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August 9, 2012
Texas Tech football landed commit No. 1 of the 2014 class Thursday when Jakari Dillard picked the Red Raiders in favor of a second scholarship offer from Mississippi State and strong interest from a wide array of Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 schools.
It had been a long time coming for the Princeton (Texas) wideout. Dillard seemed very close to making the decision way back on July 8 when we caught up with him at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge in DeSoto, Texas.
"It is the coaches," Dillard said. "I like the coaches and the campus is nice. I liked the football facilities. I told Coach Sonny Cumbie and he was excited about it. He said it made his day."
Dillard said Cumbie is his primary recruiter. But outside receivers coach Tommy Mainord will most likely get Dillard on the practice field in 2014 as an outside receiver.
The Princeton receiver will most likely remind Tech fans of Derek Edwards or former Red Raider Lyle Leong, only taller. Dillard is listed at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds and is a big threat over the top of defenses.
On top of size and speed, Dillard comes from a good pedigree. His dad is Stacey Dillard who starred at Oklahoma as a defensive end before a three-year career with the New York Giants.
Dillard is a coach's kid on top of that as Stacey Dillard is the head coach at Princeton High School.
"I just want to become a playmaker," Dillard said. "I think I will become successful at Tech because of the way they run their offense and how they use their receivers. It's a good fit for me. The commitment has nothing to do with getting it over before football season starts. I was ready to commit and have been thinking about it for a while."
Dillard said Tech jumped out ahead of the other schools talking to him very early on in the process.
[ More RRS: Thoughts on Dillard's commitment after watching him in Dallas ]
"It didn't take that long," he said. "I really like the coaches. I liked it down there when I went to visit. I joke around with Coach Cumbie a lot. We can talk about stuff and not just football stuff. Anything really. I feel like he's straight up with me."
While Dillard does have some work to do physically, he has a long time to do it as he will only be a junior this year.
At a true 6-foot-4 and still growing, 185 pounds isn't adequate for the college game at his height. He should be able to gain weight naturally and in the weight room the next two years.
Other than that, Dillard has the strong hands, speed and agility to be a standout college receiver. And you just can't coach height or reach.
"I've got a long way to go," he said. "Two more seasons here."