TCU coach Gary Patterson called it the most complete class, for its size, he’s had in Fort Worth.
The rating services called it his best.
The Horned Frogs added 16 high school players and former receiver recruit Ryan Parker from Tyler Junior College on Wednesday to a group that already included five other junior college players.
The class, with what TCU called a school-record 10 four-star signees, was ranked No. 17 by 247Sports.com at one point Wednesday and No. 21 in a composite ranking of 247Sports, Rivals, Scout and ESPN. TCU said its previous best was No. 23 in 2011 following the Rose Bowl victory against Wisconsin.
Last season, the TCU class ranked No. 26.
“I don’t get overly excited about recruits,” Patterson said. “I am, but I’m not. This is one of those classes where we were able to go out and fill needs. We’ll only have seven seniors in this next class, so it was very important for us to make sure that the guys we got would be for the next five years, that they had the Frog factor and were guys that we wanted to be a part of. Really, it’s a dynamic class. It’s a great group as far as just people.”
TCU announced seven four-star high school signees — running back Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua, defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, defensive end Isaiah Chambers, safety Innis Gaines, receiver Isaiah Graham and offensive tackle Austin Myers — and three four-star junior college signees — receivers Parker and Taj Williams and linebacker Tyree Horton.
Parker, a former Keller Fossil Ridge standout who committed to TCU out of high school in 2014, spent two years at Tyler Junior College and was rated the No. 2 junior college receiver. Williams was rated No. 1.
“He’s a guy, you put the ball in his hands, he’s going to score touchdowns,” Patterson said of Parker. “That’s why we signed him the first time.”
TCU said the 10 four-star signees give the school 33 over the past eight classes, compared to five in the eight classes before that.
The class includes 13 in-state players, including Mansfield Summit safety Vernon Scott and Fort Worth Paschal quarterback Dylan Thomas, who will play receiver with the Horned Frogs.
The Frogs went to Arizona and Connecticut for the first time, landing junior college safety Markell Simmons and offensive tackle Lucas Niang, respectively. Patterson said the Frogs beat out Oregon and Miami for Niang.
“Us going up to Connecticut obviously shows you that TCU’s image and our reach is becoming bigger and bigger as far as guys understanding us on a national level,” Patterson said.
Eight players enrolled when the spring semester began, including junior college defensive end Mat Boesen, junior college guard Chris Gaynor, safety Simmons and the receiver Williams. The early enrollees out of high school are quarterback Brennen Wooten, tight end Artayvious Lynn, receiver Isaiah Graham and running back Sewa Olonilua.
Lynn chose TCU over Florida.
Dallas Skyline athlete Camron Williams did not play last season after spending his junior season at First Baptist Academy.
“We’re going to call him a defensive end,” Patterson said. “But to be honest with you, he’s kind of an athlete. He’s another 6-4 guy that can play an inside ‘H’ receiver or he can play defensive end. So we’re going to see how he grows, how our team develops, how we put the best football team together we can when we get here in the fall.”
TCU invested in the offensive and defensive lines.
Myers, an offensive tackle from Manvel, was an Under Armour All-American in high school. Gaynor was an NJCAA All-American and the nation’s No. 11-ranked offensive tackle. Niang was named to the 2015 Walter Camp All-Connecticut Team. Kellton Hollins is rated seventh nationally among centers, and Patterson said TCU “battled with some SEC guys” to secure the Zachary, La., player.
On the defensive line, Blacklock was a U.S. Army All-American and would be TCU’s biggest player on the defensive line next season. Boesen began his career at Boise State, where he had three sacks as a freshman; at Long Beach Community College, he had 21 1/2 tackles for loss with eight sacks.
Gaines was the No. 41 safety in the nation, and Patterson credited him for “sticking with us all along” in the face of other recruiting pitches. Summit’s Scott was the No. 11 safety in Texas. Ke Shawn Somerville was the No. 8 cornerback in Texas and holds the Pflugerville Hendrickson High School record in the 200 meters.
The Horned Frogs did not lose any commitments, although one remained unsigned. Defensive end Sci Martin of New Orleans, heavily recruited by LSU, reportedly planned to delay his decision.
The current list of TCU signees does not include two FBS transfers, receiver John Diarse of LSU and defensive end Ben Banogu of Louisiana-Monroe. Diarse graduated from LSU and has two seasons of eligibility; Banogu, who had five sacks last season, will sit out 2016.