January 8, 2009

Frogs look to finish strong

TCU got the ball rolling earlier than usual in the 2009 recruiting class and it paid big dividends for them. With a flurry of early action, the Frogs were able to set the stage for the accumulation of some of the top talent across the state of Texas. With high profile players committing early in the game, the Frogs were able to secure pledges from even more top level prospects along the way. Here is a rundown of each commitment and a look at the remaining targets that are left on the board.

Ty Horn got the 2009 class kicked off with a bang back in February. The 6'5" 295 pound offensive tackle from Waco Midway abused opponents all season and has been one of the recruits that has bled purple since day one. Little did we know at the time that Horn would blow up his senior year and become one of the most dominate players at his position in the nation. After Horn made his choice, the Frogs added another monster to the offensive line. 6'5" 290 pound John Wooldridge joined Horn to form a formidable offensive line combo. With these two brutes in the fold, the foundation had been laid for a solid class. Everyone knows that it starts and ends on the offensive and defensive lines.

When March rolled around you could sense the excitement. The Frogs were in on several "big name" recruits and the coaching staff's hard work paid off as they struck gold in a tiny East Texas town. Maud, Texas is home to an impressive group of prospects that play at the 1A level. It's unusual to find a kid from that small of a town that's talented enough to play D1 football but to find three on the same team is absolutely unheard of. The Frogs picked up huge commitments from what is now affectionately known as the "Maud Squad". James Dunbar, Bryant House and Ray Burns all switched their commitments from Tulsa and joined the Horned Frog family in what may be the 2009 recruiting year's best storyline. Dunbar, who stands 6'6" tall and weighs 270 pounds projects as a defensive end or an offensive tackle. House has the frame to add weight and become a dominant defensive tackle. At 6'4" and 255 pounds, House could end up at any number of positions but my money is on defensive tackle. Ray Burns checks in at 6'1" and 290 pounds. Burns' low center of gravity is ideal for the defensive tackle position provided he has the burst needed to get a big push.

What would come next would send shock waves throughout the recruiting world. The Frogs hit a homerun when they landed Brownwood, TX star, Casey Pachall. The duel threat QB was a key piece of the puzzle early on and legitimized the fact that the Horned Frogs were taking that next step in recruiting. The 6'4" 190 pound gunslinger gave the class instant star power and caught the eye of a few other top notch recruits in the process. Pachall went on to have an impressive senior campaign, throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns. Add to that the 600 plus rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns and you can see what type of threat we're dealing with here. With the commitment of Pachall, other prospects started to look at what the Horned Frogs had accomplished and began to notice just how bright of a future the program truly has. By beating out traditional powers such as Florida and Notre Dame for his commitment, the Frogs sent a message to the football world that they are here to stay and are a force to be reckoned with. Pachall will be one of three players to enroll early in hopes that the speed of the college game will slow down for him by the time fall practice rolls around.

April only saw one commitment come down but what a splash this young man made. Jurell Thompson out of Wichita Falls, TX and Rider high school gave the Frogs their second four star player in the class. The do it all athlete lined up at running back and safety for his Raider team but will be counted on as a safety at the next level. Thompson will look to carry on the tradition of hard hitting TCU safeties with his bone crushing hits and relentless motor.

The train was running full speed ahead by the time the calendar turned to May but arguably the biggest coup of the recruiting season was just around the corner. The Frogs were looking for a game changer at the running back position and they got their man in the form of Sherman, TX standout, Waymon James. The 5'8" 205 pounder has been compared to LaDainian Tomlinson because of his physical build and running style. It doesn't hurt that the Sherman star's favorite player is LT and the chance to follow in his footsteps was one he just couldn't pass up. James enjoyed a stellar senior season, rushing for nearly 2,000 yards and more than 20 touchdowns. With the offensive combo of Pachall and James, the Mountain West Conference has been put on notice. The Frog offense is in good hands.

June brought the Frogs a couple of speedsters, one on offense and one on defense. One of the most underrated players in the state of Texas is Copperas Cove athlete, Josh Boyce. The wide receiver, return man extroidnair was just what the doctor ordered for TCU. Silky smooth in and out of his breaks, Boyce will remind Frog fans of a faster Cory Rodgers. At 6'1" and 185 pounds, Boyce could challenge for early playing time. He will enroll early and get a jump on the competition this spring. The next prospect to commit to the Frogs in June was Brenham, TX standout, Trenton Thomas. The 5'11" 195 pound safety will fit right in with the defensive style of TCU. Hard hitting and instinctive, Thomas has to tools to be another monster from the safety position in the Frogs 4-2-5 scheme. With a solid senior year, Thomas helped carry on the tradition of Brenham high school, proving that the Cubs churn out as much D1 talent as anyone in Texas.

