As we await the official announcement of Sonny Dykes as the next head coach of TCU Football, rumors are flying fast and furious as far as who might be following him to Funky Town.
And let me tell ya, if they’re true, there’s plenty of reason for TCU fans to be fired up about the future of Frog Football — and at least one giant red flag.
Let’s take a look at what is circulating as of Monday morning, with a hearty tip of the cap to folks like Shehan Jeyarajah, Jeremy Clark, Drew Davison, and other national college football reporters, who have been dropping these names on twitter and elsewhere throughout the weekend.
Following Dykes from SMU:
Garrett Riley — SMU OC
There has been a lot of news involving a Riley this weekend, with Lincoln sneaking off to LA shortly after losing Bedlam and missing the Big 12 Championship game for the first time in his tenure at Oklahoma. While the move to USC shook up the college football world Sunday, TCU fans will be more impacted by the move little brother is making, with Garrett expected to head west and take over play-calling duties at TCU under Dykes.
The partial architect of SMU’s explosive O, Riley is an up-and-comer in the coaching world who is considered to have a very bright future. Just 32 years old, the former Tech and SFA QB has deep Texas ties and has spent time at App State, Kansas, and ECU prior to his two year stint in Dallas. His Mustangs have put together top 20 offenses and he has helped resurrect the careers of Shane Buechele and Tanner Mordecai, former P5 QBs who had their best seasons on the Hilltop.
Ra’Shaad Samples — SMU RB Coach/Recruiting
Samples is a home run hire of epic proportions, as the son of a Dallas coaching legend is carving out a niche as one of the best recruiters in Texas — and the country. A former DI WR who spent time at Oklahoma State and Houston, Samples is one of the most well-liked and respected coaches recruiting in DFW, as he has done exceptional work building relationships with high school coaches across the metroplex. He has made making SMU Dallas’ team a personal mission, and will bring the Metroplex pride with him to Fort Worth. Under his leadership, SMU has dominated the transfer portal and out-recruited TCU in national rankings, and when rumors started to leak out that he was leaving SMU, the de-commits came in droves for the Ponies. Samples coming with Dykes immediately makes the hire more exciting and attractive for TCU fans, and y’all are going to absolutely love having this dude in purple.
David Gru — SMU WR Coach
Gru has been in Dallas since 2018, and in his tenure has developed elite talent at the wide receiver position, including James Proche, Reggie Roberson, Rashee Rice, and Danny Gray. He’s also no stranger to TCU, spending the 2017 season as an Offensive Analyst working with Kenny Hill and the rest of the QBs before following Dykes East. The former La Tech WR has also worked with Dykes at Cal, where he mentored Jared Goff.
Chidera Uzo-Diribe — SMU DL Coach
If this means the end of the Zarnell Fitch era at TCU, well, we are all permitted to have a sad. It appears that Uzo-Diribe will serve as Dykes’ defensive line coach, the position he held for the 2021 season at SMU. After a stellar playing career at Colorado and a cup of coffee with the New Orleans Saints, Uzo-Diribe spent time at Kansas and his alma mater as a linebackers coach among other roles. Another young guy with great energy, he should be exceptional on the recruiting trail and has Big 12 experience.
Kaz Kazadi — SMU Strength & Conditioning Coach
Well, this is where the excitement gets tempered some. Kazadi may well be a great S&C coach, but the man who has been on Sonny Dykes’ staff since 2018 was also a part of Art Briles’ staff at Baylor, and his name comes up in documents in a not so favorable way.
So, I have a real problem with this hire, and as much as excitement I feel for the rest of the guys Dykes is supposedly bringing from Dallas, I have more disgust for the fact that someone that was a part of THAT staff at Baylor might serve a critical role in the on and off field development of the young men at TCU. Maybe he’s grown and changed since that terrible period, but as a TCU fan who was aghast at what happened in Waco, I don’t see any justification for having an individual that was in any way associated with the coverup that happened in Waco being a part of the Horned Frogs’ future. ADJD, you cannot let this happen.
EDIT: this is obviously a contentious topic. At this point, I am reaching out to folks I know who were better connected to Baylor back in that time and at other stops along his journey. I am not ready to look past things but I am willing to continue to explore his role in what happened in Waco. Hopefully we will get a chance to hear from either the man himself or Dykes on his history and how he has learned from any past mistakes.
