Recruiting in the class of 2014 is taking off around the country, despite prospects still waiting for their junior seasons to start. The latest commitment in the state of Texas is that of Princeton (TX) wide receiver Jakari Dillard, who announced his commitment to the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Thursday via Twitter.
A 6-4, 195-pounder who is the son of former Oklahoma Sooner defensive tackle Stacey Dillard (who is now the head coach at Princeton High School), Jakari was a star on the summer circuit, dominating at times in the Fox Sports Southwest 7-on-7 State Championship back in July as well as showing out at other events.
At the time, Dillard said that of his three offers (Mississippi State and Syracuse being the others), the Red Raiders were standing out to him, citing a trip to Lubbock during the summer that he enjoyed as a major factor, as well as the coaches and the facilities. Of course, any offensive commit for the Red Raiders will probably as cite the offense as a significant consideration, and Dillard was no different.
All this despite the fact that Dillard predictably grew up an Oklahomer Sooners fan due to his father's playing days in Norman. But head coach Bob Stoops never pulled the trigger on an offer for Dillard, despite seeing him up close and personal at a satellite camp this summer. The Princeton (TX) wideout had said at the time that he would not commit to Oklahoma on the spot if offered, so Dillard wasn't planning on making it an easy recruitment for the Sooners anyway.
Another advantage for the Red Raiders that probably helped secure Dillard's commitment? His father told SB Nation Recruiting during the state championship that his son preferred a small-town feel for a campus. At the time, the elder Dillard mentioned Lubbock and Starkville among the places that fit that criteria for his son. And it all makes sense the talented receiver feels that way. After all, his home town of Princeton boasts barely over 7,000 souls.
Here's the evaluation on Dillard from the state championship in College Station:
The day of viewing began with one of the top individual performers these eyes saw, as the 6'4, 185-pounder didn't waste any time making an impact, streaking down the field on a post route and hauling in the pass for a touchdown on the first offensive play of the game for Princeton. He followed it up with another touchdown catch on the following possession, leaping over two defenders to snag the football at its highest point -- an indefensible play at this level, or any other, frankly.
Dillard didn't stop producing either, using his big frame to later secure another catch in the endzone. He consistently caught the football away from his body when it was within his frame, showing strong and natural pass-catching ability, and then used his aerial skills to consistently beat defensive backs even when he couldn't create separation.
Strong both in his first several steps and with his top-end speed (which he said translates to a 4.5 40 time), Dillard sold his double moves well and was particularly effective with a stop and go route that he would hold for just long enough out of his break to get defenders biting. Currently sitting at three offers, that number will increase quickly and significantly this fall.
Unless opposing schools feel like they can sway Dillard's mind, that offer tally won't increase as quickly as expected, but there's no question that the Red Raiders landed a prospect who could become a big-time threat in the high-powered Tech offense.
Hudl has film of Dillard available.
For more on Red Raiders football, visit Texas Tech blog Double-T Nation.