LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) — The following is a news release from Texas Tech Athletics:
Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells added to the Red Raiders’ future Wednesday with the commitment of 10 high school prospects to kick off the early signing period.
The class features three signees that are listed as a four-star prospect by one of the major recruiting services, giving Texas Tech an initial class that currently ranks in the top half of the Big 12 based on average recruit ranking by both Rivals and 247Sports.
“We knew this would be a smaller class than in years past, but we couldn’t be more excited by the talent we were able to sign on both sides of the ball,” Wells said. “We view all 10 of these signees as having the potential to be immediate impacts in our program, and we can’t wait to get them to campus.”
In addition to the 10 high school signees, Texas Tech added several current players to its rosters last summer that will count to the 2021 class, namely a pair of instant-impact defensive standouts in sophomore defensive lineman Tyree Wilson and returning senior linebacker Colin Schooler.
“When you look at this class as a whole, we’ve been able to bring in numerous high schools signees who will have great careers here along with a talented group of transfers,” Wells said. “We feel this class will be special and will play a big part in our future here at Texas Tech.”
Wells and his staff will look to add to the 2021 class Feb. 3 when high school and junior college prospects are again able to sign with prospective universities.
Below is a full listing of the class along with a bio on each signee.
2021 TEXAS TECH SIGNING CLASS
Name POS HS/JC HT WT Hometown (Previous School)
E’maurion Banks DL HS 6-4 270 Wichita Falls, Texas (Rider H.S.)
Jerand Bradley^ WR HS 6-5 210 Frisco, Texas (DeSoto H.S.)
Jed Castles^ TE HS 6-7 205 Wichita Falls, Texas (Rider H.S.)
Charles Esters III DL HS 6-3 225 Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill H.S.)
Jacoby Jackson OL HS 6-5 320 Arlington, Texas (Mansfield Summit H.S.)
Behren Morton^ QB HS 6-3 185 Eastland, Texas (Eastland H.S.)
Isaac Smith DL HS 6-6 235 Wagoner, Okla. (Wagoner H.S.)
Mason Tharp^ TE HS 6-8 230 Klein, Texas (Klein H.S.)
Jack Tucker OL HS 6-6 265 Argyle, Texas (Argyle H.S.)
Cam’Ron Valdez RB HS 5-10 190 Rockdale, Texas (Rockdale H.S.)
^ indicates January enrollees
DL | Wichita Falls, Texas | Rider H.S.
Attended Rider High School in his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas … high school teammates with fellow Red Raider signee Jed Castles … goes by the nickname “Dooda” … one of the more dominating defensive linemen in the state of Texas … listed as a Sports Illustrated All-America candidate as a senior … has helped Rider advance to the area round already of the Class 5A Division II playoffs this season … previously helped lead Rider to the Class 5A Division I state quarterfinals as a junior … suffered a season-ending knee injury in Rider’s regional finals win over Wichita Falls … closed the season with 95 tackles, including a team-leading 14 sacks and 20 tackles for loss … also recorded 30 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries on his way to earning All-District 3-5A accolades … found the quarterback 11 times for a sack over his final four games alone … considered a three-star prospect by Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports … ranked as the No. 34 defensive tackle and the No. 76 player in the state of Texas by ESPN … listed as the No. 44 strong-side defensive end in the country and the No. 112 player in Texas by 247Sports … part of the top-100 players in Texas by Rivals at No. 98 overall … chose Texas Tech over 16 other power-five offers … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Arizona, Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Washington State.
WR | Frisco, Texas | DeSoto H.S.
Attended DeSoto High School in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex … will graduate early and enroll at Texas Tech in January … one of the premier wide receivers in the state of Texas … named a finalist for High School All-America honors presented by Sports Illustrated … one of 36 wide receivers from across the country listed as a finalist … has helped lead DeSoto into the area round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs this season … selected to play in the 2021 Under Armour All-America game … previously attended Plano John Paul II High School as a junior where he was a first team TAPPS All-State honoree … recorded 96 receptions for 1,522 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019 en route to helping lead the Cardinals to a 10-4 record and an appearance in the TAPPS Division I state title game … was a first team All-District selection as well … caught 45 passes for 866 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018 … tabbed the TAPPS Division I Offensive Newcomer of the Year that season … was also a second team All-District honoree … currently ranked No. 20 by the Dallas Morning News in its top-100 DFW athletes from the 2021 class … considered a four-star prospect by both ESPN and the 247Sports composite and a three-star signee by Rivals … member of the ESPN300, ranking No. 30 among wide receivers and No. 27 among players in the state of Texas … one of the top-100 recruits in the state by both 247Sports (No. 75) and Rivals (No. 82) … received more than 25 scholarship offers from schools across the country … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Duke, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Liberty, Louisiana Tech, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, SMU, South Carolina, Tulane, Tulsa, Utah, UTSA and Wisconsin.