Expected to be retained from current TCU staff:
Malcolm Kelly — TCU WR Coach
Okay back to the good news. Fan favorite Kelly, who starred at Oklahoma and has helped stack the TCU WR room with guys like Quentin Johnston, Blair Conwright, and Quincy Brown, is expected to be retained by Dykes in a yet to be disclosed role. Not only is Kelly an ace recruiter, but keeping him on staff gives the Frogs a great shot to retain some of their talent at the Laotian, and with The track record Dykes has with offense, there’s reason to believe those guys might want to stick around.
Schools have been coming for Kelly annually, but if he indeed stays, it shows that he’s making a real commitment to TCU and Fort Worth, and providing that stability after the first instability in recent program history will go a long way on the recruiting trail. Dykes will prioritize offensive skill talent, and Kelly is absolutely a guy to bring those players home.
Paul Gonzales — TCU DB Coach
Another fan favorite, Paul G is a rising coach who has had plenty of opportunities to head elsewhere, but stayed loyal to Gary Patterson and TCU.
Gonzales started as a CB coach in 2015 and moved to safeties in 2018, where he was critical in the development of guys like Ar’Darius Washington and Trevon Moehrig — the latter of whom was the school’s firs Jim Thorpe Award winner.
A San Jose native, Gonzales played college baseball at UC Davis and began his coaching career in Nor Cal and spent time at Pacific and Davis before getting his big break with GP and TCU. Another bright rising star in the industry, Gonzales could serve several roles on Dykes’ staff next fall.
Bryan Carrington — USC Recruiting
Oh this is delicious, as the former Texas and USC recruiting specialist is coming back to the Lone Star State to try and keep top talent home.
The Houston native spent four years on Tom Herman’s staff in Austin before matriculating west, but with Lincoln Riley headed to SC, Carrington is apparently coming home. In his three years as recruiting specialist, he routinely signed top ten classes, and we all know that talent hasn’t been the problem for UT over the last decade plus.
Adding Carrington and Samples to Kelly and Gonzales gives credence to TCU as potentially the top destination in the new Big 12, and while recruiting against in-state SEC programs, a resurgent Baylor, and Texas Tech under Joey McGuire is going to be an epic challenge, you have to feel pretty good about who will be presenting the Frogs in front of players and coaches in state and beyond. That fence that GP was always hoping to build around DFW feels a little more possible today.
Mark Tommerdahl — Texas Tech Special Teams Coach
This hire might fly under the radar but it’s a great move for TCU — and another guy who has familiarity with the program, as Tommerdahl was on Dennis Franchione’s staff in Fort Worth.
Tech has had some pretty damn good ST units over Tommerdahl’s tenure, and he has experience across college football with stops at Alabama, A&M, PURDUE, Cal, and others. A veteran in the sport, Tommerdahl is known for developing young specialists and playing aggressive as far as blocking kicks, and his units have consistently been near the top in each conference along the way. At Tech he has had All-American punters and saw his kicker nail a 62 yarder to upset Iowa State — and nearly beat Baylor last weekend with a kick from 50+ in bad weather that just missed the uprights.
TCU has had explosive returners but has struggled with muffed punts and missed field goals; bringing in a veteran coach for this unit feels like a great move by Sonny Dykes.
The biggest question remaining is “who will be TCU’s defensive coordinator?”
After two decades of being a defense first school, and hiring an offense first coach, the DC hire will be as critical as any job filled above. We will be waiting with baited breath for that announcement.
The other questions is “what happens to the rest of the staff?” If Dykes is indeed retaining just two coaches from GP’s staff, there are going to be a lot of really good guys on the open market. Jerry Kill, who is being named the next coach at New Mexico State, has apparently told any current TCU coaches not offered a role by Sonny Dykes that they have a place on his staff, which is a pretty awesome thing for him to do. Some guys will get a lot of looks elsewhere (Chad Glasgow, Jeremy Modkins, and Zarnell Fitch come quickly to mind), and others might retire after long careers. We certainly hope the best for each coach and their families that have sacrificed so much over the years for the good of TCU Football.