Signing Day Preview: “It’s full of stars!”


For nearly a generation TCU fans have stood chest to chest with in state rivals defending the program.  While teams like Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M filled their roster with highly coveted players each February, TCU has thrived with player development of less sought after athletes.  The results speak for themselves.

A team can win the Rose Bowl with a BMX Biker at linebacker and a quarterback who’s only other offer was UTEP.  A team can win the Peach Bowl with a walk on wide receiver who treats the best defense in the SEC like a truck stop toilet, and with a quarterback who’s only other offer was- you guessed it- UTEP.  Names like Jerry Hughes, Paul Dawson, Jason Verrett, and Jonathan Anderson confirm you can fill a trophy case and an NFL roster with less sought after players, because stars don’t matter.

Except stars do matter.  In fact stars mean everything.  The predictive nature of top ten classes and top ten finishes is so well documented that those who argue that “stars don’t matter” sound like the guy outside my postoffice handing out literature to prove the moon landing was staged.  A cursory look at the recruiting classes of 6 of the 7 teams that have made the playoff the first two years confirm that stars do matter.  The lowest ranked four year average recruiting class to make the playoff was Michigan State, who turned in a Cotton Bowl performance that can best be described as embarrassing.  Stars do matter.  So does Gary Patterson.

Outside of the 254 area code, college football fans know that Coach Patterson is able to develop talent like few others.  And once that talent grows ripe he is alone among his peers in creating a scheme that maximizes the talent on his roster.  Player development plus schematic advantage has been the secret sauce for nearly a generation in Fort Worth.  It is what allows fans to shout “stars don’t matter!”  Yet, in the arms race of college football, winning is no longer enough.  Making the playoff is now the expectation for any team that believes they can sniff a conference title.  The 2016 recruiting class has the potential to place TCU in a position to consistently be in the playoff hunt.

Signing Day allows for TCU fans to both celebrate a new class of Horned Frogs, as well as lament why ANYONE with all that talent would go to Texas, Oklahoma, LSU, Baylor (insert team you hate).  We’ve all wondered, “What if Coach Patterson could recruit elite talent, develop that talent, and utilize his scheme that maximizes player productivity?”  The 2016 recruiting class is the answer to that question.

There are four players who signed with TCU today symbolize the upgrade in talent in the 2016 class.  Of course anyone of them could be a bust.  Of course a 3 star recruit could start three years and be All Big 12.  Yet, there is no denying that the TCU class of 2016 has the potential to cement their place in the Top 10 for years to come.

national signing day 2016

Sewo Olonilua

Sewo Olonilua 4 star Athlete from Humble, Texas.  Perhaps the most spirited (or should I say annoying) conversation over the past four months has been what position Sewo should play at TCU.  He was recruited on the defensive side of the ball and committed to TCU.  Plans changed as he expressed his desire to play running back, a position he played at the Army All American game to the praise of his coaches.  Sewo is already on campus and will play running back this spring.  The combination of size, speed and athleticism make him perhaps the greatest natural athlete to step foot on campus for TCU.  When the argument is which position will allow him to thrive in the NFL, recruiting has reached a new level.

national signing day 2016

Ross Blacklock

Ross Blacklock 4 star Defensive Tackle from Missouri City, Texas.  When critics claim TCU cannot win recruiting battles look no further than Blacklock.  He picked TCU over Texas A&M and Alabama.  At nearly 330 pounds, this is the kind of recruit that separates elite teams from great teams.  Scheme can put you in the right place.  Speed can get you there quickly.  A mobile quarterback can cause headaches.  But there is no substitute for large defensive tackles.  If you watch the Alabama-Clemson national title game you will see what separated them from the other 126 teams watching at home.  Blacklock has the potential to contribute as a true Freshmen and start for the two years following.  He possesses the size and skill set to play in the NFL.

national signing day 2016

Isaiah Chambers

Isaiah Chambers 4 star Defensive End from Houston, Texas.  At 260 pounds with lighting speed, Chambers has generated a reputation as an elite pass rusher.  One full cycle in the TCU weight program will have him playing at 275 pounds.  In previous cycles Patterson would likely move Chambers down to Defensive Tackle where his quickness would translate into a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.  But with Blacklock outweighing him by 70 pounds, Chambers is free to utilize his speed off the edge as Blacklock deals with a double team in the box.

national signing day 2016

Austin Myers

Austin Myers 4 star Offensive Linemen from Manvel, Texas.  Playing on a team loaded with talent, Austin Myers committed to TCU early.  Even as Ole Mis and Houston pursued him, the 6’5” 295 tackle seemed to strengthen his commitment over the past two months.  Quick with a strong lower body, Myers will likely see the two deep as a true Freshmen.  Five years ago players like Myers would not have committed to TCU.  They might have visited, listed TCU in their top five, and commented on the close knit nature of the staff and team.  Yet, the combination joining the Big 12 and a 23-3 record over the last two years puts TCU on the radar of players who would not have committed in the past.



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