TE | Wichita Falls, Texas | Rider H.S.
Attended Rider High School in his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas … will graduate early and enroll at Texas Tech in January … high school teammate with fellow Red Raider signee E’maurion Banks … part of the initial watch list for All-America honors from Sports Illustrated as a senior … currently has helped Rider to the area round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs … emerged as one of the top tight-end prospects in the state as a junior after catching 45 passes for 556 yards and nine touchdowns … successful year helped push Rider to the 5A state quarterfinals … tabbed the District 3-5A Offensive Newcomer of the Year as a junior in 2019 … previously attended Bowie High School as a sophomore and then Archie City High School as a freshman, playing on the varsity at both schools … was the District 4-3A Division I Newcomer of the Year in 2018 at Bowie … two-sport athlete as a member of the Rider basketball team, earning District 4-5A Newcomer of the Year accolades following his 2019-20 junior season … also part of the basketball programs at Bowie and Archer City … considered a three-star prospect by the likes of Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports … ranked 11th nationally among hybrid tight ends by ESPN … the No. 14 tight end in the country and No. 59 player in the state of Texas, according to 247Sports … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Baylor,Hawaii, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas State, New Mexico, SMU, Texas State and Tulane.
CHARLES ESTERS III
DL | Cedar Hill, Texas | Cedar Hill H.S.
Attended Cedar Hill High School in his hometown of Cedar Hill, Texas … named a candidate for High School All-America accolades by Sports Illustrated prior to his senior season … already helped Cedar Hill to the District 11-6A Division II title and an appearance in the area round of the playoffs this season … helped lead Cedar Hill to a 9-3 record as a junior and an appearance in the area round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs … garnered second team All-District 7-6A honors that season … found the quarterback 14 times for a sack as a junior … consensus three-star prospect by the likes of ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports … ranked as the No. 65 strong-side defensive end in the country by 247Sports … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Air Force, Army, Colorado State, Illinois State, Kansas, Missouri State, North Texas, Toledo and UTSA.
OL | Arlington, Texas | Mansfield Summit H.S.
Attended Mansfield Summit High School in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex … has helped Summit reach the area round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs already this season … previously garnered first team All-District 7-6A honors as a junior … helped lead the Jaguars to a 7-4 record and a playoff berth … two-sport athlete as a member of Summit’s track and field program where he competes in the shot put and discus … consensus three-star prospect by the likes of ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports … listed as the No. 74 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 135 player in Texas by 247Sports … projected as an offensive guard by ESPN, ranking 29th nationally at the position and 86th among players in the state of Texas … the No. 74 overall player in the DFW area, according to the Dallas Morning News … had more than 40 offers from schools across country, including most of the Big 12 … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Boise State, California, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Houston, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Purdue, SMU, TCU, Texas, Utah, Vanderbilt and Washington State.
QB | Eastland, Texas | Eastland H.S.
Attended Eastland High School in his hometown of Eastland, Texas … one of the top quarterbacks in the country throughout prep career … one of 11 quarterbacks nominated for the 2020 National High School Quarterback of the Year Award that is presented by the National Quarterback Club … semifinalist for the 2020 Mr. Texas Football award presented by the Texas Bowl and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football … was a preseason candidate for High School All-America honors from Sports Illustrated … threw for 3,613 yards, 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions, while adding 893 yard and 19 touchdowns on the ground as a senior … averaged 6.9 yards per carry while also completing 68.6 percent of his passes … nearly led Eastland to 100 points in a game his senior season after accounting for 10 total touchdowns (5 passing, 5 rushing) in a 91-71 victory over Panhandle … totaled more than 8,800 passing yards during his three seasons to go along with 84 passing touchdowns and only 15 interceptions … considered an accurate passer with a roughly 64 percent completion rate … proved to be a threat on the ground as well with more than 1,200 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns … was the District 3-3A Division I Offensive MVP as both a sophomore and junior … became one of the top young quarterbacks in the state in 2018 after throwing for 2,435 yards and 18 touchdowns with only four interceptions … followed with 2,766 passing yards and 29 touchdowns with only five interceptions a year later as a junior … helped lead Eastland to the state quarterfinal round his senior year … the Mavericks made the playoffs in each of his three seasons with a regional finals appearance in 2018 … also a member of Eastland’s basketball program … consensus four-star prospect by the likes of Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports … becomes the highest-rated quarterback by 247Sports to ever sign with the Red Raiders … listed in the ESPN300 at No. 198 overall … tabbed the No. 21 pocket passing quarterback nationally by ESPN and the 33rd-best player in the state … ranked as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the country and No. 17 player in the state of Texas by 247Sports … was the No. 12 dual-threat quarterback nationally and No. 44 player in the state by Rivals … one of 20 quarterbacks from across the country invited to the prestigious Elite 11 Finals in 2020 … … father, James Morton was his high school coach throughout tenure in Eastland … grew up in Lubbock as his father was the head football coach at Lubbock Monterey for 11 years before accepting the same position at Midland Lee in 2009 and then Eastland in 2016 … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Baylor, Kansas, Nevada, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, Tulsa, USC, Washington State and Wisconsin.
