SAN ANGELO, TX -- New Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells’ recruiting approach is simple: build a foundation around West Texas. He confirmed that to the media at the Angelo Football Clinic on Wednesday.
So it should be no surprise one of his captains is from San Angelo -- Eli Howard -- and expectations are high for the incoming freshman from San Angelo -- Maverick McIvor.
“Recruiting Texas for us starts in Lubbock and West Texas,” Wells said before speaking at the 2019 Angelo Football Clinic. “We signed three this year from West Texas. A young man from Odessa Permian (Landon Peterson) and Wellington (Trevor Roberson) to go along with Maverick McIvor. There’s a ton of talent, really good high school coaches (in West Texas). We will always recruit West Texas, first and foremost, and then branch out.”
Howard was named one of 16 captains for the Red Raiders on April 30 in a vote by his teammates. The 2015 graduate of Central High School embodies everything Wells wants from his players, he said.
“Eli Howard, to me, epitomizes Texas Tech football,” Wells said. “He’s tough, blue collar, mentally tough, physically tough, very accountable, disciplined young man. (He’s) smart, a football junkie. He runs to the football, great student. I mean everything you want with one of your guys to represent, he’s A-plus.”
Wells said one of the first things he and his staff did was to circle the dates of the Angelo Football Clinic. They planned on attending before Wells and co. were asked to speak. Wells labeled the opportunity “humbling.”
“I think coming the Angelo Clinic serves several purposes,” Wells said. “First of all, it’s a staple to me in the calendar. It’s a staple for high school and should be for college coaches. It certainly is for us at Texas Tech, to be here, to share ideas, to deepen relationships, to start new relationships.
“Anytime you speak in front of your peers -- and I consider all coaches peers, guys in the same profession as you -- it’s a privilege, it’s an honor and you want to share and try to help. So, I’m gonna sit back and try to gain some knowledge or be confirmed. I think the power of confirmation is strong and I respect that.”
The recruiting trail has also been easier for Wells, who came to Texas Tech from Utah State. It’s the first time in Wells’ career that he’s been able to recruit in Texas with an in-state logo.
“I’ve recruited Texas for three-quarters of my career, our whole staff has. I have six guys on our staff who were high school coaches,” Wells said. “The biggest thing for me is, I’ve never recruited Texas with an in-state logo. And I have the red double T on everytime I walk into a school. To me, it’s a powerful thing and it’s something I take pride in.”
Wells mentioned a story from an old coach he had talked to when he first arrived at the Junell Center that embodied West Texas football. The coach claimed he was the first to put all of his plays on a wristband for his players.
“He told me they had all their plays and he wanted to tape to one of their wristbands,” Wells recalled. “He took it to their home ec teacher and she helped them get it typed up and laminated. It’s a pretty cool deal. Started right here in West Texas.”
The Angelo Football Clinic will continue tomorrow on the campus of Angelo State University.