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TCU Football Signing Day Preview: What to Watch For, Who to Know

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Early Signing Day is December 16th. These are the players we expect to see ink their LOIs.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Texas Christian Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Early Signing Day has become THE signing day for college football; coaches have used it as a way to secure their class ahead of the February push and encourage their players to get officially in the fold as soon as possible.

That’s true at TCU, where 247 Sports reporter Jeremy Clark is reporting that all committed players will sign next Wednesday.

Expected to be a small class heading into the year, the Horned Frogs find themselves with a handful of unexpected openings after a slough of transfers and only eight committed transfers. Needless to say, there’s a lot of work left to be done for the Big 12’s currently last-ranked class.

After picking up several high profile transfers and signing five four stars in 2020, TCU does not have a single four star or higher committed player. Defensive end Chris Murray is the highest-graded player in the group and all eight players are considered of the three star variety.

Let’s take a look at the committed players:

Chris Murray | Hirschi High School | Wichita Falls, TX | 3* (.8847) | SDE

Murray committed back in April and has stayed solid to TCU since, despite fielding offers from 15 programs, including Cincinnati, Ole Miss, and Texas Tech.

Murray has a long track record of success in high school, compiling 130 tackles, 15 sacks, and four PBUs heading into his senior season. He’s got good size at 6’3” and 240 pounds, and has the frame to get a little thicker if needed. He seems tailor-made for the TCU defense, and should be a perfect fit as he grows alongside Ochaun Mathis and Khari Coleman on the outside of the defensive line.

Landyn Watson | Hutto High School | Hutto, TX | 3* (.8784) | WDE

Speaking of perfect fits, if there is a player more born to play defense for Gary Patterson than Landyn Watson, I would sure like to meet him.

I try not to get too heavily invested in recruiting; as someone who works with high school kids, I know better than to pin my hopes and dreams on the wills of a 16-18 year old. But Watson is someone who I knew TCU just HAD to have heading into his junior season, and his eventual commitment in August of this year was a joyous occasion for yours truly.

6’3” and 235 pounds, Watson plays with an incredible motor and a big ol’ chip on his shoulder; I fully expect him to have a Khari Coleman type impact the minute he steps on the field. He’s also been one of the best recruiters for TCU on social media, regularly tweeting about the Horned Frogs and at potential targets. He has a ton of natural leadership ability, and as a kid with 30 offers, you know he can play. The stats show it, too: in his senior season, Watson compiled more than 50 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.

And, oh, that was in just nine games due to COVID.

Alexander Honig | Germany | Germany | 3* (.8688) | QB

Quite possibly the most interesting commit, ever, for TCU, quarterback Alexander Honig makes his way officially stateside this spring.

Honig is a big, strong, imposing QB with a rocket arm and natural ability out the wazoo. But he’s as raw as they come, having played his high school ball overseas, and with very little experience playing against American football players.

That being said, all the tools are there to be an elite QB at the next level, and he’s got a couple of years to sit behind Max Duggan and learn the game.

Honig became kind of a national story; it’s not often that you see European prospects play college football, outside of kickers and punters, and it’s incredibly rare to see one play the game’s post important position. But Honig is just that, and there were at least three colleges that believed in his ability enough to offer him, including TCU and Baylor (who offered him when Matt Rhule’s staff was still running things). At 6’6” he’s a very different-looking player than Duggan, and would be more of a pocket-passer than the dual-threat passers that have roamed the field under Sonny Cumbie for the last six years. But he’s willing to change positions if he can’t beat out the competition — and there will be plenty — and is a good enough athlete to have an impact on the game in a variety of ways.

Chase Jackson | Choctaw High School | Choctaw, OK | 3* (.8640) | WR

Jackson has quickly become an important member of the class of 2021; with the Frogs watching four wide receivers transfer out over the course of the season, depth has been at a premium down the stretch. Jackson could be the perfect guy to help alleviate that.

A classic late riser, Jackson was offered by nine schools, including Texas, who came calling in August. But he stuck true to his TCU pledge after committing in May, and now the 6’2” speedster is primed to sign next week.

Unfortunately for Chase, his senior season was cut short due to a fractured Patella (ouch), an injury suffered in the first quarter of the first game of his season after catching his first ball. He had 56 catches for 1,342 yards and scored 15 times as a junior.

A former QB, Jackson has just one season as a receiver under his belt. But with a record of productivity and a 40 time in the 4.4 range, he should be just fine at the next level.

