Texas Tech failed to sign state top-100 prospect Robert Wooten the first time around. But the increasingly transient nature of college football players leads to second chances in recruiting.
It didn’t take long in Wooten’s case.
The defensive end from the Houston suburb of Stafford announced Monday he is transferring to Texas Tech after one year at Virginia Tech, where he played in 11 games last season as a true freshman.
Virginia Tech listed Wooten at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds. Coming out of Stafford, he was ranked the No. 51 prospect in Texas by the Rivals recruiting service and No. 94 by 247Sports. Two dozen programs offered him a scholarship, including 11 from power-five conferences.
Before he signed with Virginia Tech, Wooten took official visits to SMU, Missouri, Arizona and Texas Tech and was committed to Arizona and to Missouri for stretches. The other power-five schools that offered him a scholarship were Arizona State, Arkansas, Kansas, Syracuse, Utah, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.
Wooten got into every game last season for Virginia Tech, which finished 5-6, and was credited with three tackles. He’ll come to Lubbock still with true-freshman status with the NCAA not charging any player eligibility for the pandemic-disrupted 2020 season.
It appears, however, that Wooten would need a waiver to be able to play for the Red Raiders this season.
The NCAA passed legislation in April granting athletes in all sports the freedom to transfer one time without having to sit out a year. Athletes wanting to exercise that option and play this coming season at a new school faced a July 1 deadline to provide written notification to their previous schools.
News of Wooten’s entering the NCAA transfer portal didn’t surface until July 12, however.
As a junior at Stafford in 2018, Wooten was credited with 66 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks, according to Maxpreps. He also had three fumble recoveries.
As a senior in 2019, he was credited with 73 tackles, including seven tackles for loss and six sacks in 10 regular-season games. The team finished 5-6. He was named defensive most valuable player of District 12-4A Division I.