Monday, the first of what will likely be many non-high school additions to the Texas Tech football roster ahead of 2024 was made when JUCO tight end Alex Lines verbally committed to the Red Raiders. He broke the news on social media.
A 6-foot-5, 255-pound native of Arizona, Lines played at Garden City Community College this fall. There he amassed 31 catches for 309 yards and a pair of TDs.
However, Lines has some experience at the FBS level of the sport. In fact, he has played for both UNLV and Arizona.
Starting out in Las Vegas, he appeared in six games as a freshman in 2020 but he did not register any receptions. Then, for the Wildcats in 2021 and 2022, he hauled in 11 passes for 146 yards combined over the two seasons.
With numbers like that, and given his size, one can imagine that Line is going to fill the shoes of graduating Texas Tech TE Henry Teeter. A super-senior in 2023, Teeter has been primarily used as a blocking tight end when he’s been available.
For the season, he’s yet to catch a ball, and in three years with Tech, he’s made only eight receptions for 75 yards and one TD. However, his work in the running game has been important.
This fall, Teeter appeared in all 12 games helping pave the way for Tahj Brooks to run for 1,443 yards and nine TDs. What’s more, the Red Raiders have frequently asked their tight ends to be part of the pass-protection mix given the struggles of the offensive line, and Teeter has done his share of that work. He’s also been a part of Tech’s special teams units.
Expect Lines to be the one to do the dirty work next year that Teeter has done for the past three. However, don’t be shocked if Joey McGuire adds a playmaking tight end from the transfer portal.
In fact, it is being reported by several online outlets that Arizona State transfer Jalin Conyers, a native of Gruver, Texas (north of Amarillo) will visit Texas Tech this weekend. As we discussed last week, he would be a perfect addition to the Red Raider passing game.
This season, the Texas Tech tight ends did not live up to expectations (at least as receivers). Partially because they were asked to be extra pass blockers so often and partially because the passing game was limited due to the injuries to Tyler Shough and Behren Morton, Tech’s primary pass-catching TEs Mason Tharp and Baylor Cupp combined for just 26 catches for 270 yards and five touchdowns.
Tharp, who is expected to return next season, was limited to just seven games due to injuries while Cupp (who could return but who also has the option to transfer without penalty if he so desires given that he would be a graduate transfer) saw action in 11 of the 12 games in the regular season.
Tech also has junior Jayden York on the roster and will sign 3-star TE Trey Jackson from Dallas. However, the coaching staff needed to add a ready-to-play battering ram and that’s likely what Lines is being brought in to do.
This is just the first domino to fall, though, as Tech aggressively pursues roster improvements via any means possible. Keep checking in with Wreck’Em Red in the upcoming days and weeks for the latest as McGuire and Co. try to restock their cupboard.