It’s not an unusual perspective to want to give Shawn Robinson a chance to start as a true freshman, but this is a pretty in-depth look into why he should get a true shot at the starting job this fall.
Robinson has upside. Tons of it. He can elude and outrun defenders in open space. The ball comes out of his hands with velocity. He can throw vertically downfield, and he throws well on the run.
The true freshman actually draws a lot of (very premature) comparisons to Boykin for those reasons.
He’s also very raw. His accuracy is spotty. He completed just 58.2 percent of his passes as a senior, behind an offensive line with three players who will be on Power 5 rosters this fall. He also got to throw to stud 4-star receiver K.D. Nixon. His decision-making is questionable at times as well.
Having only eight seniors in the class of 2016 made for a tough season last year, but should pay dividends going forward.
In 2014, Oregon reached the CFP final, and TCU 12-1 and finished third in the polls. But while they went a combined 25-3 that year, they went just 10-15 last fall. A plummet to 4-8 got Oregon's Mark Helfrich fired, but he left an experienced roster for Willie Taggart.
After significant youth movements in 2016, the Ducks and Horned Frogs both return as much of last year's production as anyone in the country not named Florida International.
The Frogs brought in a ton of local DFW talent, while also stretching their pipelines to Louisiana and the west coast.
Robinson will draw immediate comparisons to 2015 Heisman candidate Trevone Boykin, with a big arm and elite mobility. Reagor adds a potential big-play threat at the receiver position the Frogs lacked after Josh Doctson graduated following his breakout 2015 season. TCU's leading receiver in 2016 was running back Kyle Hicks, and only one player recorded more than 450 yards after Doctson’s 79-catch, 1,300-yard season the year before.
Gary Patterson has worked hard to develop relationships with coaches and players from the Boot, and is had paid off in a rich history of talented heading to TCU.
West Monroe's Dennis Collins, a three-star defensive end prospect who committed to TCU in the summer, became the latest NELA prep star to pack his bags for Fort Worth, Texas, joining seven others who have called TCU home in the last six years.
"If you see somebody going there and they have success, you feel like you can be successful there too," Collins told The News-Star on Wednesday. "Everybody went there graduated with four-year degrees and everything. They say they set people up for 40 years, not just four years."
Mike O was thought to be leaning towards the Huskers, but stayed true to the school whose visit he called ‘hard to top’.
Onyemaobi visited both TCU and Nebraska over the final two weeks before signing day. Former Cal coach Sonny Dykes is now an analyst on the TCU coaching staff, and that helped Onyemaobi feel a little more comfortable there.
Another top defender from Louisiana? The Frogs keep reaching into the Boot and pulling out stars.
The three-star safety said TCU stood out among 20 other offers including Arkansas, Nebraska and Michigan.
“It was a perfect fit for me on and off the field,” he said. “It was just the right decision. Today was a great experience. All the hard work has paid off, so now I just want to continue to do that as a freshman and let it play out in God’s hands.”
The Frogs made an under-the-radar move in offering a preferred walk-on spot to the TCU legacy who will be listed as a Tight End/H-Back on the roster.
Koch chose the Horned Frogs over similar offers from West Virginia, Syracuse and SMU. His father was a student there in the ‘80s, and Koch has been attending camps in TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium his entire high school career. The only thing he hasn’t done is actually attend a game thanks to flight troubles that canceled a trip his junior year.
“It’s honestly kind of my dream school,” Koch said. “It’s the team I grew up rooting for on Saturdays, the academics are great and the football program competes on a national level.”
TCU’s wide receiving corp is insanely talented. Reagor might be the best of the bunch.
I was watching highlights of Reagor last week when I suddenly had to stop, rewind and watch again. There should be no questions about what this kid is capable of after you see what the Waxahachie (Texas) wideout did to the defense of Highland Park, a program that went on to win a state title.
TCU has just a handful of senior contributors to replace, but they comprise a lot of production from the defensive line.
Josh Carraway, DL, TCU
Carraway’s speed and length as an edge rusher fit exceptionally well into TCU head coach Gary Patterson’s defense. In three seasons as a starter for the Horned Frogs, Carraway proved to be a consistently disruptive force on the outside of TCU’s anti-spread scheme. Patterson typically has a plan for the next man up, but replacing Carraway might not be typical.
It’s a big, physical, nasty group - that could contribute sooner rather than later.
“What I like is they all come from programs, the high school guys, that are very well coached,” Patterson said. “And they’re programs where they’re coached tough. It’s one of those things where they’ve got a chance to come in and excel earlier because they come from places where they expect to win state titles.”
There is room for improvement among the wide receivers - and these kids should at the very least help get the best out of the incumbents - or be contributors themselves.
TCU coach Gary Patterson often expressed frustration last season about his receivers, with their inconsistent performances and quite a few dropped passes.
On signing day Wednesday, the Horned Frogs added some potential help with a pair of four-star receivers who played their senior seasons not too far from the TCU campus: Jalen Reagor from Waxahachie and Omar Manning from Lancaster.
Vlad wasn’t much of a factor early in the game, but he came up huge down the stretch.
Brodziansky's jumper with 25 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 73 and then he blocked a shot but Stokes, who got the ball back but couldn't get a last shot to fall.
"He was big down the stretch," TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. "He is a hard guy to guard, especially when we have the four shooters around and we are making shots."
Seniors Karviar Shepherd, Michael Williams, Brandon Parrish, and Chris Washburn played significant minutes in the Frogs’ win - their first ever in Manhattan.
“The seniors had never beaten K-State, never won here, and we hadn’t beaten K-State in 19 years,” Dixon said. “All year we’ve been talking about doing firsts this year in our program’s history, and this is a huge win for us and huge win for our program.”
The jersey of former TCU basketball player Kurt Thomas, a four-year standout who was an All-American during the 1995 season, will be retired by the school during Saturday’s game against Texas in Schollmaier Arena (noon, ESPNEWS) as part of a Retro Rewind afternoon. TCU also will be wearing a replica of the uniforms work by Horned Frogs’ teams from the years 1949-50 until 1963-64 with the word “Frogs” written in script on the front.