February 6, 2013

TCU sells area recruits on staying with the home team

More than half of TCU's class of 22 hails from DFW area.

You need only look at the play of defensive end Devonte Fields in 2012 to see the direction TCU's recruiting is going.

More than half of the Horned Frogs' 22-player signing class announced Wednesday are from Dallas-Fort Worth area high schools.

The class is led by four-star running back Kyle Hicks, who stayed true to his commitment to TCU months ago. He followed Fields, a former teammate at Arlington Martin High School.

"It's a great feeling," Hicks said. "Hard work pays off. I'm going to seize every moment of this opportunity. I'm happy about it."

Patterson said the goal is to make it known to area coaches and players that TCU will keep a tighter focus on them in the future, while also plucking talented recruits from all over Texas and beyond.

"We have to make sure high school coaches and kids up here understand that's our first priority," Patterson said. "Then we'll move out. We've had a lot of success in East Texas, South Texas ... but for us to win a national championship and win a Big 12 title we have to keep working at keeping kids close to home."

Among the 2013 class, TCU signed four offensive linemen, four defensive backs, three linebackers and three wide receivers. Temple High School quarterback Zach Allen is one of three recruits already enrolled, along with Springtown tight end Bryson Burtnett and Alpharetta (Ga.) High School offensive tackle Eason Fromayan. All three will take part in spring practice, which begins March 1.

"For us, it's an overall, pretty good class," Patterson said. "It's still a very young football team. We only have 11 seniors next fall."

Although this signing class ranks lower nationally compared to TCU's previous few classes, Patterson said, after watching recruiting coverage on television earlier in the day, he likes the makeup of this class.

"I've been watching all day the recruiting wars and guys switching," he said. "We didn't have anybody flipping and flopping, as a general rule. The guys who decided they wanted to go to TCU, they stayed at TCU. And that's the kind of guys at the end of the day you're going to win a lot of ball games with."

Other local recruits include Mansfield High School safety George Baltimore, Arlington High linebacker Sammy Douglas, Mansfield Summit High defensive end Bryson Henderson, Fort Worth All Saints tight end Charlie Reid and Arlington Bowie cornerback Steve Wesley.

Patterson reminded the media of something he's said often since TCU joined the Big 12.

"I said it was going to be a 3 to 4 year process because you need to have depth," he said. "We need to keep acquiring depth but still taking guys who want to be here for the right reasons."

There are about 350 players signed out of Texas each year, Patterson said, and plenty of talented recruits to go around, especially, the large crop in the DFW-area.

"You don't need all of them," Patterson said. "All you need is around 20 every season that fit your scheme, that fits what you do."

Like Hicks, who will give the Frogs seven running backs in August.

"Kyle did it for all the right reasons," Patterson said of Hicks, who chose TCU over Texas. "He's a great kid. It's not anything against the University of Texas, it's a great program. I just think he wanted to stay close to home, close to his mom and having Devonte Fields here, obviously didn't hurt.

"Having Devonte Fields here, period, helped to show that you as a player could not only be a freshmen All-American, but you could be the Big 12 Player of the Year and make that kind of impact," Patterson added. "If we can get a couple like him every year over the next five years we have a chance to be special."

Correspondent Travis Brown contributed to this story.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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