There has been some serious controversy over the state of 'satellite camps', football showcases that bring together staffs of various colleges to function as a sort of meat market for talented athletes. Once banned, the camps were reinstated soon thereafter, leaving major players to scramble for partners. For TCU, the scrambling produced some pretty tasty eggs.
Gary Patterson, recently ranked as the third-best coach in college football by CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli, will partner with the number one and two ranked coaches in the country, Alabama's Nick Saban and Ohio State's Urban Meyer respectively, as well as USC and a handful of mid-majors for his Gary Patterson Football Camps, an annual tour of Texas that has grown exponentially since the Frogs joined the Big 12 Conference.
Patterson will host 16 camps this summer, ranging in age from rising eighth graders to soon-to-be seniors. The camps will be held across the state, with locations in East Texas, Houston, Plano, and of course, TCU's home field. Urban Meyer and Ohio State will be in attendance for the first Friday Night Lights Camp on June 3rd at the Carter, with Saban, Kiffin, and his crew will be featured for Saturday Night Lights a day later. Bama and USC will join TCU in Houston for a pair of day camps on June 9th and 10th, and the Trojans will have their presence felt in North Texas on June 12th for a Plano Mini Camp.
Saban and Patterson have a solid relationship, having spent time with each other's programs in the past, as they exchanged visits a year ago. Saban and Kiffin came to Fort Worth to study TCU's Frog Raid offense, while Patterson repaid the visit to Tuscaloosa to study up on Bama's recruiting strategies. The two coaches are quite a bit alike, as they are known for their somewhat gruff personalities on the field, and the care they show for their athletes off of it. Meyer, meanwhile, is a future TCU opponent - as the two schools have a home and home set scheduled for 2018 and 2019. Theoretically, they could be recruiting against each other for athletes that could suit up against them in just a few seasons' time. Also worth noting, while the Buckeyes and Frogs are buddying up this summer, their biggest rivals will be doing the same - Michigan and Baylor have a camp partnership as well.
While many have mixed feelings on these camps, they are college football's new reality, for at least the foreseeable future. TCU's ability to draw two of the biggest names in the sport, as well as one of the most well-respected traditionally powers - speaks to the respect the program, and Patterson, have nationally. It also doesn't hurt to be in Texas, and to be able to latch on to the relationships with high school coaches that GP has cultivated over the past decade and a half. One of the most well-respected coaches in the state, Patterson is almost universally beloved by the high school staffs in Texas due to his hands-on nature in recruiting and the amount of communicating he does with the high school coaches directly. Lastly, the facilities on TCU's campus - including the stadium and state of the art indoor practice facility, are also top-notch and excellent options for hosting these types of camps on a large scale. For all of these reasons, and more, it's obvious why these other top-tier programs are spending their summer with Gary Patterson and TCU.