Texas Tech is coming off a pair of tough in-state losses but received uplifting news Monday evening when 5-star offensive lineman Jack Anderson announced intentions to play for the Red Raiders:
The 6'4 ½", 285-pound prospect picked Texas Tech from a list of scholarship offers featuring more than 40 collegiate teams. Still just a junior at Frisco High School in the northern Dallas area, Anderson landed his first offer as a freshman.
That initial opportunity arrived from Texas Tech. Even as his expansive recruitment intensified, this was always the Red Raiders' race to lose.
"They were the leader the whole way. I was waiting for someone else to shock me but it didn't happen," Anderson told Bleacher Report.
He released a top-12 list last month, unveiling a group of favorites that included Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Ole Miss, LSU and Georgia. After his decision, Anderson revealed Texas A&M, SMU and Oklahoma challenged Texas Tech for the coveted commitment more than any other programs.
Ultimately, it didn't make sense for him to assess alternatives anymore.
"I felt like I knew where I wanted to be and it was time to pull the trigger," Anderson explained. "I couldn't really see myself playing anywhere else. I definitely found a home."
He follows a familiar family path.
Anderson's father and uncle attended Texas Tech. His older sister is a junior in Lubbock.
Now Anderson aims to make a lasting mark at the university. Though the Red Raiders recently suffered defeats against Baylor and TCU, he intends to help reverse future results.
"There was a time when Texas Tech used to beat Baylor and TCU by a bunch of points. My dad told me about watching some of those games," Anderson said. "My goal is to help bring back that prior glory. I think history will repeat itself, Tech will be back on top and I can't wait to be a part of it."
Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury, now in his third year at the helm, attracted Anderson with enthusiasm. The 36-year-old once starred as Texas Tech's quarterback and expresses plenty of passion, further evidenced by his postgame call-out of Arkansas coach Bret Bielema after a September victory over the Razorbacks.
"It definitely motivates you a lot to have a head coach who is young and has swag. That was big for my decision," Anderson said. "He's focused on getting this thing turned around. We both love to win and we're willing to do anything for that. He's very relatable and that helps in the recruiting process."
Anderson, rated No. 1 overall among interior offensive linemen in 2017 composite rankings, expects to compete at guard or center. He hopes to instantly add increased credibility to a positional group that surrendered just a single quarterback sack during its first five games.
"The offensive line is very solid right now. They're doing a great job protecting [quarterback Patrick Mahomes] for the amount of times he drops back," Anderson said. "I think the mentality up front will continue to develop and I hope to play as a freshman when I get there. I'm aggressive and I like to finish blocks, so I'll bring that edge for sure."
He impressed this summer at The Opening, an invite-only prospect showcase held at Nike's world headquarters. Anderson warranted attention despite being the youngest recruit in star-studded trench battles.
"I definitely saw not to underestimate him," LSU defensive tackle commit Caleb Roddy told Bleacher Report after drills. "Some of those younger players who have a lot of hype get exposed at big events. He definitely stepped up to the plate. Jack was getting after it, man."
Anderson said he's already established solid relationships with Mahomes and 2016 Texas Tech quarterback commit Jett Duffey, who also attended The Opening.
"It's all love between us. I know Pat is looking forward to playing together for a year, then Jett and I will get it done when we get a chance to play together," Anderson said.
While Anderson won't completely shut the door on potential official visits elsewhere next year, he feels at peace with plans in place.
"I'm not too worried about other schools right now. I'm recruiting some people to Texas Tech and I want to help build something special," Anderson said, identifying 4-star running back Eno Benjamin as his top target.
Anderson will be on campus this Saturday when the Red Raiders host Iowa State. He anticipates an especially warm welcome from the home crowd.
"I'm expecting some recognition from fans. I don't ask for it, but I know they're excited about the commitment. It's going to be a fun day," Anderson said.