New Texas Tech football player Blake Dees has a few connections to Tech, so it shouldn’t surprise too many people that he enrolled early to get a head start on the collegiate level.
Dees, a 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker, played high school football in Spanish Fort, Ala., where he helped lead the team to a state championship played in a setting familiar to Tech coach Tommy Tuberville: Jordan-Hare Stadium, home of the Auburn Tigers.
“He’s a great coach,” Dees said of Tuberville. “You know, I watched him at Auburn when I was a kid, and, coming to be a part of (his program), I know how he’s a good coach and what he’s going to do and what he’s capable of.”
Coincidentally enough, Dees grew up a fan of the Miami Dolphins and their all-pro linebacker, Zach Thomas.
Thomas was a two-time All-American at the linebacker position for the Red Raiders in the mid ‘90s, but Dees didn’t know Thomas went to Tech until he visited Lubbock and the coaches showed Dees Tech’s prolific middle linebacker.
Dees, who played outside linebacker in high school, said he probably will play inside linebacker for the Red Raiders. But will he be the next Zach Thomas?
“I hope so,” Dees said with a laugh.
The Alabama native was one of four early enrollees announced Wednesday afternoon. Wide receiver Marcus Kennard, athlete Ronnie Daniels and quarterback Michael Brewer all enrolled in classes early to get a jumpstart on their college careers.
Daniels, who played running back at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, N.M., said he expects to stay in the backfield for the Red Raiders.
“I’ve talked to a lot of the coaches, they like what I can do at that position to help them out,” Daniels said. “I want to play wherever I can to help them win a championship.”
One of the reasons both Dees and Daniels enrolled early was to eliminate some of the transitions required for new fall football players when it comes to juggling class and athletics.
“It’s a little hectic just the first couple of days of school,” Daniels said. “But I’m glad I’m doing that now and not rushing in next year in the beginning of the season.”
Kennard is a junior-college transfer from Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., where he led the Grizzlies with 893 yards receiving this season. Kennard also averaged 19.8 yards per catch along the way.
Brewer is expected to come in and compete for the starting quarterback job with a slew of Red Raider gunslingers. A Texas native, Brewer led Lake Travis to two consecutive state championships, racking up 2,865 yards passing and 743 yards rushing this season.
Kennard and Brewer were unavailable for comment.