Former Red Raider Norense Odiase Dunks On Internet Doofus
Norense Odiase was written into Red Raider lore as a member of the Tubby Smith recruiting class that got Texas Tech basketball to the NCAA tournament three times with two trips to the Elite Eight, a Final Four victory, and a National Championship appearance.
I've written about Odiase a time or two both while he was a Red Raider and in his time since being at Texas Tech in various ways.
He was vocal about Chris Beard's transition to Texas and Mark Adams' emergence as the next head coach of Texas Tech. Odiase still has a thank you video to Texas Tech as the pinned tweet on his Twitter account, and tweets through basketball games and other Red Raiders sporting events like any other invested alum or fan.
It's readily apparent with a quick scroll that Odiase is still in tune with the happenings of Texas Tech and its athletics department. That's why I wasn't surprised at all to see him comment on a big event surrounding the football team and their recruitment of high-profile QB Quinn Ewers.
Let's back up a second.
Ewers was a decorated high school prospect in the 2022 class as the quarterback of South Lake Carroll in 2020. After an injury sidelined him for much of his junior season and the implementation of the NIL rules in college athletics, Ewers graduated early and was reclassified as a 2021 prospect. As the number one prospect in the country, he went to Ohio State midway through the summer, leaving his high school teammates in a bit of a lurch.
The decision to go to Ohio State wasn't an easy one either. Ewers was originally recruited by and committed to Tom Herman’s Texas Longhorns before he eventually chose the Buckeyes. Sarkisian did try to flip Ewers back when he was hired, but Ewers stood firm and went north, where he allegedly made $1.4 million in NIL endorsements.
Ewers did not start any games for the Buckeyes this season and made the decision to transfer back to the Great State of Texas. Of course, after growing up a Longhorns fan and being previously committed to the school, it was expected that it would be his number one choice.
Then, something odd happened.
Texas Tech made a legitimate run at signing Ewers. In the midst of an offensive coordinator search, new head coach Joey McGuire got Ewers to Lubbock for the first time with zero history with the Ewers' family. TCU and Texas A&M were then eliminated as potential destinations.
For two whole weeks, message boards and reports were alight with the idea of it being a two-horse race, with Texas Tech offering serious NIL endorsements and the like for Ewers to come to be a Red Raider. In the end, Texas won out, which didn't really surprise anyone.
That's where Aaron Torres comes in.
I honestly don't know who Torres is and didn't do much research on him. I wouldn't typically give him any screen time beyond a Twitter response. Norense Odiase basically made me write this article. But more on that in a minute.
Torres quote tweeted himself saying that Ewers was probably going to Texas (that's what literally everyone thought when the announcement he was transferring was made) and that it was "laughable" to believe a player like him would ever attend Texas Tech instead of the prestigious University of Texas.
He led with “this is no disrespect," which led him to be incredulous to the response his tweet generated from Texas Tech fans in his mentions calling him out for his ignorance.
My response to Mr. Torres was a simple one. Which NFL team has a marketing agreement with an NFL team that features an NFL MVP QB at the forefront? Is it the Texas Longhorns? No, it isn't. It's Texas Tech.
But it was Norense Odiase who really hit Torres from the top rope. Odiase was known as the enforcer on the Red Raiders team of his era, and he's still flexing those muscles when needed.
Odiase, like many Red Raiders, took offense to Torres thinking it was utterly ridiculous that Ewers or his camp would even consider Texas Tech, saying the school wasn't marketable.
Torres then doubled down with more BS: "I got Texas Tech fans so mad by saying that Quinn Ewers going to Texas over Tech was a no-brainer - that now former Tech basketball players are even chiming in. Ironic part is of course, the man that coached this guy to a Final Four at Texas Tech... left for Texas"
He obviously didn't know who he was messing with.
The overall point that Torres was trying to make about Ewers making the business decision wasn't wrong. Ewers can make more money at Texas with the Longhorns. Mostly because national brands, much like Torres, have this internal idea that you are more marketable at a "blueblood program," which is just as “laughable” as thinking Ewers might have chosen Texas Tech.
The Kansas City Chiefs proudly display the Double T at Arrowhead as part of a marketing agreement with Texas Tech. Jarrett Culver, Josh Jung and Patrick Mahomes were all top 10 picks in professional drafts in the last 5 years. Jakeem Grant ran a 97-yard punt return back for a touchdown last night for the Chicago Bears.
Texas Tech men’s basketball played for a National Championship. Texas Tech baseball has been to Omaha more than I've been to McDonald's in the last decade. Texas Tech track and field has won a National Championship and has Olympians representing the university this summer. Texas Tech plays football on national TV every week just like Notre Dame now. This isn't 1963 anymore.
This notion that "smaller" schools can't compete with larger schools in recruiting is archaic. North Carolina football has a top 10 recruiting class in 2022. Are they a national football brand?
South Carolina, Rutgers and Kentucky are all inside the Top 21 classes. Are they great football programs with history? No, they aren't. Sure, there's a gap between the recruiting that's happening in the top 5 classes where prospects like Ewers lives and the rest of the Top 20, but with Joey McGuire at the helm and his command of the Texas high school coaches’ attention, who's to say some elite prospects in Texas don't start choosing the Red Raiders?
This will take time to cultivate relationships, but what if McGuire had been at Texas Tech three years ago and had been recruiting Ewers for two years instead of two weeks? Would the story have played out differently?
The other end of the story is the idea that NIL will put some sort of chasm between schools like Texas Tech and the University of Texas. Like there wasn't already a giant gap in the pocketbooks of the universities? The good news is, contrary to an apparent popular belief, Texas Tech has successful alumni who can contribute to NIL happenings — baseball, football and basketball alum who've gone off to be successful to various degrees.
Lawyers, doctors, software company owners, and oil tycoons all graduated from Texas Tech University.
Unrelated to the NIL conversation, Governor Greg Abbott and Representative Dustin Burrows are currently working towards expanding Texas Tech's endowment. The current plan would more than double the current endowment.
With alums like Norense Odiase leading a public charge to change the narrative of Texas Tech from some small no-name university that just lays down after adversity, to the strong, rich historical university that it truly is, Texas Tech can finally become what it's been trying to be for so long.
And in two years when OU and Texas are finally out of the Big 12's hair, the Red Raiders can run the Big 12 from the front, instead of being shoehorned into the shadow of the Longhorns.