TCU’s rise to national prominence has come on the shoulders of players from North Texas, the primary focus of Horned Frog recruiting.
However, the success of freshman KaVontae Turpin from Monroe, La., has highlighted a state that has provided some huge names for the program.
Turpin averaged 27 yards per return and set school freshman records with 45 catches for 649 yards and eight touchdowns.
Turpin was on the Football Writers Association of America All-American team as a kick returner and received All Big 12 honorable mention honors.
“He was an explosive playmaker and certainly has continued to do those things at the next level and we’re certainly tickled to death that he’s having the success that he’s having,” said Mickey McCarty, who coached Turpin at Neville High School.
Turpin is just the latest Horned Frog success story from the state of Louisiana.
Since 2002, TCU has signed 22 players from the state. This year’s class includes Isaiah Graham, a four-star wide receiver from Bastrop who has already enrolled.
“Per capita, Louisiana is probably the top recruiting state there is,” said Jeremy Clark of HornedFrogBlitz.com. “There’s not a doubt that you can cross into Louisiana and find a player. Whether it’s a big school or a small school, you’re always going to find athletes in that state.”
Six Louisiana players saw time on TCU’s defense in 2015: defensive end Terrell Lathan, defensive tackles Chris Bradley and Tevin Lawson and cornerbacks Torrance Mosley and DeShawn Raymond. Defensive end James McFarland of West Monroe would have seen significant playing time, but suffered a season-ending injury during fall camp.
Lawson, a four-star guard ranked 152nd in the 2013 ESPN Recruiting Nation 300, turned down an offer from LSU, which signed 53 percent of the state’s nationally ranked recruits between 2010 and 2015.
National Signing Day is Feb. 3
In the 2016 class, Graham ranks 105th on the ESPN 300 list.
But it’s not just the top-tier recruits from Louisiana that TCU has successfully signed and developed.
Turpin’s courtship from TCU picked up steam late in the game. His only other Power 5 offer was from Texas Tech.
“That’s one thing that TCU’s done,” McCarty said. “They’ve taken those kids that a lot of folks would look over because of the measuring tape and they take those kids that enjoy playing the game. They recognize that they have a passion for the game of football and know how to fit them into their program. That’s been fun to watch and certainly what they’ve done for him.”
“Sci Martin is a guy that is basically in LSU’s back yard and chose TCU over LSU and Alabama,” Clark said. “His recruitment is still ongoing but I think TCU is going to end up with him. It’s another feather in the cap for the Frogs because they’ve gone down there and the national notoriety they’ve received over the last two years and the fact that those Louisiana players are successful, it’s a very, very big key.”
Travis L. Brown: email@example.com, @Travis_L_Brown.
TCU’s Louisiana pipeline
DB DeShawn Raymond (2015-present): Metairie East Jefferson
WR KaVontae Turpin (2015-present): Monroe Neville
DT Chris Bradley (2014-present): Shreveport Evangel Christian
CB Torrance Mosley (2014-present): Geismer Dutchtown
DT Tevin Lawson (2013-present): Denham Springs
DE Terrell Lathan (2012-2015): West Monroe
DE James McFarland (2012-present): West Monroe
DT Chucky Hunter (2011-14): West Monroe
LB Kenny Cain (2009-12): River Ridge John Curtis
WR Jimmy Young (2006-10): Monroe Ouachita