Anyone that watched KaVontae Turpin's highlight fill probably saw that "it factor". That something extra that led fans to believe that he had a chance to be truly special, even at his size. If you saw that, you were not wrong, as he became a freshman All-American and one of the best offensive weapons in the Big XII. As we look at the Class of 2016, the most highly rated crop to ever sign with Gary Patterson, there are a plethora of potential stars inking up. But today, we look for those under the radar talents, those Gary Patterson specials if you will, that will go from being also-rans to household names. While it's hard to find a lot of under Frogs in a class loaded with three and four star talent, these are some of the less-heralded names today that will be the stars of tomorrow.
Vernon Scott, Safety (Mansfield Summit): A three star safety who's only Power Five offer was from TCU, Scott fits the profile of the Gary Patterson find to a T. With his only other offers coming from Air Force, New Mexico, SFA, and Texas State, Scott snapped up TCU's invitation in July and has remain solid since. At 6'2" and 193 pounds, Vernon has close to ideal size for the position and should excel in the 4-2-5. While he doesn't possess blazing speed (4.63), he has exceptional quick twitch and the kind of instinct GP prizes. He's a ballhawk who is very effective if he gets his hands on the rock, and isn't afraid to step up and lay a big hit in run support. While his footwork will need some refining, he has the raw tools and a great motor.
Dylan Thomas, WR (Paschal): Growing up in the shadow of Amon G Carter Stadium, the former Paschal QB always dreamed of suiting up in purple as a collegian. A devastating knee injury his senior year impinged his recruitment, but he was sold on TCU all the way back in December of 2014, when he committed six months after first being offered by the Frogs. A shifty athlete who possesses 4.5 speed, Thomas will likely make the move to wide receiver once on campus this summer. After blowing out his knee early in his senior season, Thomas showed his #FrogFactor, staying close to his team, attending games and practices, and working so hard in rehab that he recovered in time to join PHS's varsity basketball team this winter. His triple threat ability - he can run, catch, and be used as a passer for trick plays - makes him a perfect fit for the Frog's air raid offense. While he will likely redshirt this fall (the depth at wide receiver is almost unheard of), he's a name to keep an ear out for in the future.
Gary Overshown, DE (Horn): While it's tough to name a kid with 14 offers (including one from OU) a sleeper, Overshown has basically flown under the radar in comparison with TCU's bigger defensive signings since his commitment last June. At 6'5" and 240 pounds, Overshown is a rangy defender that could even be considered at linebacker in the future due to his exceptional speed and fluid athleticism; he has been clocked at 4.5 in the 40 and was an absolute terror in the backfield for Horn, who plays in the largest classification in Texas. He has the natural ability, high motor, and coachability that GP values. He also has the frame to put on more weight, without losing speed, to make him into a terror off the edge.
Artayvious Lynn, TE (Milford Academy Preparatory School): You may not remember this, but there was a time when the tight end was a staple of the TCU offense. With the switch to the Air Raid, that position hasn't been utilized much, but the addition of Lynn could change that. Whether as a blocker on the line or out of the backfield or a receiver, Lynn has some incredible physical gifts to go along with his impressive size (6'6") and speed (4.55 40). Initially committed to UMass, Lynn spent a year at Milford Academy before choosing TCU over Florida. The selling point for the prospect was being photographed in his graduation gown, something he said no school had ever done for him. His physical and mental maturity could pay immediate dividends for Patterson and the Frogs.
Markell Simmons, S (JuCO): The success of GP's 4-2-5 defense is often predicated by the play of the secondary, and having a rangy, smart safety is the engine that makes the whole thing hum. 6'1" three star Simmons might just be that guy. An early enrollee, he will get plenty of spring reps as Kenny Illoka recovers from his in season knee injury, and should be a perfect fit as a guy who is great in coverage and more than willing to help in run support. With Illoka and Texada back from injury, the rise of Nick Orr, and the yet untapped physical potential of Deshawn Raymond, a backend that was a weakness in 2015 could be come a strength in the fall. Sadly, the injury to Julius Lewis leaves a hole for GP to fill, but an experienced transfer like Simmons offers immediate assistance.