Have you heard if every one of the 2012 class will qualify?To my knowledge everyone is set to qualify and the rest of the class will be on campus in June. The only player that may come into question is Austin Aune, but not for academic reasons. Word out of Argyle is his draft status is getting higher and that could definitely come into play. There's not a number that I know of that would make Aune bolt for the MLB but it will be interesting to watch come June.
Who do you see committing next?I see a couple of guys that will pull the trigger soon. I like TCU's chances with All Saints tight end Charlie Reid. Both Reid and his coach, Aaron Beck, said the TCU offer was his dream offer. Also, Reid isn't visiting Texas this week and he recently told me he's honestly not sure he will be making the visit at all. His family is very close and I could see him wanting to stay close to home.
I also like Corion Webster pulling the trigger. When I asked him on Thursday night about receiving the TCU offer, he gave pause and said he has some thinking to do. He told me TCU is definitely at the top of his list. With TCU having such a big need at runningback, I could see him making a commitment to the Frogs. I know his coach has a lot of respect for the TCU staff as well, especially Jarrett Anderson.
Get out your crystal ball and give your best guess who the highest rated player of the TCU 2013 recruiting class will be...Hmmm, that's a tough one because we don't have all the guys ranked yet. I firmly believe landing Sammy Douglas is a good start; he had a heck of a year in 2011 with over 148 tackles and 6 sacks. He also recently ran a 10.3 split in the 4x100 relay.
Talk about the progress of David Johnson. Can we expect him to get bigger this fall? His size is just about the only question mark he has.To me, Johnson looks bigger than the 270 that's listed. I don't think his weight has been updated since he arrived on campus. As we found out the other day, Nykiren Wellington was listed on the roster at 275 but we found out he's actually up to 315.
Without seeing much of spring practices, I can't put an honest evaluation on how Johnson is developing, but I do know he's been working with the first unit alongside Chuck Hunter, so that's pretty telling.
The more I think about our defensive strengths and weaknesses the more terrified I get about our first season in the Big 12. Safeties and their lack of experience scare me. Corner absolutely terrifies me. Pass rush is a huge question-mark with the exception of Maponga. Our interior D-line is really young. And linebacker could be an absolute train wreck breaking in a new LB at one spot next to an undersized, albeit talented and experienced, Kenny Cain. My crystal ball predicts lots of toasted DB's and track meets for 2012. Please talk me off the ledge!You hit the nail on the head on the inexperience at safety and linebacker. The good news…this may be the most athletic group and deep group at safety in the Patterson era. If you lose a starter now days, you replace him with a guy that is just as skilled. No offense but you really couldn't say that five years ago. Now, learning the system is the most important aspect. The good news is these guys can cover so I don't expect to see opposing teams coming in with a "bombs away" offense. Anderson has shown that he can cover and runs a legit 4.4 at 215-pounds. Hackett and Olabode have good cover skills at safety and Carter is coming along.
At corner, I really expect Jason Verrett to have a breakout year. I'm one of the guys that raved about him last year in the preseason and toward the end of the year he was near the level many expected him to play. I can't say enough about Travoskey Garrett. Coach Patterson even said it the other day, when they have a big body at boundary corner they succeed. He is that big body and can run with any receiver. I think we see a big improvement in the secondary with him at the boundary.
The linebackers are a definite concern just because they are so light on numbers. Without Kenny Cain working out, you have a starting group of sophomore Deryck Gildon and Danny Heiss, a former walk-on. Behind them are Antonio Graves and Joel Hasley. That is a ton of inexperience. But…they are all very athletic and are guys that can learn the terminology. Thankfully, they have all spring and fall to get adapted. I fully expect A.J. Hilliard to come in and compete right away for a spot on the two-deep.
1) How does Pachall look in spring practice, and will the playbook be opened up a little more for him this year? Has he gotten any stronger, or gained arm strength?I've only seen one practice but the practice I did see… it's Pachall and the rest of the quarterbacks. He made all the throws and his arm looks even stronger. The whole time I watched him on Saturday, he didn't throw a pass that wobbled…they were all tight spirals. His quick release is one of the most impressive releases I've ever seen.
2) Who do you think will lead our receivers in yardage next year? Who is second, third, fourth, etc?Josh Boyce, if healthy, will have over 1,000 yards…book it. He became a favorite target of Pachall's last year and it will be the same this year. I think Dawson will be second on the team in receptions because they like to get him the ball in the slot so much, especially on the quick bubbles. Brandon Carter will be third on the team in receptions and second in yardage in my opinion. He will work at slot and I'm sure Burns/Anderson will try to find as many ways they can to get him the ball. Watch out for Ladarius Brown, word is he's working with the ones at outside receiver opposite of Josh Boyce and is becoming a huge deep threat.
I caught wind that the entire West Mesquite football team is attending practice on Thursday. This seems like a great opportunity to showcase our program and facilities to a potential local pipeline program. My question is, how frequently does this occur? Would TCU consider doing this in greater frequency in the future in order to win over the minds of impressionable recruits earlier in the process?In the seven years I've covered the team this is a practice they've always done. This is why Coach Patterson and staff have such a great relationship with high school programs. I've seen an entire junior college team at a practice before not to mention several high schools. TCU actually welcomes staffs from across the country in the spring and fall.
Do our offensive tackle prospects: Fab, Dunbar, Wellington, and M. Thompson, have the feet to protect the edge against some pretty ferocious Big 12 defensive ends?Yes, that's a big reason Fabuluje moved over to left tackle. All have good feet, Dunbar and Wellington are better suited at right tackle but all can move. I watched Dunbar run 30-yards downfield the other day at practice on a run play and he was MOVING. They all have good reaches and best of all, as big as they are they are all quick on their feet. Remember, Dunbar played runningback in high school.
The day before the infamous TCU drug cartel sting, you guys were talking about a big super-secret recruit visiting campus.One: Who was it?
Harker Heights offensive lineman Darius James.
Two: Did he in fact visit?
Yes he did. James has a ton of offers and will visit Oklahoma this weekend.
Do you think we could lose any players early to the draft after this season? I've heard rumors of this most likely being Pachall's last year, Boyce and Maponga seem like they could get drafted high as well after good seasons?It's tough to tell, can I see it happening…sure. Do I think it will happen…no. In Pachall's situation, he's only scratching the surface. Last year everyone in the country was introduced to him and many Big 12 fans know he could very well be the marquee quarterback in the conference next year. But, again, he's only scratching the surface. If he goes out and has a phenomenal year and throws for 3,500 yards and 30 scores, then obviously he is going to be on NFL team's radars. But, I'm not sure that will be enough for him to be a first round NFL pick. Imagine if he does put up those type of numbers and he decides to come back for his senior year, he very well could be a first-round guy, maybe even the top QB because he would've built two years of solid production.
For Boyce, I think he's on the cusp of becoming a high round pick. I can easily see him have the same kind of rise Kendall Wright had. Before the year, hardly anyone knew who Wright was, by the end of the year people were talking about him possibly becoming a first round pick. The only way I see Boyce coming out is if he's guaranteed to be picked in the first two rounds.
Same for Maponga, imagine if he has another big year this season and comes back. The only knock on Maponga is he's not your prototypical sized defensive end in the NFL. But, his speed will overcome any size concerns. He's yet another name that is still becoming more known.