TCU's 2011 Signing Class
By Travis Stewart // TexasFootball.com
TCU's 2011 Signing Class
In short, this could be TCU's most important signing class of the last decade.
After all, the Horned Frogs are graduating 26 seniors, a key group of contributors that won a ridiculous 44 games in their career (a school-record), and while true freshman don't often jump straight into starting roles, they can be critical rotation players. The Horned Frogs could use them in 2011. And considering this is going to be Gary Patterson's largest signing class since 2007 — and second-largest since 1997 — and the Frogs are just now reaping the benefits of an impending move to the automatic-qualifying Big East AND a Rose Bowl win …
I mean, all signing classes are important. No doubt. But this one … well, this one is really important.
Patterson and his staff once again put together a mix-and-match of under-the-radar types and well-known players, producing a balanced finish product that lacks just a true running back (and I guess a kicker/punter), which the Frogs really have no immediate need for. Overall, you couldn't ask for much more — although two additions along the defensive line late in the game certainly count as gravy on an already tasty dish.
Strength: TCU loaded up in the secondary, especially at safety — no surprise, as mainstays Tejay Johnson (All-American), Colin Jones and Alex Ibiloye are all moving on, as is corner Jason Teague. Patterson and his staff locked up as many as seven kids that could play safety in the Frogs' high-intensity 4-2-5 scheme, so returnees Tekerrein Cuba, Johnny Fobbs, Jurell Thompson, Elisha Olabode and others will have a little competition when summer camp comes around. TCU also targeted defensive tackle, and even though the effort didn't pan out until mid-January, you could make an excellent case that Chuck Hunter (LA) and Jon Lewis (Klein Oak) could be the class' top talents.
Weakness: I'm not sure there is one, really. The Frogs needed lots of signees, and they got more than just warm bodies — they got high-impact kids that, on paper at least, fit Patterson's system to a "T". They didn't bring in one true elite defensive end prospect, but TCU's reputation doesn't necessitate one — neither Tommy Blake nor Jerry Hughes were expected to line up there by the mass media on their respective signing days. Bailey is probably the only guy who could play running back, but he's going to play safety, and the Frogs got two backs last year to go with youngsters Ed Wesley, Matt Tucker, Waymon James and Aundre Dean (all entering either their junior or sophomore years). Out of all the positions you can recruit for, offensive line was probably the one TCU will get the least amount of love for in this class. But I wouldn't call it a weakness by any stretch.
The big name: Most outlets are going to tell you Ladarius Brown, and it's hard to disagree — the Waxahachie product has been stunningly productive despite a sparse football history. To make a long story short, the Indians' coaching staff found him in a P.E. class, so a good amount of the kid's hype is going to be partially based on a potential that hasn't been fully tapped yet. He'll fit nicely at receiver. Chuck Hunter could fit this bill as well, because he's strong as an ox and could have an immediate impact on a defensive interior that's graduating its top two talents. Brandon Carter, a late switch over from Oklahoma, was one of the state's most electrifying talents all year. But as for right now, I'm leaning towards Chris Hackett. He was the leader of an exceptional Tyler secondary in 2010, and he just has the look and feel of the next elite TCU safety. If you re-ranked every recruit in Texas today, based on the entire 2010 season, Hackett would be making a massive leap towards the top. He was incredible this year.
Final thoughts: While it doesn't top Texas' class on paper, that means absolutely nothing, as Patterson has gotten far more out of recent groups than anyone in Texas. Argyle kicker Chad Hedlund, the top kicker in the state and a long-time TCU pledge, will grayshirt this semester. Some of the positional questions were answered on signing day, with the school purposefully listed Bailey and Quincy Aldridge as safeties and Brown and Carter as wide receivers. That should clear up some questions. With so many seniors graduating, more will be asked of this than any from the past four years.
Big-bodied safety could fill the role of ex-Frogs Stephen Hodge and Colin Jones at strong safety. He also has 21 career interceptions at Whitehouse, meaning he can do more than just tackle.
A possibility in the secondary or backfield, but either way, he's tough to stop once he's moving straight ahead. Got a good build, and with the ball in his hands, his side-juke is mesmerizing.
Might be the most dynamic athlete in the class. He still needs a little work on his passing, but he's incredibly mobile. It may be tough for the coaches to leave him on the sideline while he waits for his chance at the starting gig.
The most highly-regarded in-state recruit in TCU's class. Brown could be a receiver or safety, and he has excellent leaping ability and concentration. Regardless of where he plays (receiver), he'll win jump balls more often that not.
Played quarterback as a senior, but more than a likely a receiver (like he was his junior year). Excellent speed and can easily change direction in the open field without losing momentum. Great slot guy for the spread.
A late add that might fill the scholarship of non-signers Davion Pierson and Chad Hedlund. Speedy safety product that is part of a massive defensive back contingent.
