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Originally published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 8:57 PM

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Texas Tech hires former prolific quarterback

New Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has wanted to be back in Lubbock since he left a decade ago. Late last week the former Red Raiders...

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LUBBOCK, Texas — New Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has wanted to be back in Lubbock since he left a decade ago.

Late last week the former Red Raiders quarterback was watching film to prepare for Texas A&M's game against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl and getting ready to accompany Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel to New York, where he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

On Saturday, the Texas Tech job came open when Tommy Tuberville left after three seasons to take the Cincinnati job.

The next day Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt talked to Kingsbury about the job twice.

On Wednesday, Kingsbury agreed to a four-year deal.

"It's just been a whirlwind but I couldn't be happier, beyond ecstatic, to be back. It feels like home," Kingsbury said after landing in Lubbock. "This is where I wanted to be."

Kingsbury was the Aggies' offensive coordinator this year as the team raced to a 10-2 record. If it was any other school, Kingsbury said, he would have stayed at A&M.

"He understands," Kingsbury said of Manziel. "He knows how I feel about him. He's as good a player as I've ever seen and probably the fiercest competitor I've ever been around, so it was definitely hard with that. But this is where I belong."

Kingbury was the first in a string of record-setting quarterbacks for the Red Raiders under former coach Mike Leach, now the coach at Washington State. Kingsbury passed for more than 12,000 yards at Tech.

He has never been a head coach, and at 33, he'll be one of the youngest in major-college football.

Hocutt called him the "right fit" for Texas Tech.

"He's prepared his whole life for this," Hocutt said. "He's ready and I had no hesitation."

Notes

• South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, recovering from a severe knee injury, said he was giving up his final season to enter the NFL draft even though he is unlikely to be able to play next season.

• Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who has led the Crimson Tide to its second straight national-title game, said he will return for his senior season.

• Arkansas running back Knile Davis will skip his senior year.

• Tennessee Tech wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers also will bypass his senior season.

• Mississippi State running back Nick Griffin will miss the Gator Bowl after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

• Arkansas State hired former Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin as its new coach.

• Former Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will bring his high-flying aerial attack to Arkansas, hired to the same position by new coach Bret Bielema.

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