Marvin E. Newman, via 3.bp.blogspot.com
It used to be simpler... a lot simpler. Football used to be an extra-curricular activity you played for fun at your school. Nobody went to college just to play football, and you certainly didn't choose your college based on it. But then it got 'popular', up to fanatical, and soon profitable! And they're off! In 1964, the NCAA instituted the Letter of Intent (LOI) concept, and its been an arms (and legs) race ever since. There are whole staffs who work on recruiting now, year round... watching tapes, compiling stats, traveling across the country to get that stud player who'll push your team over the top to victory (which of course means even more $).
Hopefully, somebody, with inside savvy on the nuts and bolts, will write an article on how its done. But not me, not now... just know that its being done... very well... by your FROGS brass. For now, I'm going to try to bring you up to date on who we're chasing, and what our chances are of catching them. I can't bare to list those who (ugh!) made the horrible mistake of picking another team. There's no way I can include a complete listing, but there are numerous publications devoted to that, as well as the big online 'gods' - rivals.com, scout.com, 247.com, espn.com, si.com. All have dozens of pages of any way you can think of to rank everyone. Sadly, I can't tie it all into our scholarship picture; I couldn't find that info, and apparently the FOW staff that I asked couldn't either (but I still love 'em... I may need body parts someday). But we do know we have 18 graduating seniors, so we need to find about that many replacements. We already have 10 verbal commits (posted elsewhere on FOW), so look for us to add 5-10 more.
So let's get started... first, how do we decide who to go after? TCU doesn't reveal their strategy, but we can tell a lot about it on our own. In general, they have 3 lists of prospects. The FIRST priority is the easy picks of 4*-5* supermen that every team wants. We know we won't get many of these, but have to try; you only need 2-3 to have a very good class. There are only about 30 5* athletes, and we'll know we've finally arrived as a power when we start getting even one of those semi-regularly; but there are about 220 4*s, so here's where competition is the thickest. The SECOND list is our traditional bases, mostly TX (tho this is changing as our reputation grows), where about 3/4 of our team comes from. Our best out of state taps are LA and CA (surprise! and thank you Rose Bowl). We also usually get someone from FL & GA. Its no coincidence these are the traditional football-rich states. We know Patterson's intent is to build a wall around DFW and make it our base; that makes sense, but won't be easy breaking the long-held advantages of the big boys at UT, aTm, OU; and I hear there are other local colleges (?) who want their share too. Everyone on the first 2 lists gets an offer. Not so the THIRD list of 2*-and-lower. This is where Patterson excels in finding raw gems of talent. Many of these will get our offer... IF they pick us. By default, there is a FOURTH list of those we looked at but don't make the cut; this can change if our top 3 lists don't get enough results (but means we didn't do well). The FROGS made offers to about 80 athletes, knowing we won't get most. This is called "over-booking", and everyone does it because it usually works itself out by the end of recruiting; but some (cough-saban-cough-myers-cough) do it a whole whole lot and risk sanctions.
Space doesn't allow me to list everyone we've offered; you can look those up yourself on scouting sites. What I will list here are our best bets and our odds of getting them (based on composites of all recruiting sites), listed by ranking; all these players have us on their list: Boldface signifies those most favorable to sign with TCU.
