klein Klein signed to play for the Washington Nationals. Klein could have returned for a fifth season due to the NCAA approving an extra year of eligibility. He played every game during last season’s College World Series run. “I am so thankful for my time at Texas Tech,” Klein said. “The Lord has blessed me with incredible memories on and off the field and I will cherish them always.”
Queen will return to pitch at Tech in 2021. Queen is 5-0 with a 2.89 earned-run average in 32 career appearances over three seasons. He was 4-0 with a 1.06 ERA for the Red Raiders’ 2019 College World Series team.
John McMillon McMillon signed to play for the Kansas City Royals. McMillon appeared in 24 games and became a full-time relief pitcher for Tech last seaon, where he struck out 67 batters over 47.2 innings with three saves and a 4-3 record. “Things happen for a reason,” McMillon told MLB.com. “I’m incredibly happy to be a Kansas City Royal. This is where I should be. You’ll see.”
Bonnin signed with the Cincinnati Reds after being drafted in the 3rd round. Bonnin went 2-0 with a 7.36 earned-run average during the shortened 2020 season, but he struck out 27 in 14 2/3 innings. “To all the Tech fans, thank you for your endless support and making my time in Lubbock so special,” Bonnin said. “There is no doubt The Law will continue to be a scary place for opposing teams.”
Sophomore Clayton Beeter was the final Red Raider to sign, inking a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Beeter was chosen in the Competitive Balance Round B with pick No. 66 by the Dodgers, becoming the sixth highest Red Raider ever drafted and the third highest pitcher. in 2019 he earned Freshman All-America honors as a closer while helping the Red Raiders finish as national semifinalists. “I’m so thankful for everyone who’s helped me,” said Beeter
NOTEBOOK The Texas Tech men’s basketball program added several high-impact transfers to its roster in the spring. The additions started with Clarendon College big man Esahia Nyiwe, who announced his verbal commitment to Texas Tech on April 11. Nyiwe is a long, athletic big man, capable of playing either the power forward or center positions. Listed Esahia Nyiwe at 6-foot-10, 210 pounds, Nyiwe chose the Red Raiders over offers from Temple, Tulsa, VCU and Wichita State among others. As a sophomore at Clarendon College, Nyiwe averaged 8.1 points and 8 rebounds a game, while shooting 33.3 percent from deep and blocking 64 shots in only 28 games on the season. Just two days after Nyiwe’s commitment, the Texas Tech staff added a key sit-out transfer in Jamarius Burton. The standout guard, one of many Wichita State Shockers to leave the team following the 2019-20 season, chose the Red Raiders over a top five that included Ohio State, Marquette, Xavier and Seton Hall. Burton’s preference is to sit-out the upcoming season and get bigger, faster and stronger while fully recovering from an injury he suffered in high school. Jamarius Burton At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Burton projects as a point guard prospect at the NBA level with his size and passing ability. At Texas Tech, he is expected to play all over the backcourt. As a sophomore, Burton averaged 10.3 points,
3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the Shockers, while shooting 38.1 percent from the perimeter. Following his sit-out season, Burton will have two seasons of eligibility with the Red Raiders. The next commitment to the 2020 basketball roster came from VCU transfer forward Marcus Santos-Silva. Santos-Silva had previously narrowed his decision down to a top six which included Georgia, Maryland, Ole Miss, Penn State and Arizona State as his other options. Listed at 6-foot-7, Santos-Silva’s game is unique and his 7-foot-1 wingspan allows him to Marcus Santos-Silva play bigger than he is. His strength is down low, where he has a career field goal percentage of 57.3 percent from the field. As a junior Santos-Silva averaged 8.9 rebounds per game and he will be a big help for a Texas Tech team that struggled on the glass at times last season. Along with his elite rebounding, Santos-Silva has also averaged over 10 points per game and a block per game in each of the previous two years. Santos-Silva will have two years to play one with the Red Raiders. The most recent and perhaps most notable addition to the roster came from Georgetown transfer guard Mac McClung, who comes over as a junior after averaging over 13 points per game in each of his first two collegiate seasons. McClung had previously announced a top seven of Texas Tech, Auburn, Memphis, USC, BYU, Arkansas and Wake Forest. McClung became an internet sensation in high school, known for his dunks and ability to be a human highlight reel. He has close to 750,000 followers on Instagram, and his decision to commit to Texas Tech certainly sent shockwaves
b y B E N G O LA N
throughout college basketball. As a regular transfer, McClung would have to sit-out this season unless he is granted a waiver for immediate eligibility, which he will reportedly apply for. McClung initially declared for the 2020 NBA Draft but opted to transfer once receiving feedback from several NBA teams. McClung had three Mac McClung years of eligibility remaining to play two. On the other end, three members of Texas Tech’s 2019-20 roster will not return this coming year. Senior guard Davide Moretti elected to turn pro and signed a contract with Italian club Olimpia Milano. Moretti leaves after three seasons in Lubbock, where he became one of the winningest players in program history. A starter for the last two seasons, Moretti was also one of the most efficient players in the country, becoming the only player in Big 12 history to shoot 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from deep and 90 percent from the free throw line in conference play as a sophomore. Sophomore center Russel Tchewa will also not return after announcing his transfer to South Florida. The 7-footer leaves after appearing in 23 games as a true freshman while making one start. “Big Russ” became a fan favorite in his short time at Texas Tech but left to pursue more playing time. Sophomore forward Andrei Savrasov will continue his career in the Sun Belt Conference, following former Texas Tech assistant Brian Burg to Georgia Southern. Savrasov initially enrolled in the spring of 2019 and redshirted for during Tech’s magical run to the NCAA Championship game. He played in 21 games this season.
