The recruiting battle for two four-star players from Louisiana comes down to an interesting threesome — LSU, Alabama and TCU.
Most likely, the heavyweights will get their way. Both players appear headed to LSU or one to LSU and the other to Alabama.
So why isn’t TCU backing off? Why put the time and resources into a battle against the odds with two of the titans of recruiting?
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Because there’s always a chance.
“How do you know if you don’t ask?” said Jeremy Clark, publisher of HornedFrogBlitz.com on the 247Sports network.
If TCU is more likely to get one, it’s Harris. He plays a position that TCU plays three of at all times.
Billy Wessels, Rivals.com recruiting expert
Until National Signing Day on Feb. 1, when and if those players sign their letters of intent, nothing is binding.
TCU defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow made a home visit with Harris at 12:01 a.m. Thursday last week, the minute the dead period expired.
“TCU can leave the parting shot with both of them. Leave it fresh on their mind,” Clark said.
TCU is investing the time and effort because it has a keen need for both players. Harris fits an immediate opening as a playmaking free safety. Mathis means another big body for the defensive line, where TCU is trying to add size to match the offensive lines of West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
“It’s hard to say you have a good shot at getting two guys away from LSU and Alabama,” said Billy Wessels, publisher of PurpleMenace.com on the Rivals network. “Mathis has been considered a heavy LSU lean a long time.”
The last day for official visits is Jan. 28. The next day is a quiet period, and Jan. 30 and 31 are dead periods. National Signing Day is Feb. 1.
TCU has some factors in its favor, however.
One, the Frogs have a strong recruiting reputation in Louisiana, particularly Monroe and West Monroe. Kick returner KaVontae Turpin and receiver John Diarse played at Neville High School.
Three years ago, the TCU roster had three defensive linemen from West Monroe High — Chucky Hunter, Terrell Lathan and James McFarland.
“Louisiana recruits do a great job of talking to each other,” Clark said.
In addition, TCU has more playing time to offer to safeties than most schools. The Frogs use three safeties and are losing starter Denzel Johnson. Another starter, Nick Orr, will be a senior in 2017.
“Both LSU and Alabama have gotten some big safety recruits in this class already,” Wessels said. “If TCU is more likely to get one, it’s Harris. He plays a position that TCU plays three of at all times, and it’s an area where they don’t have as many big stars as LSU and Alabama have in this class already.”
TCU has beaten the big boys for a recruit before.
Running back Darius Anderson and former quarterback Foster Sawyer had Alabama offers. Quarterback Shawn Robinson of DeSoto had Ohio State and USC in his top three along with TCU.
“It’s been crazy the last five or six years the amount of guys TCU has had legitimate shots at,” Clark said. “They’ve been in the hunt for a lot of these kids. But when you’ve got battles against LSU and Alabama, that’s a tough pull. Typically, when Louisiana kids get LSU offers, they don’t leave the state.”