stars , name , pos.rank , ht , wt , 40 , hometown (high school) , # of schools player is considering... TCU's signing odds & comments
***** TONY BROWN, #1 CB, 6'1", 185, 4.34; Beaumont TX (Ozen HS); list of 21... doubtful, leaning to LSU
***** BRADEN SMITH, #2 OT, 6'6", 292; Olath KS (Olath South HS); list of 3... high, some say we're behind ND & aTm, but he has a sister at TCU
**** LAURENCE JONES, #5 S, 6'2", 210; Monroe LA (Neville HS); list of 10... unknown, but edge to LSU
**** NICK WATKINS, #9 CB, 6'1", 180; Dallas TX (Bishop Dunne HS); list of 25... medium, leaning to UT
**** STEVEN PARKER, #16 S, 6'2", 185; Jenks OK (Jenks HS); list of 20... doubtful, leaning to OU
**** JOHN BONNEY, #18 S, 6'0.5", 175; Houston TX (Lamar HS); list of 22... good, but hasn't hinted yet of favorites
**** JOHN PLATTENBURG Jr., #19 CB, 5'11", 187; Houston TX (Lamar HS); list of 22... doubtful, favors CA scene
**** DARRION JOHNSON, #28 CB, 5'11", 170; Navasota TX (Navasota HS); list of 4... good, but behind UT
**** EDWIN FREEMAN, #20 OLB, 6'2", 210; Arlington TX (Bowie HS); list of 3... good, but we trail UT & aTm; has Kenny Perry ties
*** KEVIN SHORTER, #28 RB, 6'0", 180; Newton TX (Newton HS); list of 11... doubtful, not offered yet
*** BRAD LUNDBLADE, #11 C/OG, 6'3", 290, 4.52; Argyle TX (Liberty Chr. HS); list of 16... unknown, not offered yet
*** JAKE BLOMSTROM, #22 MLB, 6'3", 235; Katy TX (Katy HS); list of 11... unknown, not offered yet
*** CHANDLER LENIU, #26 MLB, 6'1", 224; Bellflower CA (St.John Bosco HS); list of 26... unknown
*** SEKOU CLARK, #43 DE, 6'3", 235; Denton TX (Ryan HS); list of 9... unknown, not offered yet
*** KENDALL RANDOLPH, #48 S/CB, 5'11", 180; Tallahassee FL (Lincoln HS); list of 26... unknown
*** DEION SINGLETON, #51 S, 6'1.5", 175; Tallahassee FL (Godby HS); list of 17... unknown
*** CEDRIC DALE, #62 CB, 5'9", 175, 4.4; Lewisville TX (Hebron HS); list of 10... unknown, not offered yet
*** JAH'SHAWN JOHNSON, #66 CB, 5'10", 170; Ennis TX (Ennis HS); list of 3... high, w/TT & Iowa
*** NEHEMIAH WAGNER, #71 CB, 6'0", 170, 4.45; Mesquite TX (Horn HS); list of 13... unknown, not offered yet
*** DANIEL WISE, #74 DE, 6'3", 235; Lewisville TX (Hebron HS); list of 11... unknown, not offered yet
*** DAKOTA ALLEN, #80 OLB, 6"2", 227; Houston TX (SummerCreek HS); list of 4... high, w/KSU, OU, TT
*** WILLIE IVERY, #91 RB, 5'9", 180; SulphurSprgs TX (SulphurSprgs HS); list of 13... unknown, not offered yet
*** KENT MYERS, #134 WR, 6'1", 175; Sachse TX (Sachse HS); list of 8... unknown, not offered yet
*** TROY BACON, #31 OG, 6'4", 280; AppleValley CA (AppleValley HS); list of 11... unknown
*** VIN ASCOLESE, Juco MLB, 6'2", 225, 4.5; N. Bergen NJ (Sequoias JC); list of 4... good
*** JOSH KEYS, Juco S, 6'2", 185, 4.45; Seminary MS (MS Gulf Coast JC); list of 23... unknown
** ANTHONY VILLALOBOS, #98 DE, 6'3", 250, 4.78; Keller TX (Fossil Ridge HS); list of 11... unknown, not offered yet
** MATTHEW ROCKETT, nr WR, 5'9", 172; Santa Ana CA (Mater Dei HS); list of 18... unknown, not offered yet
** QUINN SMITH, nr TE, 6'5", 237; Encinitas CA (La Costa Canyon HS); list of 25... unknown, not offered yet
** MORI SAVINI, nr DT, 5'10", 265; Salt Lake City UT (Taylorsville HS); list of 12... unknown, not offered yet
** DEMONTE KING, nr S, 6'0", 190; Los Alamitos CA (Los Alamitos HS); list of 12... unknown, not offered yet
** CHRIS GLOVER, Juco CB, 6'0", 180, 4.45; Culver City CA (West L.A. JC); list of 8... unknown, not offered yet
Most of those on this list will not sign with TCU, but everyone who we do sign is likely listed here. Also, there are several unrated players at all positions on our watch list, if needed; all not offered yet. Those listed as unknown in their signability are because they have not yet rated or whittled down their school offers list, so these ratings will change over time. There is no need to panic yet... you can see that most athletes have not yet made any commit decision, or even school visits yet. Remember all these seniors are just starting training for their HS senior year; some like to get their college decision over and done early, while others don't yet know where they want to go or else prefer to concentrate on their prep ball first. So it is very important and possible for a college to impress/sway prospects with a strong winning season!
The LOI signing period doesn't start until Feb. 5, '14 & ends April 1.