A look back at the 2002 class.
Overview: It's hard to argue what this class accomplished in their time on campus. The class compiled a 48-13 record from 2002-2006 which included two conference championship and three bowl wins, not to mention a shocking 17-10 win over then #5 Oklahoma at Norman in 2005.
Of the seventeen signees, five players earned conference honors while three players earned some sort of All-American honors. Two players were drafted by NFL teams and one was on a Super Bowl team.
TCU Signees: ; Earl Anderson, Chad Andrus, Jeff Ballard, Maurice Bouldwin, Eric Buchanan, Michael DePriest, Elvis Gallegos, Quentily Harmon, Matt Hines, Lonta Hobbs, Terrance James, Reggie La Mothe, Robert Merrill, Jared Retofsky, Cory Rodgers, Herbert Taylor, Jaracea Williams
Class Rank: 61 (Scout.com)
Record (2002-2006): 48-13
Conference USA (2002)
Mountain West (2005)
Bowl games: (3-1)
2002 - Liberty Bowl (W17-3 vs. Colorado State)
2003 - Ft. Worth Bowl (L31-34 vs. Boise State)
2005 - Houston Bowl (W20-13 vs. Iowa State)
2006 - Poinsettia Bowl (W37-7 vs. Northern Illinois)
Top 25 finishes:
2002: 10-2; AP #23
2003: 11-2; AP #24
2005: 11-2; AP #11
2006: 11-2; AP#22
All-Conference players: Lonta Hobbs (2002; C-USA Freshman of the Year, 2006) Jeff Ballard (2005, 2006) Robert Merrill (2003, 2005) Herbert Taylor (2003,2005, 2006) Cory Rodgers (2003, 2004, 2005)
All-Americans: Robert Merrill (2003), Cory Rodger (2005; 1st team returner)
National Awards: None
Players drafted in the NFL: Corey Rodgers (4th round, Green Bay, 2006); Herbert Taylor (6th round, Kansas City, 2007)
BREAKING DOWN THE CLASS
The JEWEL: Earl Anderson – Anderson, who originally committed to Texas, was one of the top defensive tackles in the country out of San Marcos and unfortunately he never made it to campus due to academics. TCU fans have a running joke on when Earl will make it to campus.
Most Underrated: Lonta Hobbs – Hobbs burst onto the scene as a true freshman for the Frogs, rushing for 1,029 yards and 12 touchdowns. That total included a career-high 287 yards and 3 scores against Memphis in the 2002 regular-season finale. Herb Taylor was a close second after starting 48 games in his TCU career and earning conference and All-American honors along the way.
A star was born: Cory Rodgers – before he arrived to TCU, Rodgers was a little known quarterback out of Ft. Bend Hightower. He went on to shatter school records in kickoff and punt returns and became one of the Frogs top receivers in school history. If you listen close enough, you can still hear chants of Co-ry Rod-gers echoing throughout Amon G. Carter stadium.
What happened to him: Reggie La Mothe – The big bruising back (6-1, 232) out of Channelview, Texas only lasted two years at TCU, redshirting as a freshman and only saw action in four games in 2003 as he battled hamstring issues. Matt Hines, who was one of the top players from DFW, never made his mark at TCU due to injuries.
Boy, were we wrong (with our rankings): There's no question all of the recruit experts had a big swing and a miss on evaluating Lonta Hobbs. Although he didn't finish his career the way he and Horned Frog fans expected, the way he shot out of the cannon as a true freshman had everyone trying to erase their mistake. Of course when you have a class filled with two-star players that went on to win 48 games including three bowl games in five years, is there any one player we weren't wrong on?
Hey, we were right: This may come as a surprise, but Jeff Ballard was actually a top 60 quarterback in the country out of Friendswood, Texas. Scout.com rated Ballard as the third highest rated prospect for TCU's 2002 class and Ballard didn't disappoint. It took a few years before he saw the field, emerging in TCU's 51-50 win on the road at BYU. An 18-2 record as a starter in two years is very hard to deny as a player who met expectations. Ballard finished his career with 4,204 yards and 27 touchdowns passing while adding another 736 yards and 16 scores on the ground.
A look at each player from the class:
Earl Anderson – never played at TCU
Chad Andrus – played in 47 games over career; hauled in 24 catches for 232 yards and 2 scores in career from his tight end position.
Jeff Ballard – Played in 26 games in his career; totaled 4,940 yards with 43 touchdowns in two years as a starter. Named All-conference selection two times in his career.
Maurice Bouldwin – played in 25 games in his career at TCU.
Eric Buchanan – played in 33 games in his career; recorded 66 tackles and 1 interception.
Michael DePriest – played in 45 games in his career at TCU; DePriest caught 50 passes for 785 yards and 5 touchdowns in his career.
Elvis Gallegos – played in 44 games in his career; recorded 14 tackles and 5 interceptions.
Quentily Harmon – played in 43 career games at TCU hauling in 111 receptions for 1,557 yards and 10 scores. Best season was in 2006 when he caught 52 passes for 791 yards and 3 scores.
Matt Hines – A heralded linebacker out of Irving Nimitz, Hines only spent one year at TCU and did not play in any games.
Lonta Hobbs – Hobbs fought the injury bug his last three years on campus, but still played in 39 games in his career rushing for 3,071 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Terrance James – The defensive tackle played in 22 games at TCU before leaving after his sophomore season.
Reggie La Mothe – Only saw action in four games in his short lived career at TCU.
Robert Merrill – Merrill started off with a bang his redshirt freshman year, rushing for 1,107 yards and 4 scores. He finished his career with 2,771 yards and 20 touchdowns in 35 games played.
Jared Retofsky – The flamboyant Retofsky played in 39 career games at TCU, mostly as the deep snapper and backup duty at defensive end. Retofsky went on to the NFL where he was the deep snapper for Pittsburgh's super bowl team.
Cory Rodgers – Rodgers played in 36 games in his career at TCU, he declared for the NFL draft after his junior season and was drafted in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers caught 150 passes for 2,111 yards and 17 touchdowns in his time at TCU, his best year coming in 2004 when he hauled in 61 passes for 836 yards and 7 scores. He was most dangerous on returns, totaling 2,572 yards on 140 career kickoff and punt returns.
Herbert Taylor – Started 48 games in his brilliant career at TCU; was named all-conference three times and was a nominee for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award his senior season. Taylor was drafted in the sixth round by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jaracea Williams – Played in 36 games at defensive tackle in his career at TCU; recorded 19 tackles in 1 sack in his career.
Stay logged onto HornedFrogBlitz.com as we review TCU's last six recruiting classes.