Mac Engel

Recruiting stars don’t always align: A look back at TCU’s 2014 signing class

The new names are in, and they are full of stars, all destined to lead TCU football to glory, and they all will eventually wind up in the NFL, playing on Sundays.

On National Signing Day, all things are not only possible but probable.

That’s not how these things go, unfortunately, but for the sake of the day, go with it.

“I don’t try to create that dream. We lose guys because we don’t create that dream,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said Wednesday. “How can they survive if they are not going to be an NFL player? That’s the important thing.”

Often, this is how it plays out: No stars turn out to be players, and four stars have to retire, or hit their ceiling in high school. Or, they are just OK, play four years and graduate.

Take a look at TCU’s class from 2014, and how their hopeful careers fared. TCU signed 24 kids in that class; you will see just how often these stars next to their names actually reflect future success.

Vinny Ascolese LB, 6-3, 220 North Bergen, N.J. ASA College North Bergen HS

A Parade All-American who committed to Arkansas out of high school in 2012 but did not qualify academically. He attended the College of the Sequoias before eventually transferring to TCU where he ... never showed up.

Ty Barrett OL, 6-5, 316 Dallas, Texas Skyline HS, four stars

Played for TCU through 2016, but transferred to Sam Houston State. He became a starter for SHSU in 2018.

Chris Bradley DT, 6-2, 255 Shreveport, La. Evangel Christian Academy

Played as a freshman in 2014 and had a nice four-year career. He was credited with 8.5 sacks and 99 tackles in his career.

L.J. Collier DT, 6-4, 245 Munday, Texas Munday HS, No. 11 rated DE in Texas.

After redshirting as a freshman, he developed into one of the Big 12’s best defensive lineman. He was voted All-Big 12 in 2018, and will participate in the NFL Combine this month.

Trey Elliott OT, 6-4, 275 Dallas, Texas Jesuit College Prep School

He redshirted as a freshman and eventually developed into a spot-player along the offensive line. He had some injury issues. He was voted an All-Academic Big 12 player multiple times. He played in all 13 games in 2018.

Nick Foster CB, 5-11, 170 Keller, Texas Fossil Ridge HS, three stars

Never made it to school.

Ryan Griswold OT, 6-5, 255 Pearland, Texas Pearland HS

He was a medical DQ.

Travin Howard S, 6-1, 190 Longview, Texas Longview HS, three stars

He chose TCU over UT-San Antonio, and he was eventually moved to linebacker. He became the first player in TCU history to lead the team in tackles for three straight seasons. He was first-team all Big 12 multiple times. He was drafted by the L.A. Rams in 2018.

Kenny Iloka S, 6-2, 209 Sugar Land, Texas Tyler JC Kempner HS, top-ranked JUCO safety

He played immediately in 2014, and was a starter in 2015 before he suffered a season-ending injury. He was granted a medical redshirt, and played in seven games in 2016.

Ridwan Issahaku DB, 6-1 , 180 Norcross, Ga. Norcross HS

Moved up the depth chart after he redshirted as a freshman; was a starter in 2017. In ‘18, he became an invaluable starter on a team that was beset with injuries.

Frank Kee OG, 6-4, 345 Mansfield, Texas Tyler JC Timberview HS, ranked as the nation’s No. 3 G

Kee selected TCU over Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State. He briefly played at TCU in ‘14 before suffering an injury. He eventually transferred to Abilene Christian, and switched to the defensive line.

Corey McBride WR, 6-2, 180 Geismar, La. Dutchtown HS, four stars

He selected TCU over Arizona State and Louisville. He redshirted as a freshman, played in one game in 2015 and that was it.

Casey McDermott Vai DE, 6-4, 250 Raytown, Mo. Raytown HS, three stars

After redshirting in 2014, he became a backup player. He did not see any action in 2017. In 2018, he played defensive tackle, offensive line, fullback and tight end. He is hoping to get a shot as a fullback in the NFL.

Torrance Mosley ATH, 5-10, 160 Geismar, La. Dutchtown HS, three stars

He was a two-year letterwinner at TCU, and started three games as a sophomore. He transferred to Southeastern Louisiana after his sophomore season.

Grayson Muehlstein QB, 6-4, 210 Decatur, Texas Decatur HS, No. 4 QB in Texas.

A backup his entire career who played sparingly, until ... seemingly every quarterback on TCU suffered an injury in 2018. As a senior, he came off the bench to lead to TCU three straight wins to end the season, including one to gain bowl eligibility, and an overtime victory in the Cheez-It Bowl over California. In that win over Cal, he threw for 27 yards with four interceptions. For his career, he was 2-0 as a starter.

Shaun Nixon TB, 5-10, 180 Austin, Texas Lake Travis HS, four stars

The biggest “get” of this class; he selected TCU over Clemson and Texas. He was a medical redshirt as a freshman, and started seven games in 2015. He did not play in 2016 because of injury. Injuries forced him to retire from the game.

Corry O’Meally CB, 6-0, 170 Miami, Fla. Ellsworth CC, N. Miami Beach HS, 2nd team JUCO All-American

A reserve player who played in 2014, he became a starter in 2015 and had a team-high 10 pass breakups that season.

Nick Orr CB, 5-10, 166 DeSoto, Texas DeSoto HS, three stars

A terrific player who became a pro, briefly. He was a three-year starter at TCU, and a second-team All American in 2017. He signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent but didn’t make the final roster.

Ryan Parker WR, 6-3, 190 Keller, Texas Fossil Ridge HS, three stars

He signed with TCU but did not qualify. He went to a junior college in Tyler, and he orally committed to attend Oklahoma. Then he flipped and committed to return to TCU. Nope. Never played. Grades got him again.

Emanuel Porter WR, 6-4, 190 Dallas, Texas Lincoln HS, four stars

Chose TCU over Texas and LSU. Played all four seasons, mostly as a reserve. He started five times in 2016, and appeared in 10 games in 2017. As a senior, he caught two passes.

Foster Sawyer QB, 6-5, 215 Fort Worth, Texas All Saints’ Episcopal School, four stars

Chose TCU over Alabama, Missouri, Oregon State and UCLA. He spent his first three years at TCU, where he appeared in a total of 12 games. After his third year at TCU, he transferred to Stephen F. Austin.

Austin Schlottmann OT, 6-6, 280 Brenham, Texas Brenham HS, three stars

Selected TCU over Texas Tech, Iowa State and Arizona State. He played all four years, and was an instrumental starter in his last two years. He was second-team all Big 12 in 2017. Made the Broncos practice squad.

Ty Summers LB, 6-2, 211 San Antonio, Texas Reagan HS, no stars

He originally committed to play at Rice, but flipped to TCU. Summers developed into a top linebacker who in 2015 was honorable mention Big 12 defensive freshman of the year. His only problem was he battled injury, but overall he had a brilliant career. He was invited to the 2019 NFL Combine.

Desmon White WR, 5-7, 150 DeSoto, Texas DeSoto HS, three stars

A four-year player who became a starter in 2017. That season he led TCU in receptions with 41, and scored five touchdowns. He scored three touchdowns in TCU’s win over Stanford in the Alamo Bowl.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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