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TCU Football has had a lot of great linebackers. Garret Wallow is one of the best ever.

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Among the greats, Wallow stands out both on and off the field.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Baylor
Garret Wallow is the heart and soul of the TCU defense.
Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

“I definitely had a great career here and met some great people. I learned a lot of football, I grew from a boy to a man. It’s been one of the best experiences of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Garret Wallow has been the quintessential TCU Horned Frog from the moment he arrived on campus back in 2017. One of the top safety prospects in the country, Wallow committed to TCU in September of his junior year, the next in a long line of great defensive players out of Louisiana to thrive under Gary Patterson.

As a true freshman, he saw time in all 14 games, including the Alamo Bowl. Despite the fact that most of his action to that point had been on special teams, he was ready for the moment. “I remember I just ran in and didn’t even look at the sideline. I was so prepared, I already knew what the play was” As a sophomore, he made seven starts — with time at both safety and linebacker, something that he believes has paid dividends throughout his career. “It’s actually helped me out a lot. I got to learn the defense from multiple positions. It just builds my IQ and it’s going to help me on so many levels intelligence-wise.”

But, by his junior year, he had established himself as TCU’s next great LB, leading the Big 12 with 125 tackles and becoming an All-Conference level player. As a senior? He became The Captain, with a capital T — the face of the Horned Frogs.

COVID rules mean that each team can send just one player out for the coin toss instead of the normal 4: for nine games this season, it has been #30 standing at the 50 yard line. For the last two years, when the Frogs have had a bad game, suffered a bad loss, or been in a bad way, it’s been Garret Wallow taking the podium to answer questions from the media, and always doing so with grace and class. I will never forget waiting on Wallow in the bowels of Jack Trice Stadium’s weight room or after that especially brutal loss in Stillwater a season ago, or knowing it would be his face popping up on zoom after the Kansas State and Oklahoma games.

Over the last few years, there has seemed to be a leadership void in TCU Football, but in 2020, Wallow took the mantle himself and took charge of a small senior class, one that features just 17 players — 10 of whom are scholarship players — and many of whom are out with season-ending injuries and three of whom are in their first year at TCU after transfering. There weren’t many veteran Frogs, and that left it up to Wallow to take the mantle. “We definitely have a small senior class and that’s something out of our control. At the end of the day, I took a lot of pride in being a leader starting my junior year and that’s kicked in more this year being that our senior class is so small,” he said. That has been a recipe for success, according to Gary Patterson. “I judge kids by how much enjoyment I have getting a chance to coach them. He’s one of those guys that could be your son. How hard he plays, what kind of person he is off the field. Someone that plays like he does, studies like he does, how he holds himself in public, and how he deals with people. The kind of person he is, you want 100 Garret Wallows.”

If TCU Football had 100 Garret Wallows, they would win a lot of ball games.

But, we all know that’s not the case, and in all likelihood, we will see #30 on the field at Amon G. Carter Stadium for the last time Saturday. But lest you worry about the future of TCU Football, know that it’s in good hands. “We always push younger guys to step up and lead,” Wallow said. “When it’s their time to be the head of the team, they will know exactly what to do and they will be prepared for it.”

Taking that leadership role has been incredibly important to Wallow, both on and off the field. He has taken an extra interest in the defensive guys from that Louisiana pipeline, and has also become a “big brother” to his linebacking partner Dee Winters. After the Kansas game, in which Winters overcame a rough day to score his first career touchdown after a strip sack, Wallow said “Seeing those guys play well, grow and become better players week in and week out, it’s exciting. Especially Dee Winters, that’s my boy. Definitely exciting seeing him take that leap from last year to this year playing great. I’m proud of him.” It’s not just Winters, though, read what Trevon Moehrig, a star in his own right, said of his friend and teammate after Saturday’s win. “I can’t say enough good stuff about my man Wallow. He’s a brother to me. He’s always going to tell you the right thing and get you squared away. He was one of the guys I took to when I got on campus, and I knew he was someone I needed to follow. And that’s for everyone, not just me.”

With just one senior playing a significant role on defense due to injuries, Wallow has had to galvanize a group that had a pretty slow start to the season. Gary Patterson credits Wallow with keeping that unit together, and teaching them to have fun. “These guys played a lot of football last year and this year and they trust each other. They’ve been having a great time. When you get your guys to where they like to play with each other and have a good time good things happen.”

A lot more good things have been happening for TCU Football, and Wallow’s three straight games with 10+ tackles have certainly been a part of that.

The Frogs’ final Big 12 game was celebrated as Senior Day, with the festivities planned prior to the finalization of the tenth game of the season. Wallow came out, somehow, with more fire in his belly than normal, and was the emotional leader for a defense that got it done against a very good Oklahoma State offense time and time again, despite being put in precarious positions by the ever-fumbling offense at nearly every turn.

Even though he likely has two more games to suit up in purple, this is the image that I will forever think of when I think of Garret Wallow:

Doesn’t everything about that video tell you what you need to know about this guy as a football player? Intensity, joy, and willing to bring the pain.

The Horned Frogs have had excellent linebackers under Gary Patterson; from Jason Phillips to Daryl Washington, from PJ Dawson to Ty Summers.

The Best TCU Linebackers of the Gary Patterson Era

Name Playing Years Games Started Total Tackles TFLs Sacks Interceptions PDs FFs
Name Playing Years Games Started Total Tackles TFLs Sacks Interceptions PDs FFs
Jason Phillips 2005-2008 50 315 38.5 7.5 2 11
Robert Henson 2005-2008 50 272 27 4.5 4 0
David Hawthorne 2004-2007 39 168 22 9.5 1 4
Daryl Washington 2006-2009 15 220 20.5 5.5 4 0
Tank Carder 2008-2011 39 228 25 5.5 4 9 1
PJ Dawson 2011-2014 18 241 31 6.5 5 8 3
Travin Howard 2013-2017 37 345 20.5 5.5 3 10 4
Ty Summers 2014-2018 40 319 23.5 10.5 2 11 1
Garret Wallow 2017-2020 30 282 31 18.5 1 5 2

Garret Wallow doesn’t have the statistical numbers of some of his peers — playing safety for a good chunk of his career certainly impacted that — but he absolutely belongs amongst the all-time greats. Projected to a be a mid-round NFL Draft pick this spring, Wallow will leave a lasting legacy in Fort Worth, both on and off the field.

We sure will miss you, 30.

Now I am going to go watch that video on repeat for an hour or two.