Friday, January 29, 2010

Recruiting Class Reunion: 2006

Coming off of the MWC Title season of 2005, Patterson signed some real gems in the Class of 2006 that would lead to the Frogs' next conference title in 2009, despite the lack of a "wow" factor in the class. Unlike any of his previous classes, this one had no 4-star players.

The headliners: Wide receiver Clint Renfro, with his famous last name and state championship rings from Southlake Carroll, picked TCU over a myriad of big-name schools seeking his services. Wayne Daniels was a premiere pass-rusher coming out of Kilgore.

NFL Material: Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington should both be first-day picks in this spring's NFL Draft, and Marshall Newhouse could also be selected. Offensive linemen Marcus Cannon and Jake Kirkpatrick, quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver Jimmy Young are the best bets to be draft picks in 2011.

Hits: Clearly, TCU hit at least two absolute home runs in the Houston area with Dalton, who was a 3-star quarterback from powerhouse Katy, and Hughes, who was a 2-star running back before famously making the switch to defense and earning All-America honors twice. Washington, a product of Irving High, became one of the best of the best TCU linebackers after patiently waiting his turn for a starting spot. Newhouse was an important piece of the offensive line from the day he stepped on campus, and Cannon became his mirror image on the right side after redshirting. Young has been a favorite target of Dalton's all along, nearly eclipsing 1,000 receiving yards as a sophomore. Kirkpatrick, who played just one year of high school football in Tyler, is now one of the better centers in the nation. JUCO transfer cornerback Torrey Stewart was a key contributor in his two years in campus, and will be remembered for his pick-six against the Longhorns in '07. Daniels, along with tight end Evan Frosch, corner-turned-safety Alex Ibiloye, safety Colin Jones, offensive lineman Josh Vernon and defensive tackle Cory Grant have all developed into starters.

Jury is still out: Two defensive linemen: Henry Niutei out of Euless Trinity and Clarence Leatch out of Tatum, have yet to really make a big contribution heading into their senior year.

Misses: Three members of the Class of '06 left the program before they ever played a snap, with Renfro being the most notable. He had nagging injuries that kept him off the football field, but he has had a decent career running track at TCU. JUCO transfer offensive lineman Ryan Sefton never made it to campus, and Rockwall quarterback Zak Eskridge transferred to Midwestern State once he realized he'd be backing up Dalton his entire career.

Bonus: As they did the year before with Ryan Christian, the Frogs again hit a home run in the walk-on department at wide receiver with Bart Johnson and Curtis Clay joining the program sans scholarship. Both have become reliable targets for Dalton (and, in the case of Bart Johnson in the '09 BYU game, Jeremy Kerley).

Afternoon Dump?

Spitpurple, Where are you? Here are a couple articles from ESPN today. Also an update on how D-Wash did yesterday. Seems like he stepped up again and Scouts Inc. says he had a good day, despite his bad performance on Wed. Sorry for the bad format.

From Bruce Feldman on

TCU's plan, the Dawkins deal and Whipple

From Melissa in Ft. Worth: I loved reading the story about how Matt Brown became a Horned Frog. I get why Brown felt like he had to commit to a school last year, but do you think it looks bad for TCU that they weren't more aggressive in recruiting and going after people earlier when it seems like everyone else is these days?

This is a complex topic. Schools are jumping in the boat on recruits earlier and earlier. In Brown's case, he felt he had to react to the domino effect. TCU is different from a lot of programs in its approach to recruiting. I spoke to coach Gary Patterson about this last spring for a while. TCU likes to wait and observe how a prospect develops and see what a kid does as a senior if possible. He said they're not going to panic and rush into things, saying that it's often the ones who you rushed to get who get you beat, and that you don't lose games on the guys you didn't move fast enough on to land. I thought that was a fascinating perspective, and obviously it has paid big dividends if you see how so many under-the-radar recruits have grown into stars for the Horned Frogs and won a lot of games at TCU.

