The middle of December means that JUCO recruiting is heating up. With the Horned Frogs landing four major splashes from JUCO schools (three of which are in Scout’s Top 20 JUCO prospects list), here’s a look at those players and what they’ll bring to TCU’s roster in 2016.
Mat Boesen, 4 Star DE
TCU has no shortage of highly touted JUCO transfers this year, but the most recognizable name may be former Boise State defensive end Mat Boesen, a four-star recruit out of Long Beach.
The 6’4/245 lineman - who committed to TCU back on Aug. 20 - has been a monster power at the JUCO level, earning Co-Defensive Player of the Year and All-National Central League honors while at Long Beach. He brings two years of eligibility to the TCU Horned Frogs, and he’ll be trying his best to follow the footsteps of fellow California-based JUCO product Mike Tuaua, all the way from on-field results to competing for the best hair on TCU’s roster.
The numbers speak for themselves for Boesen, who rocks a fantastic blonde surfer dude haircut straight out of an Ugly Kid Joe music video. The Torrance, Calif., native totaled 57 tackles - including 21.5 for loss - this last season, along with with eight sacks and highly impressive seven forced fumbles. He has also broke up three passes.
Although he left Boise and the Broncos program with a slight hit to his reputation following a run-in with inattentive driving, all signs have indicated that he’s looking to make the best of a second chance with TCU. He chose the Horned Frogs against seven other offers, including ones from Baylor, Louisville, Washington State and Iowa State.
Tyree Horton, 4 Star LB
Worried about the depth Gary Patterson has at linebacker for 2016? Then fear no more, because four star linebacker Tyree Horton is headed to Fort Worth.
As the number one ranked JUCO linebacker and one of the highest ranked JUCO prospects in the nation (he’s No. 16 on Scout’s JUCO rankings), TCU landed a monster from Highland (Kan.) CC. This bruiser is 6’1, 220 pounds and just plain nasty when it comes to the gridiron.
The Florida native had 63 tackles, 6.5 sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries for Highland this season. If locker room videos are any indication, it also looks like he has a great set of hands.
Horton had at least 15 offers from schools, and was once a Florida State commit until TCU flipped him. He also held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Baylor, Utah and Nebraska.
Taj Williams, 4 Star WR
TCU just couldn’t keep their hands off major talent from the JUCO pool this season, bringing in the number 1 DE, number 1 LB and now the number 2 WR prospect - Mr. Taj Williams out of Iowa Western.
Another native of the Sunshine State, the former Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.) high school receiver had at least 20 offers, including bites from Florida, FSU, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee. Those offers were clearly justified with the productivity the 6’3, 200 pound wideout was putting up.
The athletic receiver was a force in the JUCO division, snagging 51 receptions for 648 yards and nine touchdowns last season for Iowa Western. He also is the record-holder for career receptions at Iowa Western, getting his 111th catch for the Reivers in October.
After losing Josh Doctson to graduation this year, and seeing what a season of injuries can do to even the deepest of depth charts, TCU fans should be giddy to see what Williams will add to the Horned Frogs’ receiving corps.
Chris Gaynor Jr., 3 Star OL
Last but certainly not least, TCU added some depth to its offensive line by picking up another stud out of Kansas - three star offensive lineman Chris Gaynor.
The prospect out of Dodge City CC (a JUCO once attended by Gary Patterson himself) stands 6’5 and weighs 290 pounds, a comparable size to rising sophomore Ty Barrett. Gaynor will likely get looks at the tackle position, but he also has the versatility to play guard. With three years of eligibility, expect him to definitely toe the waters at both positions.
Gaynor had offers from eight schools, including Boise State, Houston, Kansas State and West Virginia. He also is ranked No. 43 in Scout’s JUCO Top 100 rankings, giving TCU the honor of getting four players from the Top 50 on that list.
All four players are expected to enroll in the spring and compete for playing time in 2016. As it stands right now, TCU has a Top 20 recruiting class in the nation, and the second-highest recruiting class in the Big 12.