TCU Baseball got better without having to do a whole lot over the weekend, when one of its top recruits — right handed pitcher Caedmon Parker — elected to withdraw his name from the 2021 MLB Draft. Parker, a 6’4” prospect out of Woodlands Christian Academy in Houston, was a two star athlete in high school, starring on the football team as a wide receiver and defensive back and turning an impressive sophomore campaign at shortstop into division one offers on the mound the summer before his senior year.
The “project” hits in the low 90s with his fastball, getting good movement on a two seamer and adding in a solid four seamer. He also throws a curve, a slider and a changeup, but with minimal mound experience, they are far from finely tuned pitches at this point. As a draftable prospect, experts are all over on this kid: Keith Law ranked him #41 on his big board, ESPN had him just inside the top 100, while Baseball America put him at 220. Because he hasn’t played a ton of high level baseball — especially as a pitcher — most of the evaluations are projections, and many scouts seem to think a few years of college will do him good when it comes to 2024 valuations. Expect Parker to come to Fort Worth and not be put on the fast track but rather groomed under Kirk Saarloos and Matthew Purke on his way to potentially being an elite weekend starter.
The Frogs will need him, too, with Russell Smith having been selected in the second round of the MLB Draft by the Brewers Monday, making him highly likely to sign a professional contract. Surprisingly, Austin Krob — who many had rated higher than Smith coming into the weekend — was not selected in the first ten rounds, making him much more likely to return to campus
Jeremiah Donati is absolutely a forward-thinker amongst the old guard of Power Five conference ADs. Young (in his early 40s), Donati arrived in Fort Worth back in 2011 as the Executive Director of the Frog Club after spending after spending just under four years working with Leigh Steinberg Sports. His climb up the ladder was swift: by 2013 he was an Associated AD, and three years later he was Chris Del Conte’s right hand man. Just a year and a half later, when CDC bolted for Austin, it was all but a given that ADJD would be the next man up.
You can imagine that some of the longest tenured coaches around campus don’t always see eye to eye with Donati: he certainly hasn’t tried to reinvent the wheel on campus, but he was all in on the NIL well before the folks running the athletics programs were, and has been pushing for playoff expansion from the get. He’s gotten a lot done in his short time on campus, too, overseeing the opening of the newest luxury seat section at AGCS and managing to hold on to ***most*** of his big name coaches along the way.
We bring him up today to talk about the playoffs though, as Donati told Drew Davison of the Star Telegram “We are 100% behind it.” While ADJD appreciates each unique bowl experience, it’s hard not to see dollar signs when you figure that TCU Football could have made a 12 team playoff as many as three times over the last seven years — 2014, 2015, and possibly 2017. That’s a lot of money and priceless value when it comes to exposure for a small university in Texas.
With the future looking bright from a talent standpoint in Fort Worth, Donati is anxious to see the kinks worked out and the new format put in place. “I hope this is adopted and implemented as soon as possible.”
Around the Big 12:
If you missed this wild story about Kansas Football, well, settle in, because you’re in a for a doozy.
The exposé reported by Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star reads more like a true crime novel than a football story, filled with leaky tires, violent teammates, and a heavy dose of privilege to boot.
West Virginia native and former walk-on Caperton Humphrey, who began his collegiate football journey at Eastern Kentucky, before using a connection to Kansas Compliance Director David Reed to help him make his way to Lawrence, where he hoped to prove himself at a higher level. Two years later, the fullback was paid $50,000 to go home by the regime led by Les Miles and then Athletic Director Jeff Long.
There’s a lot left lagging in this story: we never find out what the initial argument was over between Humphrey and his teammates and we never find out who the teammates in question are and if there were any disciplinary actions taken against them. They also casually mention that Humphrey was accused of being racist at one point, but never give any context as to what happened and/or why outside of the dad assuming it was because he came from a wealthy family — something that the reporter alludes to by saying the loose lugnuts were on Humhprey’s Jaguar (but he was just a poor college kid like the rest of them lol).
It’s a crazy ride for sure, but there are a lot of holes in the story. That being said, hoo boy, Kansas Football just can’t get out of their own way. Lance Leipold is a hell of a coach, but does anyone think he made a good decision making KU his first P5 job?
Good luck, my dude.