So no, I don't think it looks bad at all for TCU. They're being true to their beliefs and while they may lose on some kids, it seems to prevent them from making as many mistakes as other schools.

From Graham Watson on

Horned Frogs making a late recruiting push

It’s usually around this time of year where the automatic qualifying schools start picking off the upper echelon of recruits from the nonautomatic qualifying schools. The AQs scour non-AQ recruiting commitments for the best players that fit their system and then lure them away with promises of better competition, facilities and of course, name recognition. But TCU is taking a more proactive approach. Instead of losing recruits to the big boys, they’re taking them. This week, two players who were committed to AQ programs switched their commitments to be Horned Frogs. Chris Hawkins, who is ranked the No. 49 receiver in the country by ESPN’s Scouts, Inc., decommitted from Minnesota, and Matt Brown, who is the No. 44 quarterback ranked by Scouts, Inc., decommitted from Arizona. Overall, the Horned Frogs have seven players on their current commitment list who have switched from other schools. Two of the remaining five were committed to AQ schools and two others were committed to Mountain West rival Utah. The other player was committed to Louisiana Tech. Of the seven players who switched commitments to TCU, five are three-star recruits according to Scouts, Inc. The Horned Frogs also have commitments from two four-star recruits: defensive tackle David Johnson and athlete Sam Carter. There’s no doubt that TCU has been able to sell its success not only from this season, but also the other six double-digit win seasons this decade. It also helps that the Horned Frogs are consistently sending players to the NFL and playing some of the best competition in the country both in their nonconference schedule and during conference play. TCU is trying to make a late run at BYU, which currently has the best class in the Mountain West and the No. 24 class in the country, according to Scouts, Inc.

Now Scout's Inc.'s take on Day 4 at the Senior Bowl:

TCU LB Daryl Washington -- He is an undersized linebacker prospect who will have to play on the weak side and be protected by defensive linemen so he has room to run. Washington impressed on Day 4 with his loose hips and ability to open up and get into his zone drops. He also appears to have the best change-of-direction skills of all the North linebackers, planting his foot and transitioning his weight easily. His awareness in zone and ability to get into underneath passing lanes also showed up, and he flashed natural hands when making a tough interception away from his frame.

Lessons in SMU Hate - Clifton Murphy.

Clifton Murphy will be getting his PhD. at TCU starting in 2011.
And by PhD. I obviously mean Pony Hatin' Doctorate.

When I initially did the “Lessons in SMU Hate” feature the other day, it was really just because I hadn’t posted anything in a while and ridiculing SMU happens to be a passion of mine, so it seemed like a no brainer. In fact, ridiculing things about Dallas culture in general is a natural activity of mine – and yes, I realize the inherent irony here considering Dallas is also the place where I live, but hey, my job is here and I’ve got mouths to feed – so establishing this as an off-season recurring post really goes hand in hand with my personality. I just didn’t expect Lesson #2 to arrive so soon.

Enter Clifton Murphy.

For those of you who don’t follow recruiting religiously – and, if you don’t, what is it that you do with your workday, exactly? – Clifton Murphy is a 6-5, 230 pound defensive end recruit from Little Elm (where?) and is the newest commit for the 2010 recruiting class.

Except not exactly.

For you see, TCU Is young Clifton’s dream school and sometimes you have to make sacrifices to achieve your dreams. Until yesterday, Clifton was an SMU commit, and had also been mulling over offers from New Mexico State and conference rival Colorado State. But he just couldn’t get the Frog fever out of his head. Unfortunately for Clifton, the current recruiting class isn’t looking for any defensive end prospects. So – and this is where it gets totally gut punching for the Ponies – Murphy, desperately wanting to be a Horned Frog, made a compromise: He would still come to TCU, but as a greyshirt. What this means is that Murphy, who is graduating from high school this year, will choose to wait and enroll at TCU next January, and thus become a part of the 2011 class, which still has plenty of availability.

