Two defenders and a kicker sport the number 49 for the Frogs, but there is one in particular that we expect big things from in the future. Incoming freshman Semaj Thomas has a chance to be an instant impact player at a position where the Frogs will be breaking in new blood - the 6'2", 225 pound linebacker could conceivably get on the field as a true freshman.
Thomas, a Fort Worth kid out of Southwest High School, epitomizes the new Big 12, choosing the Frogs over conference mates Texas and Oklahoma. But, for the local kid, signing with TCU was the ultimate honor:
"I was real excited, I told them that it was a dream come true me because I’ve wanted to go there since my freshman year. It was exciting. I was nervous at first; I couldn’t believe it was happening."
The second rated LB in the state, Thomas is a good athlete with sideline to sideline range, and the ability to make the big hit. Whether he suits up as a true frosh, or takes a redshirt year to better prepare, he is a great fit in GP's 4-2-5 and should be a household name by the end of his career.
Place kicker Brandon Hatfield also wears #49, and we will forgive you for not knowing that information, as he is behind another pretty good kicker (that you'll hear more about in two weeks or so). At 6'3", 230 pounds, the Chino Hills, Ca native could probably make the switch to offensive line with just a few more trips through the buffet. A good kicker in his own right, Hatfield nailed a 47 yarder his senior year, and made 13 of 17 attempts on the season.
Our last #49 is Garrett Kaufman, a linebacker out of Bentonville, Ark. Originally committed to Arkansas State, Kaufman transferred to Northwestern State in Louisiana to play baseball after a coaching change soured him on football. He must have missed the game though, as he left Northwestern to walk on at TCU. Kaufman will be eligible in the fall, and have a chance to compete to be a part of the rotation of young guys manning the middle of the defense.
49 days... three intriguing players... kickoff is getting closer!