The Texas Tech football program’s search for a new head coach is nearing the end of its second full week and it appears that the search committee is doing its due diligence. And while it’s encouraging to see AD Kirby Hocutt and Co. cast a wide net, there is one trait that the next Texas Tech head coach must possess; the ability to recruit at a high level.

The simple fact is that this program’s talent level trails that of most of the other teams in the Big 12 conference.  That has been evident in all three of the Red Raiders’ 20-plus point losses in 2021.

There’s no denying that this program has had a talent deficit for some time.  That’s why recently fired head coach Matt Wells felt he had to resort to bringing in a truckload of players from the transfer portal as an immediate stopgap measure.

But that strategy didn’t pay off leaving all to surmise that the only way for this program to dig out of its decade-long hole is to improve the talent on the roster through the high school ranks.  Sure, the portal will always be a means of talent acquisition that Tech can’t ignore.  However, the Red Raiders must get back to mining the talent-rich Texas high school ranks if it wants to return to relevance.

This past recruiting cycle, the Red Raiders added only 11 high school players from Texas and just 12 total to the ranks.  And to make matters worse, only once since 2018 have the Red Raiders signed a top-50 recruiting class.

The game of college football is more about the talent on the team than it is about schematic advantages.  Sure, during the Mike Leach era, Tech was able to exploit the schematic advantage of being the first Big 12 team to run a version of the spread offense 100% of the time.

But now that the rest of the sport has adopted that practice, Tech no longer has the jump on opponents from an X’s and O’s standpoint.  And to be honest, none of the elite teams in the sport are making their living by out scheming the rest of the nation.

When was the last time any college football commentator noted during an Alabama game that the Tide was dominating an opponent because of some exotic offensive or defensive scheme?  Rather, Nick Saban’s team is dominant because it has 4 and 5-star talent at virtually every position on the roster.

While Tech is not going to have such an embarrassment of riches on the roster, the reality is that the talent coming through Lubbock has to be improved.  Thus, the next head coach must be, above all else, a fantastic recruiter.

That’s why a candidate like current Detroit Lions offensive coordinator and former Texas Tech running back Anthony Lynn is a strange entrant into this beauty pageant.  While his 20-year run in the NFL is impressive (he even had a stint as the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers) it does not make him an ideal candidate for this job.

After all, Tech will need its next head coach to high the ground running on the recruiting trail.  That’s not what Lynn is set up to do given that he’s going to have to start from square one when recruiting high schools around the state.  Sure, Tech could stock Lynn’s staff with top-flight recruiters but ultimately, a program’s head coach has to be its lead recruiter and that’s not a role that Lynn is ready to assume.

Likewise, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch seems like he might not be the type of recruiter Tech needs.  While the Sooners constantly recruit the state of Texas, Grinch doesn’t have the natural ties to the state of Texas that Kirby Hocutt spoke of when talking about his next head coach at the press conference to announce Matt Wells’ firing.

Plus, recruiting to Oklahoma is easy.  After all, it’s one of those schools that recruits itself.  That’s certainly not the case with Texas Tech and the next Red Raider head coach is going to have to be a grinder on the recruiting trail if he wants to bring top talent back to Lubbock.

That’s why so many Red Raider fans are sold on the idea of Joey McGuire as the man for the job.  The current Baylor Associate Head Coach and outside linebackers coach is one of the top recruiters in the state and has been credited with bringing at least five 4-star players to Baylor in his time in Waco.

But even if Tech doesn’t hand the keys to McGuire, there’s no denying that this program’s recruiting must improve dramatically and in a hurry.  That’s why the next head coach must be, above all else, capable of landing difference-making players.

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