Monday, January 25, 2010

Recruiting Class Reunion: 2002

The TCU recruiting class of 2002 was the first full class of the Patterson era (2001 was a mix of Franchione & Patterson recruits), and produced quite a few players that played a big part in making TCU football what it was in the '00s.

The headliners: 6'3", 270lb, 4-star defensive tackle Earl Anderson out of San Marcos had offers from just about everyone, including the school he was originally committed to- Texas. Robert Merrill was a 4-star running back coming out of Taft High School in San Antonio, and picked the Frogs over Oklahoma State, Nebraska, A&M and Colorado.

NFL Material: Cory Rodgers, a high school QB recruited as an athlete and offensive lineman Herbert Taylor, his high school teammate (bet you didn't remember that, did you?), both became NFL draft picks. Rodgers, who left a year early, was picked in the 4th round by Green Bay in 2006, and Taylor was selected by Denver in the 6th round of the 2007 Draft. Jared Retfosky, who was recruited as an athlete out of Justin Northwest before playing defensive tackle and deep snapper for the Frogs, won a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers last year as a snapper.

Hits: Jeff Ballard, originally a 2-star recruit coming out of Friendswood, memorably came off the bench to lead a comeback win at BYU in '05 and became the most accurate passer in school history. Taylor and Rodgers both earned 1st Team All-Conference honors. Lonta Hobbs became a four-year starter and is 2nd All-Time behind LT on the school rushing touchdown chart, and his backfield mate Merrill was very productive when healthy. Six other players were four-year letter winners: Chad Andrus, Maurice Bouldwin, Eric Buchanan, Michael DePriest, Elvis Gallegos and Quentily Harmon.

Misses: Earl Anderson never made it to campus, and was one of two members of the Class of '02 that never played a snap for the Frogs. Hard to call this guy a miss...but Matt Hines, a linebacker out of Irving, had his scholarship honored by TCU even after he fractured a vertebrae in his neck during his senior season. Fullback Reggie La'Mothe and defensive tackle Terence James both left the program following the troubled 2004 season after negligible contributions.

Come back to Spitblood in the days leading up to National Signing Day, as we'll continue to look back on TCU Recruiting Classes of yesteryear.

Ranking the "Paper Tigers"

Every year on National Signing Day (which, by the way, is February 3rd this year), Coach Patterson likes to downplay any sort of hyperbole about the newest Horned Frogs by referring to them as "Paper Tigers". Over the next few days, I'll be going class by class to see how those tigers developed as football players at TCU. But right now, here are how the recruiting classes (since 2002) have ranked on paper...at least according to Rivals:

1. Class of 2009: 21 players.
-4 star players: 4
-3 star players: 12
-2 star players: 4
-Total stars: 60
-Stars per player: 3.00*

2. Class of 2006: 18 players.
-4 star players: 0
-3 star players: 10
-2 star players: 8
-Total stars: 46
-Stars per player: 2.55

3. Class of 2007: 24 players.
-4 star players: 1
-3 star players: 11
-2 star players: 12
-Total stars: 61
-Stars per player: 2.54

4. Class of 2008: 18 players.
-4 star players: 0
-3 star players: 8
-2 star players: 10
-Total stars: 44
-Stars per player: 2.44

5. Class of 2002: 17 players.
-4 star players: 2
-3 star players: 3
-2 star players: 12
-Total Stars: 41
-Stars per player: 2.41

T6. Class of 2003: 21 players.
-4 star players: 1
-3 star players: 6
-2 star players: 14
-Total stars: 50
-Stars per player: 2.38

T6. Class of 2004: 21 players.
-4 star players: 1
-3 star players: 6
-2 star players: 14
-Total stars: 50
-Stars per player: 2.38

T6. Class of 2005: 21 players.
-4 star players: 1
-3 star players: 6
-2 star players: 14
-Total stars: 50
-Stars per player: 2.38

*- one player was unranked by Rivals.

I didn't include this year's class because, well, they haven't signed with TCU yet. But, after today's flurry of recruiting activity which included the commitments of Allen QB Matt Brown (who switched from Arizona), Channelview WR Chris Hawkins (who switched from Minnesota) and Texarkana Pleasant Grove ATH Antonio Graves, the Class of 2010 looks like it may be the highest-rated of in the Patterson era. As of right now, there are 18 players committed, with a stars-per-player average of 3.17!

Frogs back at .500

I ventured down to DMC for the B-ball game Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, the Frogs came up just short and fell victim to UNLV to put their season record at 10-10. I'll say this...our team never quits. They play hard on every possession on both ends of the court. That's what helped them come back from a 9-point deficit twice...the second time they were able to close the Rebels' lead to two with under a minute to play. However...this team appears to have two fatal flaws: no size and no offensive playmakers. Sure, they have a few guys that can knock down some shots, but no one capable of really putting the team on their backs and producing buckets when no one else can. A few other observations from the game:

-Pretty poor showing from the student section. I realize TCU isn't Duke, but you don't have to be good to get at least a few hundred students to make up a decently rowdy student section. You're not going to be in college forever (I thought I would be, too...), so get rowdy for whatever team you have.

-While the Frogs have no size, they do have two players doing a good job of pretending to be big: 6'5" sophomore Kevin Butler and 6'9" freshman Nikola Cerina both have hearts that belong in bigger bodies. They did a good job going up against UNLV's much bigger posts.

-Jerry Hughes got a real good ovation when he received the Lott Trophy at halftime. I'm definitely going to miss the "Huuuuuuuughes" cheer at home games next fall.

-Things don't get much easier for the Frogs this week, with a road game at Colorado State on Wednesday and then a home game against New Mexico Saturday.

Looking around the conference, the newest bracketology from ESPN has BYU as a 3-seed, New Mexico as a 7 and UNLV as a 10.

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