As the 2013 TCU football season drew to a close, a bowl game out of reach, coach Gary Patterson harped on the silver lining of missing out on bowl season.
Recruiting, he said, would heat up.
The evidence to support this claim came from the recruiting classes following the 2004 bowl season, the last time the Horned Frogs missed out on postseason play.
The extra time off the practice field gave the coaching staff time to search for and evaluate talent, and the results became evident not only in 2004 but also in the following two years as the staff followed through on junior days and evaluated underclassmen.
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In the class of 2004, TCU signed linebackers Jason Phillips and Robert Henson, both of whom played in the NFL.
TCU’s 2005 recruiting class had an even better rake, with players who would eventually play in the NFL in Aaron Brown, Stephen Hodge, Nick Richmond and Marvin White.
The class also included standout running back Joseph Turner.
However, arguably one of TCU’s strongest recruiting classes came in 2006 when the Frogs signed Marcus Cannon, Andy Dalton, Jerry Hughes, Collin Jones and Marshall Newhouse.
Jeremy Clark, the publisher of HornedFrogBlitz.com, believes TCU could follow that trend from 10 years ago as coaches got more face-to-face time with recruits this off-season.
“I do agree with what [Patterson] was saying because it did give them a chance to get out and start recruiting earlier whereas other teams were still preparing for bowl games,” Clark said. “If you look at the commitment list, they had four guys commit in December during the time TCU was usually practicing.”
Through December and January, TCU picked up commitments from 10 players, including Keller Fossil Ridge wide receiver Ryan Parker and junior college transfer defensive back Kenny Iloka from Tyler Junior College.
The addition of co-offensive coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham has also led to the recruiting success.
“They’ve done tremendous,” Clark said. “If you look at Sonny Cumbie, he’s been known as a great recruiter ever since he’s been at Texas Tech. Sonny is just a tremendous guy on and off the field. Everyone loves him.”
The coordinators’ pass-first style has allowed the Horned Frogs to keep commitments from two of the state’s top quarterbacks, Fort Worth All Saints’ Foster Sawyer and Decatur’s Grayson Muehlstein. That’s somewhat of a rarity in today’s age of recruiting, Clark said.
Headlining the class is offensive lineman Ty Barrett of Dallas Skyline, rated a four-star recruit by Scout. At 6-foot-5 and 316 pounds, Barrett can make an instant impact with the Frogs on the field, like he did as a recruiter for the school
“He’s kind of a player that you need in this class,” Clark said. “He’s a four-star player and a guy who obviously tweets a lot and can recruit guys for this class.”
Clark said he expects no big surprises before Wednesday morning when National Letters of Intent will be faxed.
He said the class reminds him a lot of the one in 2006, a group of underrated, hard-working players who turned TCU into a national power while becoming NFL prospects.
“They didn’t have a lot of names,” Clark said. “A lot of lunch-pail guys so to speak. They’ve kind of gone back to that this year.”