The late switch from OU gives TCU a tantalizing prospect to utilize. He doesn't have Jeremy Kerley's breakaway speed, but he does have his bewitching open-field elusiveness. Odds are he'll end up at receiver.
A hard-working kid who carries a familiar name: his brother, Blaize, will be a junior in 2011. Brady will likely be an offensive guard, but he could always end up at defensive end, as well. He's played both.
I'm thinking safety, but he could definitely play corner, as well. In early December, VYPE magazine was talking about Garrett as one of the Houston area's top 12 eventual NFL prospects from the 2011 class.
Has shown talent at linebacker, defensive end and tight end. Take your pick? Personally, I like Gildon as an off-the-edge blitzing linebacker, but with a little weight, he could be more like Daryl Washington 2.0.
Probably the most enigmatic player in this signing class and another one of TCU's classic jewel-finds. He's an extremely good runner with great speed, but will be hard-pressed to match Boykin's pedigree.
Though he's a sticky cover corner, Griffin is a good enough tackler to play safety if the staff wants him there. He's almost the same size as Alex Ibiloye was, who played weak safety.
No one on here had a better senior year than Hackett, who picked off a ridiculous 12 passes from his safety spot. I would not be surprised to see him play immediately in TCU's new-look secondary.
Hunter lost in the state finals this year with Louisiana's West Monroe, but still finished with 85 tackles, which is comfortably more than many of Texas' top 5A defensive linemen talents reached AP all-state nominee status with.
Blocking Lewis, who switched from Texas Tech in January, is hard enough. Cut-blocking him is almost impossible. He's not a space-eating defensive tackle body-type, but he gets into the backfield. Fast.
Most people tell me that Merka seems like a tight end all the way, and he has the physical skills to back up the claim. But I won't guess Patterson's motives. He could be a bruising dual-threat, too.
Probably a guard, but has the feet to play tackle, too. High school stats are so skewed that his near-90 percent grade in 2010 is probably far more accurate — and exceptional — than the higher ones most kids get.
Porter reminds me a little bit of TCU-ex Bart Johnson — extremely reliable, great on third down, and incredible hands. Porter excelled — as a receiver — in 2009 despite a cast on his right arm and part of his hand for a good chunk of the season.
First-round playoff loss means its been a while since we heard Sanders' name. But he's a tackle machine at the inside linebacker position. He could be another Jason Phillips iron man-type.
Near life-long TCU fan has been playing defensive end but could easily wind up back at linebacker, his original position. He attacks the backfield quickly and plays with passion, like sophomore sensation Tanner Brock.
One of the all-around largest seniors in Texas and almost a mortal lock at tackle. Also selected to play in the USA vs. The World game, one of just seven Texas kids to earn the honor.
Patterson hasn't looked to the JC/CC route much recently, and Verett is just one of two such kids signed in the past three seasons. But the late-bloomer could start in the return game immediately.
If teammate Porter is the reliable possession receiver, then White is the explosive big-play type. He's got the build of Jimmy Young (though a bit taller), with a bit more elusiveness. He could be the new star receiver of the offense.
|Player||HT, WT||40||Pos.||High School|
|TCU HORNED FROGS 2011 SIGNEES (24 signees)|
|Quincy Aldridge||6-2, 195||4.4||S||Whitehouse|
|James Bailey||6-1, 200||4.5||S||Everman|
||6-1, 205||4.49||QB||West Mesquite|
||5-10, 165||4.5||WR||John Tyler|
|Jamie Byrd||5-11, 180||N/A||S||Pasco (FL)|
||5-11, 161||4.5||WR||Euless Trinity|
|Brady Foltz||6-4, 290||5.2||OG||Rose Hill (KS)|
|Travoskey Garrett||6-1, 186||4.6||CB||Lufkin|
||6-2, 205||4.5||LB||Arlington Martin|
|Chazten Gonzales||6-2, 185||N/A||QB||Del City (OK)|
||5-11, 176||4.42||CB||Houston St. Pius X|
|Chris Hackett||6-1, 185||4.6||S||John Tyler|
|Chuck Hunter||6-1, 294||N/A||DT||West Monroe (LA)|
|Jon Lewis||6-2, 265||4.7||DT||Klein Oak|
|Jamelle Naff||6-4, 311||N/A||OG||Del City (OK)|
|David Porter||6-0, 185||4.5||WR||DeSoto|
|Laderice Sanders||6-1, 220||4.7||LB||Arlington|
|Austin Terry||6-2, 221||4.5||LB||Lago Vista|
||6-7, 285||5.1||OT||Midland Christian|
|Jason Verrett||5-10, 180||N/A||DB||Santa Rosa JC (CA)|
||6-5, 263||5.1||OT||FB Travis|