NOTEBOOK b y MATT C LA R E
Recruiting never stops, not even during a global pandemic. The Texas Tech coaching staff, like their peers across college athletics, have been forced to adapt when the NCAA canceled all in-person recruiting July 31. The Red Raiders traded hosting recruits on campus for hosting recruits on Zoom video chats. While the day-to-day recruiting operations have had to adapt due to the coronavirus, the coaches were still able to address some immediate needs with a handful of additions during the spring.
Additions to the 2020 Class LB Jacob Morgenstern • Duke University
TE Jason Lloyd • College of San Mateo
The 6-foot-4, 210pound linebacker announced his commitment to the Red Raiders on April 30. A graduate transfer from Duke, Morgenstern is originally from Connecticut and wanted an opportunity to earn additional playing time for his last season of eligibility. Morgenstern committed to Texas Tech sight unseen, but he did have a relationship with new co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Derek Jones, who came over from Duke this off-season. Morgenstern was a standout special teams player for the Blue Devils, earning the 2019 Bill Keziah Award, which is an award given to Duke’s top special team player.
The 6-foot-4, 245pound tight end announced his commitment to the Red Raiders on May 17. Lloyd was originally scheduled to graduate next year and sign with an FBS program as a member of the 2021 class, but the Texas Tech coaches offered him the opportunity to join the team this summer. Head coach Matt Wells and offensive coordinator David Yost needed immediate depth at the tight end position and Lloyd provides that. He comes in with three years to play two years at the FBS level, and Lloyd already has the size coming in as a junior college transfer. The three-star prospect chose the Red Raiders over UCF, Toledo and UNLV.
OL Josh Burger • Wofford College The 6-foot-4, 290- pound lineman announced his commitment to the Red Raiders on April 15. A graduate transfer from Wofford, Burger is originally from Ohio and wanted to play his last season of eligibility at the Power Five level. He announced his intentions to transfer and immediately received offers from Texas Tech, USF, Indiana and Rutgers. The Texas Tech coaches were one of the first programs to show interest, and things quickly evolved from there. He is set to compete for one of the open tackle spots or potentially left guard.
DB Cameron White Northwest Mississippi Community College The 6-foot, 195-pound safety did not announce his commitment to the Red Raiders, he simply changed his profile on social media and added ‘Texas Tech football player’ to his bio. White is originally from Mississippi and committed to Ole Miss over offers from Alabama and others out of high school and, after a detour to junior college, eventually committed to the Rebels again. Things didn’t work out with Ole Miss after the Rebels dismissed head coach Matt Luke, and White was suddenly available. The talented prospect heard from a handful of programs, including TCU and Memphis, but the entire Texas Tech coaching staff jumped in and built a relationship with White. He will compete at the safety position this fall, and has three years to play two.
2021 Recruiting Class
CB Cameron Watts Northeastern Oklahoma A&M The 6-foot, 195-pound defensive back was able to visit campus on March 7, only a week before the NCAA shut down in-person recruiting. Watts spent time around the coaching staff and actually received his offer, then committed while on campus. Watts graduated from Tulsa Union High School in the 2019 class and spent one year at the junior college level — which means he will have four years to play three years at Texas Tech.
DE Josh Davies-Balogun Butler County Community College The 6-foot-4, 235pound defensive end announced his commitment to the Red Raiders on May 29. Davies visited the South Plains on March 7, right before the NCAA canceled visits across college athletics. He was able to complete his needed class and credits this spring, then the coaches completed his admissions process at Texas Tech. On the field, Davies is needed for depth at the defensive end position, but he could crack the rotation as a pass rushing specialist. He is originally from Houston and will have three years to play two years at Texas Tech.
The Texas Tech coaches currently hold eight verbal commitments in the 2021 recruiting class, good for the No. 55 overall class in the nation and the No. 7 overall class in the Big 12 conference, per Rivals.com’s team rankings. The class includes five prospects on offense – a quarterback, a wide receiver, two tight ends and one offensive tackle. The class includes three prospects on defense – two defensive ends and one defensive tackle.
Latest Addition DT Solomon Wright Vian The 6-foot-1, 270-pound defensive tackle is the latest verbal commitment for the 2021 class, announcing his commitment on May 1. Wright chose the Red Raiders over offers from Oklahoma State, Kansas and Iowa State. The three-star prospect piled up video game-like stats as a junior, finishing with 124 total tackles, 51 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. He is consistently applying pressure up the middle on his highlight tape, and his father Kenyatta Wright was an All-Big 12 football player at Oklahoma State and played five seasons in the NFL
Top Remaining Targets Offense OL Jacoby Jackson • Mansfield Summit The three-star prospect has been on Texas Tech’s campus multiple times and has a great relationship with the program’s coaching staff. Jackson holds nearly 40 offers from programs around the country, and the competition for his commitment is stiff, but the coaches are ‘all-in’ for the talented tackle prospect.
Defense DB Jalon Williams •South Grand Prairie The three-star prospect announced an offer from the Red Raiders in early May and now holds 20 offers from programs around the country. Williams’ offer is significant, because new defensive assistant Derek Jones has not offered a ton of prospects around the state of Texas.