TCU has lost one of the most productive players from their defense, as defensive end Ochaun Mathis has announced his intentions to enter the transfer portal and “reopen his recruitment”.
Mathis spent four years in Fort Worth, arriving at TCU as a three star recruit out of Manor, TX in 2018. The 6’5” EDGE had just seven offers out of high school, but it was an impressive list that included Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, and Tulsa.
Mathis maintained redshirt status as a freshman, taking limited snaps in just two games played. As a redshirt freshman he played in all 12, and would participate in all 34 games across the next three seasons. Mathis’ breakout campaign came in 2020, where he led the Frogs with nine sacks and 12 tackles for loss, part of a 44 tackle effort that made him a preseason All Big 12 pick in 2021. The nine sacks were fifth most in the country and came in what ended up being just a 10 game season for the Horned Frogs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mathis’s sacks tended to come in bunches; TCU fans will remember his three sack first half effort against Texas Tech in 2020 and his burst in Norman in 2021. But with Khari Coleman unavailable for most of the year and the rest of the defensive line struggling this past season, those two takedowns against Oklahoma ended up being his only two sacks of the season, part of a disappointing campaign as far as pressuring the quarterback over all for TCU. His loss is still a big one for the Frogs, and rumors that he could ultimately follow Gary Patterson to Texas — if his former head coach is indeed hired by the Longhorns as expected — makes it an even tougher pill to swallow. But Mathis came to TCU for GP, committing after his junior year visit and refusing to take another OV even as Oklahoma came calling, so finishing his career with the man who started it likely makes sense for one of the most intimidating players on the field the last three years for the Horned Frogs.
Mathis’ loss leaves Sonny Dykes and new defensive coordinator Joseph Gillespie with a lack of experience at the position; only Coleman, Colt Ellison, and Dylan Horton have played significant snaps at defensive end, with redshirt freshman Landyn Watson a candidate for a major role this coming season.
TCU has been hit hard by the transfer portal, with running back Zach Evans, defensive linemen Chris Murray, Earl Barquet, and Patrick Jenkins, defensive backs Da’Veawn Armstead and Donavann Collins, RB/CB Ahmonte Watkins, and QB Matthew Downing all leaving for other schools. Dykes has done a great job finding impact players from the portal as well, with six players already having transferred to TCU.