The Texas Tech football program has picked up a verbal commitment from one of their top defensive targets, defensive end Philip Blidi.
Though Matt Wells and his staff are in the middle of their first fall camp with the Red Raiders, they have taken a significant step towards securing the long-term future of the program as well this week. Friday, Portales, New Mexico defensive end Philip Blidi became the 15th member of the Texas Tech football program’s 2020 recruiting class.
Rated by 247Sports’ composite rankings as a 3-star prospect and the No. 1 recruit in the Land of Enchantment, he was one of the top defensive targets for the Red Raiders in this recruiting cycle. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder is rated the No. 36 strongside defensive end in his class and is the third-highest rated player currently committed to the Red Raiders.
Blidi was believed to be a strong Texas Tech lean following his attendance at one of Texas Tech’s high school camps in mid-June. And given that Tech is the only Power 5 program to have offered him a scholarship thus far, his commitment came as no surprise. In addition, his offer list includes just New Mexico, Illinois State, New Mexico State, Tulsa, UTEP, and SMU.
But don’t let his meager offer list be a concern. Were he a prospect from a major recruiting area like Dallas or Houston, he would be a much more highly-coveted recruit.
“One of the hard things, being an athlete from New Mexico,” Blidi admitted in the video he posted to Twitter to announce his comittment, “is not a lot of athletes get recruited in this area.
“When I started going to those Texas showcases, I really had to prove myself. Before, they didn’t know who I was. That pushed me harder to become the athlete I am now. At the end of the day, I’m just that kid from New Mexico, but they’re going to know my name when it’s all said and done.”
Over the past two seasons, Blidi has recorded 160 tackles and 15 sacks combined, including 11 in 2018. For his efforts, he was named a first-team all-state honoree as a junior.
This makes three defensive ends in the current Red Raider recruiting class. Just last week, Tech landed L.B. Moore, a 3-star end from Amarillo and in June, they added Clinton Anokwuru from Houston.
With this development, Tech has moved up to No. 7 in the Big 12 and No. 44 in the nation in the 247Sports 2020 recruiting class rankings. Meanwhile, Rivals puts Tech’s class at No. 6 in the conference and No. 45 overall.
In an interview with Ryan Wright of RecruitingNewsGuru.com, Blidi says that he currently bench presses 315 pounds, power cleans 285 and squats 475. And that power makes him an ideal fit in the Red Raiders new 3-3-5 defensive scheme because, in a 3-man line, the defensive ends have to play further inside where they must be strong enough to stand up to the run against what is often double-team blocks from the guard and tackle.
“I can play 3-technique or a 4-I”, Blidi told Wright. “I am versatile because of my body type. I am big but I am getting bigger. I have a cut body, not a lot of fat, and I can move. I can blow things up and do the speed stuff as well.”
Two weeks ago, we discussed five local recruits that the Red Raiders needed to prioritize. Since then, Wells has reeled in three players on that list in Blidi, Moore and Wellington, tight end John Holcomb. What’s more, another player on that list, 2021 QB prospect Behren Morton, was on campus for a visit last week. With players close to home now jumping on board, Wells is putting together a solid class in his first full recruiting cycle as Texas Tech head coach.