Signing Day interview with Coach Kliff Kingsbury - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Signing Day interview with Coach Kliff Kingsbury

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Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

Q. Pretty happy to get a quarterback?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, we could use a couple more, I think, but excited about Patrick. Dynamic athlete, three sport star there. White House, big time Major League prospect in baseball, and he's a winner. You watch him play and he willed his teams over and over, 6'3", 220, very athletic, great extending plays, big time arm, and I really think he is just scratching the surface with having played different sports throughout the year. And he really focuses on football a majority of the time. You can really see him take off.

Q. So do you anticipate that he would probably be a freshman back up?

COACH KINGSBURY: I would assume that, yes. Yeah, he's of that mindset. We told him to get ready to come in. It's a unique situation. We only have one scholarship quarterback on the roster, get ready to come in and compete and play right away.

Q. Does the MLB situation concern you at all?

COACH KINGSBURY: It does, because when you see him in person, he's a big, impressive kid, and I think he's going to get bigger, and stronger and faster. With his dad having that history of being a professional player it does, but we'll see how it shakes out. He wants to come to college, but you never know how the money is going to be.

Q. Would you be open to sharing him with Tech baseball if he decided to play college ball?

COACH KINGSBURY: Definitely. I think Jameis Winston proved that's a good fit. And we'd be great with that.

Q. Do you think he'll shore up your defense?

COACH KINGSBURY: I hope so. I think in the Bowl game they had a good plan in place. I think having Dartwan back really helped that lineup front, and we signed four junior college defensive linemen to come in right away and expect them to have an immediate impact, and that was a big focus of this class was shoring up that defensive line.

Q. Can you talk more about that and the decision to bring in so many JUCO players to help out right away?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, just more needs than anything. We graduated a bunch of those D line men and thought that was an area we had to get better at right away. One of them here on campus, Keland McElrath, and the others are coming this summer. Big impact players. Bigger bodies than we had last year initially. They have to prove to be good players, but we're excited about their potential.

Q. How do you feel about your wide receiver class? Got a lot of wide receivers in there, trying to get your program going with the offense?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, we lost Jace, and you lose Eric Ward, so you want to try to get more bodies in there. We have a bunch of good skill coming back, but some high quality young guys. Jakari Dillard is a guy that has more size than we've had on the outside. You have Ian Sadler who is in the Wes Welker mode. Very impressive guy that dominated at the high school level. Cameron Batson is valedictorian of his class in Oklahoma City, very quick, very shifty, Jakeem Grant type mold.

Then Byron Daniels is a guy that's been productive down in San Antonio and has a chance to be a really good player.

Q. Do you anticipate some of these defensive backs coming in and making an impact right away?

COACH KINGSBURY: I think so. That's why they were brought in. Josh Keys is on campus already at safety. Some of these younger corners are more developed than guys we've seen in the past physically. So they can pick up our system and the speed of the game, I expect them to help us.

Q. Did you get the size on the offensive line?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, we brought in two junior college kids that we think can come in and start and play right away for us. A couple high school kids that are big kids. They'll have to adjust to our schemes to be able to make that impact. But they play the way we like. They play hard and mean, and that's what we're trying to improve upon up front.

Q. Can you talk about the process this year versus last year and having the time to go out and get your game plan together?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, completely different. Last year we were scrambling to try to put a class together that had really fallen apart with the way the departure went. So this year we had a year to get to know those kids and build relationships and really feel good about the character of this class. High character kids, on and off the field, and good players.

Q. Coach, what does Rika Levi bring to your program?

COACH KINGSBURY: He's going to be a different mold than we've had at that position. He's a run stopper who is agile enough to rush the passer, 350 pounds. When he was on his visit here, he was ripping phone books in front of us, so kind of intimidating for other players. But he's a special player and a big get for us and a leader on and off the field. I think Texas Tech fans will love his personality and the energy he brings. A huge get for us.

