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Despite smaller class size, Horned Frogs’ 2020 commits can be foundation of strong defense

The addition of four-star defensive tackle Patrick Jenkins gives TCU a trio of strong commits on the defensive side of the football in the 2020 class.

Horned Frogs senior safety Innis Gaines wraps up Iowa State redshirt sophomore running back Johnnie Lang during the Cyclones’ 49-24 victory at Jack Trice Stadium on October 5.

The program’s 13th verbal commit in the 2020 cycle, Marrero, Louisiana four-star defensive tackle Patrick Jenkins pledged to TCU on Tuesday.

While ten of TCU’s 13 current commits are planning to contribute on the offensive side of the football, the defense is taking a “quality over quantity” approach.

Allowing 24.8 points per game, the 2019 Horned Frogs rank about middle of the pack - 58th out of 130 FBS programs. Based on the talent coming up the pipeline, an improvement in 2020 could be in the cards.

Originally committing to the hometown LSU Tigers on June 17, Jenkins decommitted on September 20. A touch on the smaller side for a defensive tackle at 6-foot-2, 285-pounds, he has shown the ability to make up for this with good hands and quick technique.

Surrendering just 79.3 yards per game, TCU’s run defense is No. 11 in America. In his 28th season with the program, defensive line coach Dan Sharp will be tasked with Jenkins’ development.

The Horned Frogs’ other two commits - weakside defensive end James Sylvester and cornerback Keontae Jenkins - are also both four-star prospects.

The highest-rated of the trio, Sylvester uses his speed to get to the quarterback and can close in on ball carriers on the edge quickly. Needing to add some weight at currently about 235-pounds, the Newton, Texas native’s upside is noticeable.

While Patrick Jenkins and Sylvester and going to put their stamp on the defense up front, Keontae Jenkins will reside in the secondary. A product of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Jenkins held offers from Auburn, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and 19 others.

Flashing 4.47 forty-yard dash speed at The Opening Regional in April, his unique combination of speed and ball skills can let cornerbacks coach Jeremy Modkins, Jenkins’ primary recruiter, feel comfortable about leaving him one-on-one on the outside early in his career.

With Julius Lewis and Jeff Gladney set to graduate, there will be an opportunity for Jenkins to compete for playing time at one of the cornerback spots in 2020. Young players themselves, freshmen Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Kee’yon Stewart will likely be his strongest competition.

You likely may have noticed TCU does not have a linebacker commit in the cycle. Expecting to finish this class at around 20 commits, it is possible this could change moving forward. However, it is not necessarily vital for the Horned Frogs to add multiple, or even one, linebacker.

Redshirt freshman Jacoby Simpson, sophomore La’Kendrick Van Zandt, junior Garret Wallow and freshman Dee Winters are all expected to return for defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Chad Glasgow.

On the heels of the 25-point loss in Ames, TCU (3-2) is idle on Saturday before traveling to Manhattan to face Kansas State (3-2) on October 19 (1:30PM CT, FSN).