The Frogs still have several slots available and a lot of the targets they hope to fill those vacancies are junior college prospects. One prospect very high on their wish list is College of San Mateo safety Sam Atoe.
Atoe is one of the top junior college players in California and a prospect who certainly fits the mold of a TCU defense. At 6-foot, 205-pounds, Atoe is being recruited by the Frogs as a safety prospect. He's also big enough to play linebacker if need be.
Several programs are chasing Atoe for his services and among the schools showing the most interest is TCU. Atoe visited Ft. Worth two weeks ago for an official visit and gave his trip glowing reviews.
"I loved it, it was good," Atoe said of his visit. "I didn't know too much about TCU before I came down. I only knew a little bit because of my cousin, Mike Tuaua plays over there. He was giving me some insight about it. So, when I went on my visit a lot of what my cousin told me about the good things, on my visit it was pretty much confirmed. I loved the family environment, it was good. Everyone was very welcoming. The academics were a big one for me; they are very strong and supportive in the academic area."
Atoe was on hand to witness a great defensive effort against the nation's top ranked offense. Although the Frogs lost, they held the Bears, who averaged over 600 yards of offense coming into the game, to just 370 total yards. They were the only team to hold Baylor to under 400 yards of offense in a game in nearly two seasons. Needless to say, the effort on defense caught Atoe's attention.
"Defensively they were very good, they looked like ball hawks to me," he said. "The college that I come from the defense is real big; we're well known for always having a good defense and stopping good offenses. Being able to watch that first hand at the next level was really good to see; it made me feel right at home with their defense."
While Atoe loved everything about his visit to TCU, distance will likely play a key role in his decision. However, combine the fact that he has a cousin on TCU's roster and family in the area, proximity may not play too much of a role.
"I was only an hour and a half to two hours from home so it wasn't bad but there were times I was homesick," he said. "So, I kind of figured being a couple of states away would be more of a problem for me but when I went there I got a feel for the players and I got to hang out with my cousin a lot; it made me feel right at home. I also have a cousin that lives in Texas so I can always go there for a home-cooked meal or when I feel homesick."
Atoe has also developed a great relationship with safeties coach Chad Glasgow, who is the coach recruiting the juco safety.
"He's a great guy, very energetic and genuine," he said of Glasgow. "I can tell he loves the game of football. He's been real strong in recruiting me."
Atoe will have three years to play two wherever he decides to continue his college football career. He says after discussions with his coach and family, he'll be deciding between a final three.
"Being that I'm a mid-year I only had so much time to take visits so I sat down with my coach and family and talked about the schools on the table and we narrowed it down to three schools and they are TCU, Texas Tech and Cal-Berkley," he said.
As a mid-year graduate, Atoe will sign his National Letter of Intent on December 18th. With that, a decision has to come within the next few days. Atoe has visited TCU and Texas Tech and is currently on an official visit to Cal.
Atoe hopes to have a decision made after his third and final visit.
"After the Cal visit I should have a pretty good idea of where I want to go," he said. "I'm going to sit down with my family and coach and put the three schools on the table and grade them out. The three things that I want in a school which is academics; what school is going to be better for me as far as my major goes. Second, the family environment; I want to go to school that has a good family atmosphere and the team and players are really close. Third, I want to be given the best opportunity to further my career past the college level."