With so many key figures lost to graduation after the Rose Bowl win, we at spitbloodtcu.com thought it'd be good to take some time before spring practice begins on March 5th to look ahead to the Frogs' future at each position. This is a little bit like the "Taking Inventory" series we've done each August (which we plan on doing again this year) and a bit like the "Spitblood Predictions" we've posted every Friday during football season. We want all readers to share their thoughts in the comments section- so don't be shy.
We start at the position that is the biggest question mark- quarterback. Andy Dalton was the starter for just four years, but for a college player that seems like an eternity. He leaves TCU with two conference championships, three bowl MVP awards and just about every school passing record. I'm not sure if they'll retire his #14 jersey, but I can guarantee that the next kid to wear it will feel pretty awkward if they don't. What I'm saying is, Dalton's are pretty big shoes to fill. Also gone is sophomore Yogi Gallegos, who has elected to transfer after playing sparingly during his first two seasons.
Casey Pachall is the Prince Charles of TCU football, in that he's been the heir apparent for quite a while, now. He'll just be a redshirt sophomore in the fall, but he's been viewed as Dalton's successor since he committed to the Frogs in March of 2008. At 6'4" coming out of Brownwood High, Pachall had to decline scholarship offers from schools like Florida, Notre Dame, Michigan and Nebraska (among many, many more) to choose to become a Horned Frog. As the highest-profile QB recruit anyone can remember at TCU, expectations have always been high for Pachall. Heck, that gooff-looking kid from the Skiff even thought he'd supplant Dalton as the starter his true freshman year. He finally got on the field some this fall in relief of Dalton, completing 6 of 9 pass attempts for 78 yards and a score and adding 94 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing in 8 games worth of mop-up duty.
But then last year's recruiting class yielded a last minute surprise- and a challenger to Pachall for the starting job in 2011. Matt Brown, who had a brilliant career at Allen and who had been committed to Arizona, switched his pledge to TCU just before signing day. Just the way that Frog fans looked at Pachall as the next big thing at QB, so had Wildcat fans looked at Brown. He may not have the future NFL star measurables like Pachall, listed by some sources as small as 6'1" 185lbs, but according to some Brown does have all of the intangibles that made Dalton so great. He redshirted the 2010 season, so he'll be a freshman again in 2011, and has apparently been impressive enough in practices that he'll be given a shot at winning the starting job this spring.
Behind Pachall and Brown on the depth chart going into the spring are a pair of redshirt freshmen- Sam Carter and Rick Settle. Carter, who came to TCU after having played for three different high schools in the Houston Area, is so athletic that at 6'0" 205lbs, many believe that he may be moved to receiver or safety in order to get him on the field. Settle is a walk-on who was very well thought-of coming out of Olathe, Kansas.
Three quarterbacks signed on the join the Frogs on Signing Day last week, although none of them will be on campus until at least the summer. Trevone Boykin, Chazten Gonzales and Dominic Merka all had great high school careers but also all possess the athleticism to be able to contribute at a number of different positions. Given Patterson's tendency to recruit high school QBs to play different positions in college (Hodge, Phillips, Bonner, Lutrell, etc...), it stands to reason that at least one of these guys will not end up playing Q.
This is where you, the readers, come in. As we look at the quarterback position at TCU this spring, this fall and beyond- how do you see things shaking out? Will Pachall be the guy, or will Matt Brown (or someone else) fill the void left by Dalton's graduation? Are any of the guys listed above going to end up being an all-conference type signal-caller? Which of them will even end up playing quarterback for their entire careers? Let's get a good dialogue going in the comments section.