This is huge for Gary Patterson and the Class of 2018. Vongor is the type of player you build a class around, and the fact it was so important for him to stay in Texas and make an impact on an in-state program speaks volumes for him. And the reason he chose the Frogs speaks volume for the program as a whole. He seems like an outstanding young man, and is a heck of a player to boot.
"TCU really feels like home" Vongor told 247Sports of his decision. "The family atmosphere, the coaches are really genuine and solid and they have a great program, and have had one for a long time with Coach Patterson."
"I feel like they will take me to the next level, not only in my game, but spiritually as well, which is most important to me."
It’s a head-turning commitment over new coaches Herman and Rhule, at Texas and Baylor, respectively. And Vongor has said his choice is final, even with nearly a year to go to signing day.
Vongor, No. 195 in the rankings, is a well-built, physically advanced safety prospect with a nice blend of size, athleticism and play making. At 6-foot-1 and 200-pounds, Vongor is quicker than fast with the ability to defend one-on-one in space, as well as quickly close with burst on the ball in the air. He can be a heavy hitter in the run game, but is most impressive with his instinctive angles he takes to the ball.
If it’s spring time in Fort Worth, then GP must be tinkering with where guys play.
Already, he said he’s moved cornerback Vernon Scott to weak safety and given defensive tackle L.J. Collier snaps at end. The roster reflects two other changes — safety Arico Evans is listed at linebacker, and linebacker Semaj Thomas is listed at defensive tackle.
GP is not only making every job an open competition this spring, but making sure guys know they can move positions at any moment, too. It’s a philosophy that’s worked in the past, so why go back to the drawing board?
“Like any good business model,” Patterson said, “you’ve got to tweak it, but you don’t necessarily have to tear down the whole foundation. For us, the foundation’s there.”
In nearly the same breath, Patterson said as TCU opened spring practice a week ago, “you’re only as good as your weakest link.”
The Frogs signed a trio of highly-sought receivers in the class of 2017, but with several rising seniors in that position group, they’ll gladly take a kid with the talent of Ezukanma in 2018. TCU has made a good impression on the local product so far.
“I loved it; the coaches’ knowledge of the game and how they get their receivers involved is awesome. I really appreciate that,” Ezukanma said. “Getting to talk to Coach P in his office was awesome; that was really the first time I’ve met him.”
As a receiver, Ezukanma likes what he sees from the Frogs’ offense and the way they utilize the receivers. He knows he has a great chance of getting the football.
Miles Battle is another top pass-catching target for Gary Patterson, and he loves the family atmosphere in Fort Worth.
“I liked it a lot; the coaches were all talking about how their philosophy is family and I really liked that and so did my parents,” Battle said. “I really like how close knit all the players are and how former players that have gone on to the NFL and come back and help with the players.”
A first happened for Battle and his parents while at TCU. Battle has plenty of offers but it was the offer from Gary Patterson during the visit that was different from other offers.
“I was talking with him in his office and my parents were in there as well and we were talking about football and he went ahead and offered me,” he said. “It was exciting because my parents were there to see me get offered in person for the first time instead of on the phone.”
Olden is a great addition to a TCU team that could use some depth at the guard position come next season. He will be able to play immediately and have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma native shot 37.3 percent from the field during his freshman season at Pepperdine, while also shooting 30.2 percent from beyond the arc. An ankle injury cut his sophomore season to just nine games. He shot 46 percent from the field, and 44.8 percent from 3-point range in that abbreviated season.
Healthy enough to play in 22 games with the New Mexico Junior College Thunderbirds, Olden shot 38.4 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from long range.
The Frogs fell to the eventual tourney champs. The loss, though it was a blowout, doesn’t take away from an incredible Big 12 Tournament run.
“They played well. We didn’t. We looked fatigued, to be honest with you,” said TCU coach Jamie Dixon, whose team was playing its third game in three days. “We just didn’t seem to respond like I thought we would.”
The Frogs fell to ISU one day after recording an 85-82 upset of top-ranked Kansas to reach the tournament semifinals for the first time in school history. The upset of Kansas marked the first time TCU had beaten a No. 1 team.
It’s been a rough start to a four game swing out west, as the Frogs allowed big innings to Irvine in the first two games of the series.
UCI (8-4) loaded the bases with one out in the first inning and then went on a tear with six straight hits highlighted by a three-run triple from freshman Christian Koss to knock out Horned Frog starter Brian Howard an out into the game. Altogether, it was an eight-run, nine-hit barrage setting the tone for the evening.