According to media reports out of his hometown of Rockford, Illinois, University of Arkansas defensive end Julius Coates is joining the Texas Tech football program for the 2021 football season. If true, this is a massive addition, both figuratively and literally.
The 6-foot-6 290-pound defensive end is certainly an imposing physical presence. But more importantly, he is coming off of a year in which he was an impact player in the SEC.
In just 7 games last fall, Coates accumulated 18 total tackles including three for loss. He was also credited with two sacks for the Razorbacks.
“I just felt like it was time for me to be at a new spot, a new opportunity,” Coates told Scott Leber of MyStateLine.com. “Just a new environment for somewhere where I can go and start to grow and play. A better fit for me.”
“I’ve got a great relationship with the D-line coach at Texas Tech coach (Paul) Randolph. We really hit it off.”
Coates may still be evolving as a defensive end considering that he was a high school wide receiver who grew into a defensive end at his first stop, East Mississippi Community College. Now, he’s ready to bring his NFL frame to Lubbock in hopes that he can develop into a player who gets the opportunity to play on Sundays.
“A year from now I hope to be in the NFL. Go through the draft process and find a team I can be successful at.”
This addition is reminiscent of another SEC defensive end that Tech added to the roster prior to last season in Texas A&M transfer Tyree Wilson. The 6-foot-6, 280-pounder joined the Texas Tech football program last August after fall camp had already begun and went on to amass 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks in nine games played.
Much is expected of Wilson this year after an impressive offseason has seen him reshape his body and become a player that many believe has an NFL future himself. Now, he and Coates could form a dynamic pass-rushing duo at Tech where they should play the same position and give the Red Raiders some legitimate size and athleticism at DE on virtually every snap.
Getting to the QB has to be something that Tech does better in 2021. After all, Matt Wells’ team managed to record just 17 sacks in 10 games a season ago. Only one team in the Big 12, Kansas, had fewer.
There has been no official word from Texas Tech about Coates meaning he has yet to sign any paperwork with the university. But if he is giving official interviews to his hometown news outlets about becoming a Red Raider, it is safe to assume that he’s soon to be in Lubbock.
Head coach Matt Wells has continually mined the transfer portal since his arrival and now he’s apparently added another piece via the newest talent acquisition method in the NCAA. Only time will tell though how well that strategy pays off but when you find a player with Coates’ potential, it is worth taking a chance.