LUBBOCK, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Coaching Division I football is a year-round job with the recruiting process, and Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire and his staff have put an extra emphasis on recruiting athletes in West Texas since taking over.

McGuire is nearing his second season with the Red Raiders. In his debut year, Texas Tech went 8-5, finishing fourth in the Big 12 and earning a trip to the Texas Bowl, which it won emphatically, 42-25 over Ole Miss.

McGuire has implemented a new recruiting system to help keep West Texas talent in West Texas. He said they treat West Texas as its own state. Along with the state or region that each coach is responsible for recruiting, they also have an area of West Texas that they are responsible for recruiting.

“I think it’s really important that we make sure we’re doing a good job of going in there and the guys that can play at this level, we make sure they’re Red Raiders,” McGuire said.

McGuire’s staff extended several offers to football players specifically in the Permian Basin during this past recruiting season, including four-star Midland Legacy junior quarterback Marcos Davila and Odessa junior receiver Ivan Carreon. Carreon announced his commitment to Texas Tech in December.

Coach McGuire said Permian Basin football players stand out to him for their toughness and grit, something that he has made a cornerstone of Texas Tech football since taking the reigns.

McGuire implemented a phrase called, “The Brand”, as something for their program to live up to in the pursuit of success. “The Brand” to McGuire means being the toughest, hardest working, most competitive team in the country. He says Permian Basin athletes fit right into that.

“Here in West Texas, there’s a brand, and it’s “The Brand”. You’ve got a bunch of tough kids that are extremely competitive,” McGuire said. “These guys have grown up dreaming of playing in the black and the red and wearing that double T. We want to make sure they don’t go anywhere else and that we can help them be Red Raiders.”

Texas Tech has several players currently on the team from the Permian Basin, including senior receiver Loic Fouonji, a Midland (Lee) Legacy graduate. Fouonji had a good year for the Red Raiders, establishing himself as one of the most consistent receivers to wear the red and black. He played in all 13 games, tallying 34 receptions for 451 yards and three touchdowns.

Sophomore linebacker Wesley Smith and junior linebacker Trent Low are also alumni from Midland (Lee) Legacy.

Fouonji attests to Midland Legacy head coach Clint Hartman’s program helping athletes prepare to play at the next level.

“Coach Hartman, his offseason, I guess, his program kind of helped me develop my strength and mental abilities to come out here and perform and so I would say from that, the way he kind of made us tough and do the extra hard skillful stuff, that pretty much allowed me to be kind of the person I am too,” Fouonji said.

McGuire emphasized that Texas Tech will continue to heavily recruit and be present in the Permian Basin.

Texas Tech will host several high school prospect camps this May and June. Athletes can register at their camp website for the following dates: May 28, June 8, June 11 and June 28. It costs $40 to take part in the camp.

Watch the full sit-down interview with Coach Joey McGuire here.