Q. Are you all done with this class or are there a couple more guys out there you're still trying to bring in?

COACH KINGSBURY: Pretty much wrapped up. There could be an exception later on as this goes on past signing day, but I'd say we're pretty wrapped up.

Q. Seems like there weren't that many surprises. Was there anybody down the stretch that you had to fight for that came through today that you all are celebrating?

COACH KINGSBURY: No, like you said, I didn't think there were many surprises. I thought most these kids, like you said, they're high quality, good character kids that committed to us and they're all excited about being here. That's what happens when you have a year to prepare and get to know them and build our relationship.

Q. Was there anyone on the list that was maybe more excited when they got the offer than you guys were when they said yes?

COACH KINGSBURY: I don't know. They all seemed pretty excited. I think that's a good thing. They got to know each other. With social media, the interactions, they get to know each other through that. So it's been a fun class to work with. A bunch of good kids that want to be here.

Q. How was it this year selling to the kids that you have 11 games or 13 games on film you can show them and say this is what we're doing? How much easier is that this year?

COACH KINGSBURY: I think it was just understanding the process more and our staff being together and having a year to research and do those things. They saw our product on the field and especially ending with the momentum we did with that bowl game, it's a quality team. I think they see the future as bright and what we're about.

When we get them in Lubbock, they usually have a great time. Our players did a great job showing them the community. The community has always been behind Tech, so it's just a matter of getting them here.

Q. How satisfied are you with putting your mark on the program, your first real recruiting class that you spent an entire year preparing for?

COACH KINGSBURY: I feel good about them. More the character than anything. Good kids that are going to change the culture of this place. Play hard, do the right thing on and off the field, and that's what we're about here. So we're excited about that.

Q. I know you have a lot of your core already, but how big or not was the Holiday Bowl win as far as kind of rounding out the class?

COACH KINGSBURY: I think it was big. Just as the end of that people started trying to swoop in and it happens everywhere in the country. Just to show this is the direction we're heading in and this is what we can do when we play well. I think kids enjoy that and the future is bright here.

Q. Do you anticipate Ian Settler to play immediately?

COACH KINGSBURY: I do. I hate to say the Wes Welker mode, but has the same elite level soccer background that Wes had, and very similar in persona and does some things that look a lot like him. So we expect him to come in and contribute right away.

Q. Do you get the impression that he's going to come in here and rugby punt right away?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, he did it all for them, so we'll see.

Q. How about (No microphone). Can you talk about his potential play right away and how big a get he was for you guys?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, that was huge. Coach Curtis developed that relationship early and really worked at it. We brought him in and he loved the atmosphere, loved the community, loved the game day. He's a big time player. I mean, that type of speed we don't have on our team right now. Very tough kid, very savvy. We think he has a great future ahead of him.

Q. Are there any that got away from you that you're disappointed?

COACH KINGSBURY: We don't talk about those. No, I think we landed the class we wanted. I think it complements very well what we have in place, and we have to develop them and keep going.

Q. The number of defensive backs that you took, that was obviously one of the positions that you took the most people was that you wanting to build depth?

COACH KINGSBURY: We did. We wanted to build depth. A big part of that was improving our special teams play as well. We need bodies on special teams to cover kicks. We didn't think we did that very well. We returned kicks, so that was part of our thinking as well as defensively.

Q. When you consider who you were competing with school wise with Josh Keys, what do you think pushed him over the edge to sign with you?

COACH KINGSBURY: I think Coach Haverty built a great relationship with him and showed him how to use our defense and had a great plan for that and just stuck with him. Helped him academically as far as what he had to do to get in on time and be here. So, yeah, I would say the relationship with Coach Haverty more than anything.

Q. Demarcus, doesn't seem like he gets talked about quite as much.

COACH KINGSBURY: He doesn't. But if you look at the production, he's a big time player. He had thousands of yards rushing and tough and they hand it to him 40 times a game. Another kid that's going to help us on special teams immediately. Doesn't get all the praise that Justin does, but is a very good player and we're excited about him.

