After playing 30+ freshmen in 2015 to cobble together 11 wins, it's no wonder Gary Patterson is looking at bulking up his team with transfers for the 2016 season. The Frogs are looking at finishing what they started, and with the talent pool that the Frogs have already hauled in, they very well may get another Big 12 championship this upcoming year.
“They were all ‘need,’ ” Patterson said in December about his unusually large transfer class. “That’s why we take them."
Stocked with at least eight new transfer students in this single class - the most in the Patterson era - the 2016 recruiting class is shaping up to give TCU a filled need at several positions, including receiver, linebacker and defensive line. That fulfillment means that the Horned Frogs will be in great shape come football time, and means that TCU will be competing again for a Big 12 title.
With the exception of the newest transfer, two-star defensive lineman Ben Benogu out of Louisiana-Monroe, all of the transfers coming into TCU will be eligible to play immediately. As an underclassman, Benogu must sit out for 2016 due to transfer rules. He’ll have two years of eligibility starting in 2017.
As for everyone else, here's where they will contribute immediately:
John Diarse, WR 4-star LSU transfer
As previously written in a previous column, Diarse will be mainly serving as a slot receiver, primarily as a downfield blocker and as a big situation target. His ability to run after the catch makes him a dangerous weapon in TCU’s receiving corps, and his strength will help smash several holes open for TCU’s running backs.
Taj Williams, WR 4-star
Taj Williams, the No. 1 receiver in Scout’s JUCO ranks, will be playing wideout for the Frogs and will be substituting for Josh Doctson in several formations this year. Williams played both cornerback and receiver in high school, and has side-to-side speed that will break the ankles of just about any player trying to defend him. Check out some of his high school highlights below, and watch him juke, spin and dodge his way out of several defenders and their shoes.
Mat Boesen, DE 4-star
Perhaps the biggest steal of the 2016 TCU recruiting class is former Boise State defensive end and Long Beach product Mat Boesen. Boesen features the kind of motor that Patterson loves to see in his defensive ends, and there’s no question that Boesen will be fighting for a starting position starting with spring drills. Check out some of his best moments as a Bronco, including his natural talents in stuffing ball carriers and terrorizing quarterbacks.
Tyree Horton, LB 4-star
After amazing performances this season from converted safeties like Travin Howard, there’s no doubt that Patterson likes his linebackers - but he certainly would want to see some more size when it comes to his favorite pet project on the team.
“We’ve been young at linebacker,” Patterson said in December. “We needed a bigger body at linebacker that can run, we got one of those.”
Horton is definitely a guy to fill that bigger body role. Standing at 6’1 and 220 pounds, the four-star and No. 1 JUCO linebacker gives TCU immediate speed, size and experience. When combined with players like Howard, Ty Summers and a healthy Sammy Douglas, TCU’s linebackers should be downright frightening in 2016.
Chris Gaynor, OT 3 star
After losing a ridiculous amount of depth on his offensive line due to graduation, Patterson made a great quick-fix by grabbing this corn-fed bruiser who can contribute just about anywhere. At 6’5 and 290 pounds, Gaynor will likely see a lot of time at left tackle, but don’t be surprised if he’s occasionally called in to cover at left guard to give extra protection to TCU’s next quarterback. He’s expected to take Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s No. 74 jersey, which makes sense, as Gaynor will likely be fighting for the graduating senior’s former starting spot.
Markell Simmons, DB
Bringing in depth to the defensive backs at TCU is Arizona product Markell Simmons, a three-star safety out of Pima CC. After being heavily recruited by Nebraska, Utah, Oregon State and several other schools, Simmons picked TCU in hopes of following in the steps of great defensive backs like Sam Carter, Derrick Kindred and Chris Hackett. With the return of Kenny Iloka expected next year, expect Simmons to provide quality depth to the Frogs, which will bode well during the track meets known as Big 12 football games.
Artayvious Lynn, TE
Last but not least, Artayvious Lynn closes out the 2016 transfer group by adding to TCU’s tight ends squad. Standing six-foot-six, this two-star tight end will be great for TCU’s goal line packages, serving in a similar capacity to Buck Jones or Logan Brock. His height will likely prevent him from blocking in the backfield ala Cliff Murphy, but for the handful of plays that TCU will roll out in the season, Lynn will definitely be a guy to make the leap in the end zone.