Tommy Tuberville is wasting no time in transforming the Texas Tech defense.
Yesterday, the Red Raiders landed what is possibly their biggest recruit in the past decade when they signed Derek David, a 6'3, 225-pound standout linebacker from Rockdale, Texas. Many sources label David as the top defensive player in the state of Texas for the class of 2012.
David chose Texas Tech over several BCS schools including Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, Texas A&M, UCLA, Ohio State and many others.
The fact that a prospect has chosen Tech over in-state recruiting powerhouses Texas and Texas A&M, along with annual national championship contenders such as Alabama, USC and Ohio State, is miraculous.
The fact that David chose Tech over those schools before entering his junior year is even more miraculous.
Historically, Texas Tech has embraced the role of the Big 12's over-achiever, often stunning schools who haul in truckloads of 4 and 5-star recruits. According to Rivals.com, Tech had the 41st strongest 2010 recruiting class, ranking eighth in the Big 12.
Even Baylor had Tech beat, claiming the 39th spot.
This probably surprises a lot of people, as Tech has consistently been one of the top four programs in the conference. This shows just how good of a coach Mike Leach really was.
So what does this commitment mean for Texas Tech?
It means that, behind Tommy Tuberville, wheels of change are in motion.
Tech's kryptonite for years has been its inability to keep opponents out of the endzone. Big plays from opposing offenses have been the biggest obstacle in the Red Raiders' path towards becoming a consistent conference contender.
The defensive-minded Tuberville has what every coach of a championship team needs: the ability to recruit.
This was the one area in which Leach was limited. He had an incredible knack for coaching-up players who weren't 5-star athletes to the level of competing with, and beating programs such as Texas and Oklahoma. In 2008, Leach's squad featured 5'8, 170-pound wide reciever Eric Morris. His nickname was "Elf". That season Elf recorded 771 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.
How many players for Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M or Nebraska do you know with the nickname "Elf"?
The commitment of David symbolizes Tech's progression to a permanent spot alongside Texas and Oklahoma.
With the dynamic offense intact under coordinator Neal Brown and the addition of defensive players such as David to Tuberville's defense, a Big 12 championship and BCS bowl berth won't be far away.