While most of the attention on Feb 3. will be on the skill commits to fill the holes left by Josh Doctson, Kolby Listenbee, and Trevone Boykin, to name a few, the defensive line will be doing a bit of reloading during this signing period.
Not seen behind the offensive spotlight in 2015, was a brickhouse defensive line that featured seniors Mike Tuaua splitting time coming off one edge, and Davion Pierson blowing up the middle.
Gary Patterson and company are losing three defensive ends and one defensive tackle. The way it sits right now, they are matching those numbers during the recruiting period with three defensive end commits, including mid-year JuCo transfer Mat Boesen from Long Beach City College, and one defensive tackle commit in Ross Blacklock.
The Frogs are only losing four guys from a position group that had 16 during the 2015 season. So, why the reload, you ask. Gary Patterson loves competition and as most Frog fans know: he's is an adamant supporter of the old adage ‘competition breeds success.’
With 12 returning defensive linemen, the Frogs will be essentially stacked when it comes to their defensive front after signing day with the group set to sign their NLIs on Wednesday.
The upcoming junior and senior heavy class will be expected to help the incoming freshmen during the summer when they first step on campus. And that should not be too hard a task to accomplish with the talent from the 2016 class.
Ross Blacklock, a 4-star DT recruit from Fort Bend Elkins in Houston, looks to be a future force to be reckoned with. The 6-foot-4, 314-pounder boasts impressive power coming off the line. He has a good football IQ. Blacklock is really good at diagnosing the play and where it is going. Not only is he good at keeping offensive linemen from reaching the linebackers on run plays, he’s dominant at getting through them into the offensive backfield to blow up the play. He utilizes his bull-rush and swim moves extremely effectively to get around blockers.
At defensive end, measuring 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Mat Boesen (No.20 JuCo player) was brought in mid-year from Long Beach in order to potentially take over for Tuaua. Boesen has the speed Patterson wants from his ends. He is a high motor guy. He is extremely physical, yet smart when it comes to containing QBs and running backs. His movement laterally and vertically is superb. He is light on his feet, which helps him put opposing blockers on skates. He is very smart at utilizing his swim move. Look for him to make an impact immediately this spring.
Out of the high school ranks, Isaiah Chambers (MacArthur HS, Houston, TX) and Gary Overshown (Mesquite Horn HS, Mesquite, TX) will be brought in at the DE spot. Chambers is the No.15 defensive end on Scout and rightly so. He is great with his hands for his age and he has a nasty spin move. Overshown has raw talent and can make plays. He is quick vertically but needs to work on his lateral movement to be a threat at the division one level.
The biggest difference from Overshown and the other two defensive ends in this class is the ability to gain leverage. Chambers and Boesen both showed the ability to gain leverage and work the linemen en route to making plays. This should not be a problem under the leadership of defensive line coach Zarnell Fitch and the returning 12 defensive linemen for the Frogs.
Overall, Boesen looks like he will make some headway this spring. Chambers looks like he will compete with the other eight defensive ends when fall camp eventually rolls around. Overshown will need to evolve his game and become more explosive while also getting better at using his hands. Blacklock will definitely compete come fall camp with how explosive he is and how good he is with his hands.
So, even though TCU has some key players on last year’s defensive front returning for the 2016 season, this year’s signing class will give the Horned Frogs’ defense even more depth and talent going for the foreseeable future.