Late addition is Tech's best 2011 recruit

Delvon Simmons signed a letter of intent with North Carolina back in February, but had a change of heart.

That's resulted in the newest Red Raider being the top recruit in Tommy Tuberville's first full class, already the school's best ever.

Simmons, a 6-foot-5, 298-pound defensive tackle, signed a financial aid agreement with Texas Tech and will join the team in the fall. ESPN ranks Simmons as the nation's No. 25 tackle, but other recruiting services have him much higher.

Texas Tech says Simmons is the program's highest-rated recruit ever.

"Delvon has the ability to be a difference maker in our program," Tuberville said in a release. "He is an explosive and disruptive player and an outstanding athlete. We are thrilled to have him."

The Red Raiders went head-to-head with USC for Simmons' services after North Carolina released him from his letter of intent, and winning that battle is the next in an impressive run for Tuberville.

Mike Leach had his strengths. Texas Tech saw great things because of his time in Lubbock.

But recruits like Simmons are exactly the type of guy he had almost no chance of ever getting on campus. Tuberville's impressive work on defense in the past gives him that opportunity, and he's taken advantage.

Defensive end Cooper Washington was committed to Oklahoma for months leading up to signing day. When it came time to sign, though, he faxed Tuberville, not Bob Stoops, his signature. I'm no recruiting historian, but I'd venture a guess that Texas Tech's rarely, if ever, beaten out USC and Oklahoma for top-flight defensive recruits.

If Tuberville keeps doing that, and the offense can continue to be at least close to what it was under Leach, it won't be long before Texas Tech is an annual contender for the Big 12 title.