Noah Bolticoff | Rose Hill High School | Rose Hill, KS | 3* (.8626) | OG

Thank you, Blaize Foltz.

The Foltz family is a TCU Football institution, and now that Blaize (2012 graduate) is coaching back at his alma mater, he is helping to send kids the Horned Frogs’ way.

Bolticoff is one such athlete, picking the Frogs over Big 12 rivals Kansas and Kansas State and Vanderbilt of the SEC. After initially pledging to the Wildcats a year ago, Bolticoff switched shades of purple in June. He is likely to remind a lot of folks of another great TCU offensive lineman, Lucas Niang, for his big frame, ability to get to the second level in run blocking, and relative quickness. He will likely need a redshirt year in the weight room, but all of the physical tools are there and his IQ is really high. Plus, he’s been trained by a coach who knows GP and TCU very well.

Jaspar Lott | Argyle High School | Argyle, TX | 3* (.8614) | OT

Another offensive lineman, Lott is a recent Texas transplant whose father is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Chargers. He’s played the last two seasons in Texas after starting his high school career at J Serra, and has starred at tight end for both schools. He will move inside at the next level — most likely — where his 6’5” frame will be an imposing presence for would-be pass rushers.

Lott is a little slow for a tight end (clocked at 5.26 40) but is super athletic for a tackle, and as he continues to add good weight he seems tailor-made for success on the offensive line. He will need some time to develop and learn the position, but could be an impact-player for the Frogs in a couple of years time. He’s certainly one of the more intriguing prospects in the group, with a super high ceiling but a few unknowns. He chose TCU from among 17 offers (15 from Power Five schools), including Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, and Oklahoma State.

Trent Battle | Daphne High School | Daphne, AL | 3* (.8614) | Dual

Battle is likely the most intriguing prospect in the class, as the uber-athletic Alabama QB has a chance to play multiple positions at the next level and be instant offense when he steps on the field.

At 6’1” and 200 pounds, Battle doesn’t have the prototypical size for a quarterback, but that hasn’t stopped him from being incredibly productive at the high school level. With blazing speed and a high football IQ, Battle is, simply put, a playmaker. He has 14 offers, including Tennessee, A&M, and Virginia, and programs like Alabama and Auburn came sniffing around late as well. He has been committed to the Frogs since April, and has not wavered despite the Volunteers putting on a full-court press.

Speedy and quick, Battle has been clocked with a 4.53 40, but he’s also strong — benching 325 and squatting over 500 pounds. While most expect a position change at the next level, Battle will be given a shot to compete with Honig to be the next man up when Duggan’s time in Fort Worth is through.

TJ Steele | Estacado High School | Lubbock, TX | 3* (.8565) | WR

The most recent addition to the class of 2021, Steele is another receiver that the Frogs have stolen out from under Texas Tech’s shadow, as he joins Blair Conwright in heading east from Lubbock.

Having committed just a few short weeks ago, Steele was a Thanksgiving gift to the TCU staff, and could be another diamond in the rough uncovered by the exceptional recruiters in Funky Town.

Fast as hell, Steele has been clocked at 10.8 in the 100 yard dash and 4.34 in the 40, part of what attracted TCU to the former North Texas commit. From a big family with six brothers who all played football, Steele is no stranger to competition and has toughness to boot. He has been incredibly productive for Estacado, and with depth lacking at WR for TCU, he will get a chance to blow by defenders for the Frogs early. Through the regular season this year, he gained more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 13 offensive touchdowns. He caught 39 passes for 585 yards and six TD’s on 15.0 yards per reception, while rushing for 447 yards and seven scores on more than eight yards per carry. As a junior, he compiled more than 900 yards from scrimmage and scored 12 times.

Not Done Yet

With just eight expected signees, the Frogs have somewhere between 7-10 scholarship spots to fill, by my rough estimation. At least half of those will likely go to transfers, but don’t be surprised if four or five more true freshmen are inked in February. With COVID-related recruiting restrictions, it’s hard to get much of a bead on who is on the radar, but you can expect more help in the trenches for true freshmen and likely transfers at the skill positions as well as at least one veteran offensive lineman. It’s a very different style than what we are accustomed to, but TCU will likely hold off on filling all of their available spots until they know what players are out there as “free agents” that could help immediately.

The Early Signing Period begins Wednesday, December 16th.