After putting together a solid, albeit under-the-radar, recruiting class for 2014, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury reeled in his first prize recruit since arriving in Lubbock a little over a year ago.
On Friday, the Red Raiders got a verbal commitment from 5-star dual-threat quarterback Jarrett Stidham, just days after he took an unofficial visit.
“I had visited Tech and Lubbock before, but this visit was different,” Stidham told the staff of RedRaiderSports.com. “I got to spend a lot of one on one time with the coaches, the entire staff was there and I mean everyone.”
This is an exciting moment for Kingsbury and the program. Stidham held more than 20 offers, including ones from Alabama, Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M.
While it's too early to start the Johnny Manziel comparison, Stidham would give the Red Raiders an extra dimension at quarterback that they haven't had in recent years—should he sign with Tech next year, of course.
It starts with his feet. Simply put, Stidham can run.
Tech has had mobile quarterbacks before. Baker Mayfield could elude defenders, and even Seth Doege was mobile within the pocket, but neither of them can run like Stidham. It wouldn't be surprising to see Texas Tech incorporate more zone read or option plays if Stidham finds his way onto the field.
The benefit of having a great athlete at quarterback is that the defense has to commit a defender to him. There's no doubt Stidham is a great athlete.
But Stidham has a nice arm, too. For as much as Tech passes the ball, that makes its version of the Air Raid offense potentially even more potent. He could be asked to throw it 50 times a game and still have nice zip on the ball.
Since depth is an issue, Stidham will get a shot at quarterback first. During his visit, Stidham got a glimpse into the Texas Tech playbook:
I watched game film of the Holiday Bowl with coach (Kliff) Kingsbury and coach (Eric) Morris. They went over some of the plays calls, the various formations, and some of the reads. I would say watching film with coach Kingsbury and getting to interact with him in the film room was one of my favorite parts of the visit.
He could also move to another position if need be. As a sophomore at Stephenville High School (TX), Stidham caught 50 passes for 819 yards and 11 touchdowns. So he has experience playing multiple positions.
Stidham has thrown for, rushed for and caught touchdowns. There's not much he can't do. At 6'3" and 190 pounds, he has a good frame to grow physically, too.
That's a safety net for Kingsbury if he needs to find a way to get Stidham on the field somehow.
There's no doubt Stidham has a ton of potential, and Kingsbury has shown just how creative he can be with play-calling and personnel packages.
There's a lot of time between now and national signing day 2015. There's even more time until Stidham potentially sees the field.
Still, this feels like a match made in offense heaven.
Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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