Gary Patterson isn’t necessarily a fan of the transfer portal, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t willing to use it.
While losing a handful of backups and a couple of truly impactful players had to hurt the veteran coach, he was able to dive deep into the portal this offseason himself and pull out a pair of experienced guys that fill a couple of big time needs.
And, according to Max Olson and Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, two of the top 50 players available this offseason.
Offensive lineman Obinna Eze, expected to play left tackle this fall for the Frogs, checks in at #22 overall, and is the second offensive lineman listed overall. The former Memphis Tiger is massive: 6’8” and 315 pounds, and has 25 career starts under his belt, putting him at or near the top of TCU’s depth chart when it comes to size and experience. He fills a big need, replacing the not always reliable TJ Storment (#74 on the list) and helping solidify and offensive line who seemed bound and determined to get Max Duggan killed in 2020.
Eze had his hands full in the spring lining up against edge rusher Khari Coleman, and more than held his own against the rising star who lived in the backfield as a true freshman. That’s a great sign for the TCU offense, a unit that has some work to do to help get the Horned Frogs back in the discussion of the Big 12’s best teams.
#36 on the list is another Memphis guy, safety TJ Carter. Carter also fills a gaping hole for the Horned Frogs, sliding into one of the spots vacated by guys in NFL camps this summer — second round pick Trevon Moehrig (now with the Raiders) and Ar’Darius Washington, who went undrafted last spring but signed with Baltimore. Carter was the Freshman of the Year in the AAC just a few seasons ago and a four year starter at cornerback for the Tigers, and seemed to have no issue adjusting to his new position in the spring — making a handful of highlight plays in the Frogs’ heavily scripted spring game. Should he continue to pick up the playbook, he adds depth and experience to a group that already features a handful of guys that have been through the Big 12 grind — namely LaKendrick Van Zandt, Nook Bradford, and Josh Foster. Add in young and promising talents like Bud Clark, Donavann Collins, and DeShawn McCuin, as well as the prospect of a fully healthy Michael Onyemaobi, and you have quite possibly the deepest unit on the roster.
Transferring out of TCU and making the top 100 are the aforementioned Storment (to Texas Tech) and receiver John Stephens, Jr (now at Louisiana), who checks in at #97. Both are players who came to Fort Worth with tons of promise but never quite found their footing with the Frogs. Storment is on his third school (and fourth commitment), but should do well in Lubbock under the guidance of Sonny Cumbie, who is familiar with the former Frog. JSJ is one of the more athletic players at his position but was a frustrating guy to TCU fans; that being said, the offense at ULL is a perfect fit for him and he should thrive closer to home and down a step from the Power Five.