Euless Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver did a double take during his team's game Saturday night at Dallas' Kincaide Stadium.
Sitting on the Trinity bench was former Trojans star Brandon Carter, who had just played his best game for TCU earlier in the day. In Kansas.
"I look over there and said, 'Brandon, what are you doing here? What did you do, get on a jet?'" Lineweaver said. "He was over there dressed nice and smiling. He was back and all the way over in Dallas supporting his boys. It was awesome. I gave him a big hug. How did he do that?"
Seven hours earlier, Carter -- who starred at Trinity in 2009 and '10 -- was catching eight passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the Frogs' 20-6 victory at Kansas.
In Aledo, coach Tim Buchanan was watching his former tailback and cornerback Joel Hasley lead TCU with 12 tackles and two sacks. The sophomore walk-on linebacker earned Big 12 Conference defensive player of the week honors.
"I sent out that text to all our coaches and I think they were just as excited as Joel was," Buchanan said.
The emergence of area high school stars producing on TCU's big stage is not unprecedented, but 2012 could be a sea change in how the area's top recruits view the Frogs.
"No doubt TCU is going to have inroads on recruiting because Brandon is going to be telling them TCU is a great place to be," Lineweaver said. "Sometimes recruitable guys like Brandon don't see the close school as attractive; they see the far [away] as being attractive, places like Oregon. But I think with these guys staying in town, it would be a boon for TCU to say, 'Hey, we've got everything you need and more. We are the special school, not that one way off.' I think that's the best thing that's going to happen from this."
Two former Arlington Martin stars, defensive end Devonte Fields and kicker Jaden Oberkrom, also are turning heads as true freshmen. Fields leads TCU with 3 1/2 tackles for losses and Oberkrom is 2 of 3 on field goals and 10 for 10 on PATs. Hasley leads the 17th-ranked Frogs (2-0) with 17 tackles and two sacks. Carter is tied with Josh Boyce for the team lead with nine receptions and leads with three touchdowns. Waxahachie freshman LaDarius Brown opened his career with five catches for 70 yards at Kansas.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, they return to Amon G. Carter Stadium to host Virginia (2-1).
"Anytime a player from your area is successful and you get those kids playing and having a good season [collegiately], then your kids are going to want to go to school there," Buchanan said. "[Plus] what it does for [TCU's] program for good football players to walk on there."
Hasley had scholarship offers from several schools, but chose TCU mainly because of the education. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of another former Aledo player, Jon Koontz, a walk-on defensive lineman who earned a scholarship after a couple of seasons as a reliable reserve.
A steady pipeline of Aledo players coming to TCU dates more than 10 years, including Ryan Christian, who had other Division I offers but grayshirted at TCU in 2005 before earning a scholarship and becoming a valuable component for the offense.
"A lot of those guys were recruited," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "They decided they wanted to come to TCU because they wanted the education. Yeah, it'll help [recruiting], but more than anything it helps [TCU's] fan base. Fan base is a big deal with those kinds of kids."
Lineweaver says the Trinity community was already a fan of TCU football, but Carter's exploits have ramped up the interest level.
"And you're talking about 45,000 fans who've watched our games, so that's quite a community," he said. "I think it's a super deal for TCU. We enjoy it from our end. We hope it's a boon to future [recruits]."
Buchanan calls Hasley a typical Patterson-type player, one who has developed into a starting inside linebacker.
"He was always an aggressive player, and to take somebody who was a running back and turn them into a linebacker, I would never have thought that," Buchanan said. "But Gary Patterson has shown kids that if you come there, even as a walk-on, and show you can play football, he's going to play the best football players."
Carter, who changed his commitment from Oklahoma to TCU late in the process, had star potential coming out of Trinity despite a lack of size.
"They don't come along that often," Lineweaver said. "Brandon was special. I am pleased he's showing it wasn't just a high school thing, that he's special at the big-time college level. We hope TCU scratches around here a little bit more. I know they're thinking, 'OK, if you have any more Brandon Carters, you shoot them my way.'"