Q. You're switching Michael Coley from offense to defense. Do you anticipate that being a one or two year project?

COACH KINGSBURY: No, I think he has a chance to play right away. He played corner in high school as well. Most people are recruiting him as wide receiver. He wants to play corner, 6'3", very fast, very mature, really, really good kid. So we with his frame he has a chance to come in and contribute.

Q. Satisfied to see Devin here?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, had great reports from Davis. They've been out there throwing and said that he can fly. He's what we needed as far as somebody that can take the top off of it, so we're excited to get him in the mix.

Q. Will you play him on the outside?

COACH KINGSBURY: That's what we think going into spring ball. That can always change, but that's what we would anticipate.

Q. Can you talk about how you found Tevin Madison?

COACH KINGSBURY: Another one that Coach Curtis found. Loved his film. He had hit a bunch of stuff going early. He got hurt, and we hung with him through the process, but he's another guy that played slot, played DB, great hands, great ball skills, very quick. A really good kid. Loved Texas Tech from the day he got here. He's from Alabama, but loved the atmosphere, loved the coaches, and he's hung with us the entire time.

Q. You talked about Coach Chiaverini how he helped you down the stretch from California?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, Coach Chiaverini, coming from Riverside out there in California. We signed the tackle from his school and another kid from Mt. SAC, Shaquille Davis. We expect them both to play right away. Those were huge gets for us. He did a great job in his transition being able to work through those relationships, and that was big.

Q. What do you think makes him stand out? I saw a few clips of how he manages to extricate himself from different situations. Is he good on his feet as well?

COACH KINGSBURY: That's what I would say is his biggest deal is being able to extend the play. He reminds me of the guy I coached at A&M just with that ability. He keeps his eyes down field? When everything is breaking down, he still can see down field and find receivers down field. I don't think he's tapped out at all. I still think the football side of it, he hasn't worked it as much just because he plays all the other sports. I think when we refine his mechanics and get him in our offense, I think the sky is the limit.

Q. (No microphone)?

COACH KINGSBURY: He was, so it worked out for him.

Q. Do you expect Mahomes to be your number two behind Davis or would you like to red shirt and get a year's gap between them?

COACH KINGSBURY: No, I think he's going to have to come in and play right away. He knows that, and he wants to do that. We'll see situationally if that's something we can do. We'd like to red shirt him if he's not ready to play. But if he's ready to play, we'll get him in and get going. We'll let him compete in fall camp and see how it shakes out.

Q. If Michael Starks wanted to come back, would that door be open or is that door closed?

COACH KINGSBURY: I'm not sure. Somebody told me there was tweeting about that. I think he needs to handle his business academically first, and we'll see where that's at from there. But I'd have to sit down with him and have that talk.

Q. Talk about the high school safeties coming in in Dixon, Hendrix and Johnson, what do you see out of each of those guys? Do you think we might see one of them this year?

COACH KINGSBURY: I think we'll see all of them. We brought a bunch of bodies in to play special teams and defense. So even if they're not starting on defense, I expect them to play a lot of special teams. Dixon is a kid, just a ball hawk. Caused, I think, ten fumbles his junior year or something like that, always around the football. Payton is a long safety. Big time guy that had a bunch of offers. He'll come downhill and hit you. Then Jah'Shawn Johnson is a little undersized for most people, but dominated the games he was in. Any of the coaches you ask around the DFW area rave about the type of player he is.

Q. What stands out about Cameron Batson? Obviously he's a valedictorian and Gatorade State Player of the Year. Any other unique qualities about him?

COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, just very elusive. You watch him on film. He plays corner, plays quarterback. Can play receiver, can do a little bit of everything. Kick returner, very elusive, very quick. Great basketball player, great athlete and mentally one of the more mature high school kids I've ever been around.

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