One of the keys to a Gary Patterson defense is the pass rush. That’s why the defensive ends under Patterson (and defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas) have, in many ways, been the most athletic players on the field. It’s also why DEs who played in the last dozen years or so dominate this list.
1 – Jerry Hughes (’10): The most decorated player in TCU history. He won the Ted Hendricks Award and the Lott Trophy his senior year, was a two-time consensus All-American (2008 and 2009), twice Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the nation’s top-ranked defense and a double Rogers Trophy winner -- whew! -- Hughes’ combination of power and speed (and big-play ability) set the standard upon which all others at TCU are expected to follow. He topped the nation in sacks with 15 in 2008, and followed that with 11.5 in ’09, leading TCU to its first-ever BCS Bowl berth.
2 – Raymond “Rags” Matthews (’28): “Try comin’ around this way, suh!” And he meant it. Taunting, intimidating and powerful, he was TCU’s first great defensive player. “The Raggedy Man” -- known for his often-torn purple jersey -- led TCU on offense (also as an end) and defense for Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Matty Bell, who called him “the greatest defensive end I ever saw.” That’s right, folks. The Fort Worth native was TCU’s first-ever All-American in 1927, twice All-SWC and a College Football Hall-of-Famer. Suh!
3 – Aaron Schobel (’01): Those poor, poor offensive tackles. Three-time, first-team All-WAC on two conference co-champs, he finished with a school-record 31 sacks (including three in the ’99 Mobile Bowl win over East Carolina), anchoring Patterson’s first great defense under Dennis Franchione in 2000 when he was named a second-team All-American and WAC Defensive Player of the Year. His 315 career yards lost tackling are 79 yards more than anyone else. He was also the defensive star in TCU’s watershed upset of USC in the ’98 Sun Bowl. He was twice an NFL Pro Bowler as well.
4 – Bo Schobel (’04): Aaron’s younger cousin, he was a two-time, All-Conference USA pick. His 2003 effort was just staggering – a school-record 17 SACKS and minus-120 yards on tackles for loss. Teams do that, dude. It’s hard to count all the important sacks he had (go ahead, pick a big game), but he finished with 28.5, tied for second all time with Hughes – despite missing an entire season with a torn ACL. No. 21 also totaled 147 career tackles and four forced fumbles.
5 – Tommy Blake (’08): A Freshman All-American, then twice first-team All-Mountain West, yet beset with personal problems that sadly derailed his senior season and an NFL career, Blake – at his best – was the most dominating defender TCU ever had. No player – not Hughes, not the Schobels – could control a game the same way Blake did when he was on a rampage. You’re thinking about the 2006 Poinsettia Bowl against Northern Illinois now and smiling, right? He is fourth all time in sacks and fifth in tackles-for-loss yards.
6 – Chase Ortiz (’08): Teamed on the left end with Tommy Blake on the right to form the best one-two DE punch in TCU history. Ortiz wasn’t flashy, but he was consistently, relentlessly GOOD. Every game. He finished with 20.5 sacks, including nine in a season twice. The three-time, All-MWC first-teamer received the Rogers Trophy as TCU MVP in 2007.
7 – Wayne Daniels (’11): He had the unenviable task of replacing Jerry Hughes as a senior, but TCU led the nation in total defense both seasons he started at right end, as well as winning a pair of conference crowns with undefeated regular seasons. Great at stopping the option, his sacks came in bunches. He was a 2010 All-American and twice All-MWC.
8 – Roosevelt Collins (’92): Logged an impressive 18 sacks in his career, during an era when TCU’s defenses were less than stellar. He was All-SWC as a sophomore in ’89 and again in his 7-4 senior season for Jim Wacker in 1991.
9 -- Chris Piland (’96): Grapevine’s Piland was All-SWC in 1995 as a senior for Pat Sullivan. That year, he had 9.5 sacks, the most in school history up to that time. He was also one of the defensive stars on the Frogs’ last SWC title in 1994.
10 – Tracy Simien (’89): Now Sweeny’s second-most famous Horned Frog, he jumped from the offensive line as a freshman to the D-Line, including two standout seasons at defensive end. He finished his career with 193 tackles, including a team-leading 15 tackles for loss and four sacks as a senior in 1988. He then went on to an outstanding NFL career … as a linebacker.
Honorable Mention – Bruce Alford (’43), Greg Townsend (’83), Robert Pollard (’04), David Spradlin (’88), Matt Panfil (’09)