February 3, 2013

TCU's Patterson wants to build fence around area football recruits

The TCU coach hopes to keep DFW prospects at home.

In its first season in the Big 12, TCU's recruiting class ranks in the middle of the road, just as it did in the Mountain West.

But most recruiting analysts agree that, beyond the website rankings, there are some history-making storylines.

It all began when Arlington Martin running back Kyle Hicks jumped the Texas Longhorns ship and switched his commitment to TCU in early December, becoming the first player TCU has flipped from Texas in the modern era of football recruiting.

Next was Auburn, Ala., athlete Cameron Echols-Luper, who switched his pledge from Texas A&M to TCU on Jan 13.

Now the Frogs are making a late push for Birdville offensive lineman Joas Aguilar, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound Under Armour All-American who is committed to Texas A&M, according to Jeremy Clark, editor of

"As well as Texas A&M has done recruiting-wise and [to] get a steal from them, I think that sends even more of a message," Clark said.

Eleven of 19 TCU's recruits are from Dallas-Fort Worth, reflecting coach Gary Patterson's plan to build a successful Big 12 program by claiming the Metroplex.

"I think the biggest impact is Gary said they wanted to build a fence around the Metroplex and I think they've done that so far," Clark said.

What remains to be seen is if TCU can come out of the fourth quarter of the recruiting game with a few more scores, namely on the defensive line. Still on the board is Lancaster defensive end Daeshon Hall and Waco defensive tackle Andrew Billings.

"You need a strong front seven in the Big 12," ESPN Midlands recruiting analyst Damon Sayles said. "You need a strong defensive line. Those two guys can come in as freshmen and get some things done. If nothing else, coach Patterson can get the most out of his players, more than a lot of coaches out there. I really feel like if they get into TCU's system and let coach Patterson school them, I think they can end up being some superstar players some day."

Hall, rated as four stars by most sites, is committed to Washington, but will make his final decision on Wednesday.

Billings, also a four-star recruit, is touted as one of the top defensive tackles in the state and is ranked No.252 on ESPN's list of the top 300 national recruits. He'll announce his decision at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Waco.

"If they can pull these two guys, I think they are definitely looking at a very salty class, especially as their first time in the Big 12," Sayles said.

The recruiting season means the world to coaches envisioning the future of their program, but the real battle lies in bragging rights between fans and rivals, because the recruits themselves want to prove their worth on the field.

"Honestly, I don't pay too much attention to it," TCU pledge and Arlington Bowie safety Steve Wesley said. "Yeah, I like to see at least how other people view it, but to me it actually comes down to actually playing. It's just someone's opinion."

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