LUBBOCK, Texas – After bulking up Texas Tech’s offensive line at the start of the early signing period Wednesday, Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire received another key addition for his 2023 roster Thursday with the signing of transfer offensive lineman Rusty Staats.
One of the top centers in the country this past season, Staats joins the Red Raiders with one year of eligibility remaining as he will reunite with offensive line coach Stephen Hamby and offensive coordinator Zach Kittley, who both coached him previously with the Hilltoppers.
“Rusty is one of the top centers in the country who really understands this offense well,” McGuire said. “We really like the depth we’ve added in our offensive line in the last two days. We can’t wait to get Rusty on campus here in a few weeks.”
Staats closed his Western Kentucky tenure with a blowout victory over South Alabama in the New Orleans Bowl Wednesday night, capping a career where he made 27 starts up front and was a two-time All-Conference USA selection. He has been Western Kentucky’s starter each of the past two seasons at center.
Staats ranked tied for seventh among centers nationally in pass blocking efficiency this season, according to Pro Football Focus, as he surrendered only one sack and had just one quarterback hit, seven quarterback hurries and nine quarterback pressures over 651 opportunities. He leads the FBS in most pressure opportunities as he and Texas Tech senior Dennis Wilburn are the only two centers with at least 600 opportunities this season.
In addition to both Hamby and Kittley, Staats will reunite with fellow Red Raider offensive lineman Cole Spencer, who arrived at Texas Tech this past summer following a similar successful career at Western Kentucky. Spencer suffered a preseason injury that kept him off the field this season but will return to form a strong offensive line in 2023.
Staats joins a Texas Tech signing class that already ranks in the top 25 in college football. For a full list of Texas Tech’s signing day roster, please visit here.