27 Nov 2020

Home of the NFL Offseason

T.J. Vasher catches the eye, K.J. Costello catches a record

BIRMINGHAM, AL - DECEMBER 23: T.J. Vasher #9 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders makes a touchdown reception to give his team the lead against the South Florida Bulls in the second half of the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field on December 23, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. South Florida won 38-34. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Another exciting week of college football is in the books, and another new prospect has caught my eyes. That is Texas Tech wide receiver T.J. Vasher.

The 5th-year senior posted 4 receptions for 74 yards and 2 touchdowns. Vasher hasn’t been terribly productive for how high-powered the Texas Tech and Big-12 offenses are in general, but it is his physical traits and ability to make circus catches which meets the eye. We saw that on Saturday when the Red-Raiders squared off against the Texas Longhorns.

He made that beautiful toe-tap catch in the 4th quarter which put Tech up by eight. Texas did make the comeback and won but it was a big catch regardless.

Earlier in the game Vasher had a 29 yard catch and run for a touchdown, where despite his 6’6 210-pound frame, he showed that he can be elusive and make some things happen after the catch.

While Vasher is able to make amazing highlight worthy catches, he has suffered from having inconsistent hands. His route running is also not the sharpest, so whether or not he will be able to get separation at the next level is a question mark.

Still, Vasher is a huge target who will definitely be looked at as a potential red-zone threat who can use his length and physicality to get it over defenders even when tightly covered.

Moving on, I wanted to mention how much K.J. Costello has surprised me. Being in Northern California, I’ve seen almost all of Costello’s games at Stanford and did not really get the hype with him transferring over to Mississippi State, even if it is to play with Mike Leach who can seemingly get any quarterback to put up huge numbers.

In one game for Mississippi State, against LSU no less, Costello broke an SEC record, throwing for 623 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on a 60% completion percentage. 623 yards is more than half of what he threw in his shortened 5 game season for Stanford last year.

A lot of that has to do with the offensive systems of course. Stanford is a straight up power-run offense who prefers to play the ball control game and mostly target tight ends in the passing game. Mike Leach’s air-raid system keeps it mostly short like Stanford in the passing game, but is a high-paced quick-strike offense, which is the complete opposite of David Shaw’s philosophy.

Costello’s arm actually looked stronger than it has in previous seasons. He put some touch on his throws and overall looked more loose and live out there. He did have some questionable decision making, especially when facing pressure which has always been a problem for Costello, a problem that is amplified due to his slower release.

At this point that is probably his worst trait. Costello has a rather slow, rounded release, typically what people would describe as a pitchers release.

You see that long release in the above play, as well as the fact that his footwork dropping back into the pocket and setting could use some work. But you also see the touch and accuracy he possesses.

Costello was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school but could never really live up to the hype at Stanford. It seems Mike Leach may bring out Costello’s true potential and turn him into an early round prospect if he continues to perform as he did in the upset win over LSU.

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