July brought a trio of commitments for the Frogs. With the commitment of Tanner Brock out of Copperas Cove, the Frogs landed one of the top linebackers in the state. In my opinion he is one of the top three middle linebackers hands down. A three year starter for the Bulldawgs, Brock accumulated 687 career tackles. That impressive stat was enough to earn him an all-state selection each of his three years as the Cove main man on defense. In his sophomore and junior years, Copperas Cove was a 4A power. In 2008, the Cove Bulldawgs moved up to the highest level of Texas high school football when they made the plunge into 5A. Brock didn't miss a beat garnering all-state honors yet again. Another early enrollee, Brock will have every opportunity to show what he's all about. The 6'3" 218 pound linebacker will join his older brother, tight end Logan Brock, on the Frog's roster. To go with Brock's commitment, the Frogs landed yet another mauler for the offensive line. Eric Tausch out of Dallas Jesuit joined the ranks forming a nasty offensive line trio along with Horn and Wooldridge. The 6'2" 280 pound center prospect will come in as polished as they come due to the fact that he has had quite the person to model his game after raising him his whole life. Eric's father, Terry Tausch, was a consensus All-American at the University of Texas and played 8 years in the NFL with the Vikings and the 49'ers. He was also a member of the 1989 49'er team that claimed the NFL title that year. To say that Eric might have a few tricks up his sleeve would be an understatement. A nasty, relentless offensive lineman, Tausch will fit in perfectly with the physical TCU style of play. The third recruit to make his decision to become a Frog in July was Edna, TX defensive end, D.J. Yendrey. The 6'4" 245 pound prospect could end up on the offensive line but he has the tools to excel on the defensive side of the ball as well. Playing in a district that wasn't known for having a lot of star power, Yendrey flew under the radar all season long. He will provide even more athleticism to the Frogs roster.

August saw the Frog coaching staff catch their collective breath as they prepared for a strong push down the stretch. Even though they didn't receive a commitment in August, the groundwork that they laid with a few prospects would turn out to be huge. September would be kind to TCU as they added two fierce defenders to defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas' arsenal. Justin Isadore became commitment number 14 on September the 9th. The linebacker/safety hybrid from Beaumont Ozen high school in Beaumont, TX had built quite a reputation. Holding offers from SEC and Big 12 schools, Isadore liked what he saw in the 4-2-5 scheme and thought he could contribute to the defense. A headhunter in every sense of the word, Isadore hits first and asks questions later. He reminds many of senior safety, Stephen Hodge. At 5'11" and 205 pounds, Isadore could line up at either position. The only junior college player to commit to the Frogs so far in the 2009 class is Trinity Valley Community College's, Malcolm Williams. The 5'11" 205 pound safety originally committed to Oklahoma out of high school but he never made it to Norman. The Frogs are glad things worked out the way they did. With a knack for being around the ball, Williams is another guy that fits in perfectly with what the Frogs like to do on the defensive side of the ball. Possessing 4.4 speed and a 38" vertical, Williams adds yet another intimidating athlete to the secondary.

While the Frogs were performing well on the field in October and November, no new recruits joined the already stellar group. However, December was quite a different story. TCU landed two huge recruits bringing the total number for the 2009 class to 17. First the Frogs landed highly coveted running back, Matthew Tucker. The 6'1" 215 pound tank of a back from Tyler, TX was a great get for the Frogs. Rushing for over 6,000 yards in his career at Chapel Hill high school, Tucker chose TCU over Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and many others. With 4.5 speed and a physical running style, Tucker compliments Waymon James' speed and slashing ability. The two could come together to form a potent one- two punch. The most recent recruit to make his choice for the Frogs is a local talent. Stansly Maponga out of Hebron high school in Carrollton, TX is a well put together, 6'2" 245 pound defensive end. With his combination of size, speed and strength, Maponga could ultimately end up as a defensive tackle. Holding more than 10 offers, Maponga chose TCU because of their defensive reputation and because he wanted to play close to home.

With signing day just around the corner, the coaches are putting the finishing touches on what may be the best recruiting class in TCU history. Of course, coach Patterson will be quick to remind us that they are all just paper tigers until they step on the field, but there's no denying the talent that has been rounded up in this class. With just 3 slots left to fill, here is a list of prospects that represent the most sought after remaining recruits for TCU. I have added what percent chance I feel that each player has of ending up in Ft. Worth.

Tevin Mims- One of the top players left in the state of Texas. 33% chance TCU gets him.

Trey Wilson- Shreveport Evangel product looks like a long shot. 15% chance for TCU.

Quinn Giles- Wilson's teammate and great athlete. He could play slot or safety. 25% chance.

Forrest Stucky- Coming in on the 16th for a visit. If the Frogs offer, I say 90% chance he commits.

Dewayne Peace- Might be in line for an offer very soon, big play receiver. If TCU offers, 25% chance they get him.

Jarod Monk- Recruited by TCU as a tight end. He is 6'5' 235 pounds. It looks like Baylor or TCU. 50% chance for TCU.

Spencer Nealy- Nealy has committed to Texas A&M but will have to greyshirt. He could change his mind and commit to TCU. 50% chance he ends up a Horned Frog.


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