Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire added another significant player to his 2023 roster on Thursday when he signed transfer offensive lineman Rusty Staats. This comes after Texas Tech bolstered its offensive line at the beginning of the early signing period on Wednesday.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders signed a top 25 recruiting class for the second time in program history after finishing Early National Signing Day on Wednesday at No. 23 as per the SI99 rankings.
Raiders Head Coach Joey McGuire and his staff added depth to several offensive positions, including wide receiver, running back, and the offensive line.
The offensive line improved even more on Thursday, with the signing of Western Kentucky offensive line transfer Rusty Staats. While with the Hilltoppers last season, Staats was one of the best centers in the country.
Staats, who was among the best centers in the nation this past season, joins the Red Raiders with one year of eligibility left and will reunite with offensive line coach Stephen Hamby and offensive coordinator Zach Kittley, both of whom he previously worked with the Hilltoppers.
Staats finished his time at Western Kentucky with a rout of South Alabama in the New Orleans Bowl on Wednesday, finishing a career in which he started 27 games up front and was twice named to the All-Conference USA team. In each of the previous two seasons, he started at center for Western Kentucky.
“Rusty is one of the top centers in the country who really understands this offense well,” head coach McGuire said. “We really like the depth we’ve added in our offensive line in the last two days. We can’t wait to get Rusty on campus here in a few weeks.”
Rusty Staats finished his stint with the Hilltoppers by defeating the South Alabama Jaguars 44–23 in the New Orleans Bowl on Wednesday, giving him one more year of eligibility. Staats started 27 games as the starting quarterback for WKU the previous two seasons, earning two All-Conference USA selections.
According to Pro Football Focus, Staats ranked eighth nationally among centers in pass-blocking effectiveness, an area where the Red Raiders had trouble last year. Over 651 opportunities, the 6-4, 310-pounder gave up just one sack, one quarterback hit, seven quarterback hurries, and nine quarterback pressures.
Along with Hamby and Kittley, Rusty Staats will also re-team with offensive lineman Cole Spencer from Texas Tech, who joined this past summer after a similarly fruitful stint at Western Kentucky. Spencer missed this season due to a preseason injury, but he will be back in 2023 to help build a potent offensive line.
Staats joins a Texas Tech signing class that already ranks in the top 25 in college football.