Basically what Murphy has done is turned down the chance to be a guaranteed scholarship athlete next fall at SMU and will voluntarily attend Junior College during his first semester so that he can be a Horned Frog. Personally, cash rules everything around me, and having an immediately guaranteed scholarship to another program – read: no junior college – would likely be a big selling point, but, you see, Clifton possesses something we all have deep inside of us, and in droves.

Clifton has SMU hate. He’s basically saying, “Hey SMU, thanks for the interest, but I’m so not interested in your program, I’d rather pay for my schooling next semester, at a junior college no less, so that I DON’T have to come play for you.” He’s basically telling June Jones thanks, but how could I trust my future to a man who wears Hawaiian shirts on the sideline? He’s basically saying he’d rather at least wait until he gets to the pros to develop a raging drug addiction. Conference USA? More like Conference Poo-SA. Most of all, though, he’s personifying the fact that TCU is and will continue to be taken more seriously than SMU and that even with the two million dollar man, the Ponies still have a long way to go before they’re eligible for "big time college football program" status. You can buy a coach and you can buy your players, but you can’t buy a winning tradition.

Clifton may not have the hate that drives Texas Hammer to open palm slap a man in the middle of a crowded restaurant on his birthday simply because he went to SMU, but the fact that he’s passing up a guaranteed scholarship this year just so he can play for the Frogs next year should let us all know who our favorite TCU player will be during the 2011 season.

And that's today's lesson in SMU Hate.

Recruiting Class Reunion: 2005

Instead of hanging their heads after the painful 2004 season, Patterson & staff got back to work signing 21 players in the Class of 2005. For the members of this class (who signed right after an ugly 5-6 campaign) that ended up staying at TCU for five years, the reward was two conference championship rings.

The headliners: Marvin White was a 4-star safety coming out of Kilgore JC, who picked TCU over offers from A&M and Tech, among others. Lorenzo Jones was a highly-regarded defensive tackle from McKinney. Also, TCU pulled a last-minute theft of Tech once again, pulling away Longview DBs Corderra Hunter and James Pierce just before Signing Day.

NFL Material: White was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 4th Round of the 2007 Draft, while Stephen Hodge and Aaron Brown were taken in the 6th Round in '09. Nick Sanders, Rafael Priest and Joseph Turner probably have the best chances at going pro of the 5th year seniors from this group.

Hits: Clearly, Gator was a hit. Hodge, who came out of Tatum, TX as a QB was every bit as good a safety at TCU. Brown and Turner were incredibly productive runners when healthy (and/or not suspended, in Brown's case). How many classes-at any school- produce two four-year starting cornerbacks? That's what TCU got in '05 with Nick Sanders and Rafael Priest, both 2 star recruits coming out of Kilgore and Dallas Madison, respectively. James Vess was mainstay on the defensive line, although he did miss the entire '07 season to suspension. Bryan Courtney was a solid punter and Marcus Jackson was a reliable and selfless back-up QB, twice earning MWC Player of the Week honors while filling in for injured starters.

In-between: Hunter never fulfilled his potential, although he was a solid back-up and contributed on special teams. Nick Richmond, all 6'8" of him, was a part-time starter and full-time false-start machine on the offensive line.

Misses: Pierce, along with offensive lineman Brad Guillory, wide receiver Tim Jackson and defensive lineman Chris Jones never made it to campus. Jones had a very promising true freshman year, then left the team just before the infamous incident which led to rape allegations. Defensive backs Mike Salvage and Chase Gibson as well as defensive end Allen Christopher all had some potential but left the team before they could ever really contribute. Chris Smith was a highly-touted running back coming out of Navasota, but never broke through to play during anything but garbage time. Offensive lineman Tyler Marrou never really contributed.

Bonus: Arriving at campus with the Class of '05 was walk-on wide receiver/running back Ryan Christian, who ended up being a solid contributor on offense once the new offensive coordinators realized how best to use his talents.