As of this post, TCU has not announced the next head coach of the football program. Reading the tea leaves, though, it seems as if the search has narrowed to one.
Of course, the administration will still say that at least four candidates are still being considered: SMU’s Sonny Dykes, Louisiana’s Billy Napier, Clemson OC Tony Elliott, and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell.
However, as Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star Telegram wrote on Thursday, Sonny Dykes has been and seemingly continues to be the frontrunner.
Dykes has been offered a contract extension by SMU but he has not signed it, and when asked about it earlier this week, Dykes responded, “We’re just getting some details kind of, you know, finalized. See where it goes.”
When pressed about a timeline for signing the extension, he responded:
“Not really,” Dykes said if he had a timeline. “I mean, typically these things happen in the offseason or whatever. Sometimes it takes months to play out.”
With a 30-15 record at SMU, Dykes has the Mustangs in better shape than they’ve seen since the pre-Death Penalty era. The program has elevated itself as well off the field, with impressive marketing campaigns, and in the recruiting rankings.
Dykes has, at SMU, managed to recruit the 51st class in the country in 2021 per 247 Sports (TCU’s class was 53rd), and the 57th class for this recruiting cycle (TCU’s is currently 79th after multiple decommits, it was previously 53rd).
Of course, nothing has been finalized yet, and the coaching search isn’t expected to be finished until after Thanksgiving. The hope, though, is that things don’t drag on into December.
TCU AD Jeremiah Donati stated a clear goal to have a head coach in place before the Early Signing Period begins on December 15th, and the further away from that date a hire happens, the better chance the incoming coach will have of salvaging this year’s recruiting class.
Let’s Check In On Twitter
On the more cryptic, rumor-y side of things, Steven Godfrey, a national CFB reporter who is very plugged in, had these two consecutive tweets on Thursday evening.
☀️✌️ =— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) November 19, 2021
Boy I tell ya what that old Sun Belt coach in Lafayette is a slippery devil— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) November 19, 2021
The first one is a cryptic emoji tweet that can be interpreted as “sun” “two” “fort.” Take that for what it’s worth - it’s a tweet full of emojis.
The second one is clearly in reference to Napier, who has already rejected opportunities to interview at Auburn and South Carolina.
Napier did interview with TCU, and there were some rumblings over the weekend that he had pulled even with, if not ahead of, Dykes as the frontrunner. But based on what Godfrey is hinting at here, maybe Napier was leveraging TCU into something else?
It’s common knowledge at this point that Napier has his eyes on the SEC, and if LSU (and potentially Florida) are coming knocking, how long would TCU be willing to wait? Again, knowing Donati’s timeline, if Napier was willing to play a long game here, TCU might not be willing to hold out forever.
So what is TCU’s timeline?
Knowing that Donati wants someone in place ahead of the Dec. 15th signing period, I wouldn’t be surprised if something formal was announced sometime quickly after Thanksgiving. Again, the sooner TCU has someone signed, the sooner he can start pulling a staff/2022 recruiting class together.
As of now, all signs continue to point to Sonny Dykes being that guy.