DL | Wagoner, Okla. | Wagoner H.S.
Attended Wagoner High School in his hometown of Wagoner, Okla. … played on one of the top high school programs in the state of Oklahoma … helped lead Wagoner to the Class 4A state title as a senior … previously helped push Wagoner to the state semifinals as a junior after totaling 122 tackles, including 24 that went for a loss with 13 sacks … added a team-leading 30 quarterback pressures … was also a tight end on the offensive side of the ball … moved to Wagoner after previously attending Coweta High School … recorded 65 tackles as a sophomore in 2018 for a Tigers team that advanced to the Class 5A quarterfinal round … two-sport athlete at the high school level, participating in football as well as track and field … competed in the 200 meters, 400 meters and the high jump for track program … considered a three-star prospect by both ESPN and 247Sports and a two-star recruit by Rivals … listed as the No. 83 weak-side defensive end in the country by 247Sports and the No. 24 player in the state of Oklahoma … ranked as the No. 20 player in Oklahoma by ESPN … member of The Oklahoman’s Super 30 of top 2021 prospects in the state … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Tulsa and interest from Oklahoma State.
TE | Klein, Texas | Klein H.S.
Attended Klein High School in his hometown of Spring, Texas … will graduate high school early and enroll at Texas Tech in January … tabbed a preseason candidate for High School All-America honors by Sports Illustrated prior to his senior season … caught 30 passes for 523 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior en route to earning first team All-District 15-6A accolades … also a member of the school’s basketball program … consensus three-star prospect by the likes of ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports … listed at No. 25 among tight ends by 247Sports and No. 26 by ESPN … received more than 15 scholarships offers, the majority of which from power-five schools … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Arizona State, Colorado, Duke, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, Michigan State, Ole Miss, North Texas, Northwestern, Penn, Pittsburgh, Rice, SMU, Utah and Virginia.
OL | Argyle, Texas | Argyle H.S.
Attended Argyle High School in his hometown of Argyle, Texas … has helped lead Argyle to the Class 4A Division I state title game as a senior, which will take place Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington … tabbed a preseason candidate for High School All-America honors by Sports Illustrated prior to his senior season … helped push Argyle to a 13-1 record and an appearance in the Class 4A Division I state quarterfinals as a junior … earned first team All-District 7-4A accolades as part of an Argyle offense that averaged 51.9 points and 515.8 yards per game … also a member of Argyle’s track and field program … consensus three-star prospect by the likes of ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports … ranked among the top 100 players in the state of Texas by both ESPN (No. 98) and Rivals (No. 80) … listed as the No. 55 offensive tackle in the country by ESPN, No. 71 by 247Sports and No. 75 by Rivals … received more than 15 scholarship offers, the majority of which from power-five schools … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Boston College, California, Houston, Illinois, Louisiana-Lafayette, Minnesota, Ole Miss, North Texas, Purdue, San Diego State, Tulsa, USC and Washington State.
RB | Rockdale, Texas | Rockdale H.S.
Attended Rockdale High School in his hometown of Rockdale, Texas … closed his prep career as Rockdale’s all-time career rushing and touchdown leader … totaled 4,278 rushing yards and 62 touchdowns on the ground over his three varsity seasons, all of which resulted in 1,000-yard campaigns … also caught 24 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns … named the District 11-3A Division I Offensive MVP as a senior … recognized as the District 10-3A Division I Offensive MVP as a junior and the Offensive Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore … tabbed a finalist for High School All-America honors by Sports Illustrated as a senior … rushed for 1,406 yards and 19 touchdowns during his senior season alone to lead Rockdale to a playoff appearance … performance followed an impressive 1,697 yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground as a junior in 2019 … became an impact player for Rockdale as only a sophomore after rushing for 1,175 yards and 17 touchdowns … considered a four-star prospect by Rivals and a three-star signee by both ESPN and Rivals … the No. 6 all-purpose back in the country according to Rivals and the No. 40 player in the state of Texas … ranked 39th among running backs nationally by 247Sports and No. 45 by ESPN … received more than 25 scholarship offers, the majority of which were from power-five programs … CHOSE TEXAS TECH OVER: Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Purdue, SMU, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas State, Tulsa, UTSA, Utah, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.
(News release from Texas Tech Athletics)