© Greg Powers

Staff Picks: TCU's National Signing Day

Who is most likely to start as a true freshman? Who will change positions? Who has the the most "Frog Factor?" Find out the answers to these questions and more in the national signing day edition of Horned Frog Insider's staff picks!

Scout Network/Greg Powers

Who do you believe is the best player in this class?

Brad Hardcastle: Ross Blacklock definitely has the highest level of raw skill of any player in this class. He may be big, but he knows how to move and spin out of blocks. There will be an adjustment period due to the comeptition he will be going up against on Saturdays, but there is no doubt that he'll eventually become a force to be reckoned with on the defensive front. 

J.D. Moore: I don't think there's a wrong answer for this one. With the amazing amount of talent coming in, just about anyone can deserve that title. That said, I think I'd have to go with Sewo Olonilua solely based on the fact that he's so versatile. He can play running back, linebacker or whatever position he's going to be needed at most in Patterson's system. That versatility is what gives him the edge to me.

Mike Garland: Going with Kingwood HS ATH Sewo Olonilua. How he performed during Army Bowl week turned a lot of heads. Most knew he was good, but he showed just how good he was. There’s a reason Gary Patterson is going start him out at running back.

Sam Fowler: I feel Dylan Thomas is the best player from the 2016 class. The kid has scary athleticism. Not only was he a QB, then WR, and corner, he excelled at all three.  He’s fast, physical, and versatile. I feel his 6’1” frame makes him perfect for the X slot at WR. I’m ready to see how he does come fall camp.

Mitchell Stehly: I really like Ross Blacklock. Patterson talked about the importance of adding size on the defensive line and Blacklock will bring just that at 6-4, 326 pounds. He’s a four-star defensive tackle that TCU managed to win over the likes of Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M. In Patterson’s system, I expect him to thrive.

Who is the diamond in the rough?

BH: There aren't a whole lot of players in this class that are necessarily "in the rough" but one guy who I think isn't being talked about enough is Innis Gaines. He's a big, tough safety who can really close on the ball and deliver bone crushing hits. He wasn't that highyly recruited out of Beaumont Westbrook, but I think that had to do more with lack of exposure more than it did skill level. 

JDM: A lot of people will be surprised by Markell Simmons, the JUCO transfer from Pima, Arizona. Given his speed, he'll be dangerous in the rotation at safety for years to come. He had two pick-sixes at Pima CC and is a track-and-field talent as well. Certainly an underrated player in this class.

MG: I tweeted about him earlier in the day, about him being a steal for TCU. It’s The big offensive lineman from Zachary, Louisiana. Kellton Hollins has a chance to be really good. I feel he will catch on quickly once he gets on campus and if that happens, the sky is the limit

MS: I’ll take Vernon Scott. There’s not much hype surrounding the defensive back that chose TCU over Air Force and Kansas, but I loved watching his film. He has good size for a defensive back at 6-2.  

SF: Gary Overshown is someone I will have my eye on during his time at TCU. Right now, he’s really long which could make him a good stand up DE/outside linebacker. I think once he fills out his 6’4.5” frame and works on gaining leverage with linemen and his hands, he’ll be a great defensive end.

© Greg Powers

Which player do you think has the most "Frog Factor?"

BH: Dylan Thomas from Paschal High School seems to be a guy that fits Gary Patterson's "Frog Factor" criteria quite well. Even though he's from the Fort Worth area, he wasn't talked about a whole lot before signing day because he had to miss most of his senior season with a broken leg. But before Thomas' senior season came to an end, he was one of the state's better all around atheltes. He plays quarter back, but will most likely move to wide receiver, which he has apparently already agreed to do. 

JDM: I need to go with Brennan Wooten on this one. Patterson called him the glue behind holding this class together, and if you look at any of his social media, you'll see that he does everything in his power to be with his fellow TCU recruits and bleed purple. I love the attitude he brings to the Frogs, and attitude is the No. 1 thing in determining Frog Factor.

MG: How can this not be Mat Boesen? Just looking at him you can see “Frog Factor” written all over him. He’s a perfect fit for TCU, especially in that defense the Frogs like to run.

MS: Quarterback Brennen Wooten. By all accounts, this guy is a natural leader who never waivered in his commitment to TCU despite uncertainty surrounding the future of TCU’s pair of co-offensive coordinators. As an early commit, Wooten served as a great additional recruiter for this class. Patterson said Wooten was “the glue of this class.”

SF: For me, Innis Gaines from Beaumont Westbrook. Not only does the 6’3” safety have the ability, he has the high motor Gary Patterson wants. Gaines is one of the most gifted high school athletes I have seen in a while. He comes down hill with reckless abandon. He is real smart when it comes to diagnosing plays, and makes some incredible plays on the ball.

Student Sports

Who has the best chance to start as a freshman?

BH: Although Ross Blacklock may be considered the highest rated incoming freshman on this defensive line, I wouldn't be surpsied if Isaiah Chambers gets a shot playing defensive end since the Frogs lose both Mike Tuaua and Terrell Lathan. Chambers is a freak athletes with a 6'3, 258 pound frame. He'll have some work to do in the summer before he gets in the rotation, but he definitely has the talent to make an impact as a freshman. 

JDM: With Davion Pierson graduated and Tevin Lawson officially gone, I'll be shocked if Ross Blacklock isn't a starter at defensive tackle. You can't coach size, and 6'4/320 pounds, Blacklock might be in the running for the Freshman All-Big 12 team.

MG: To be honest here, I really don’t think any of the 2016 class has a chance to start as true freshman. TCU is returning a lot on both sides of the ball. I do think there are plenty that could see the field though. Previously mentioned Hollins, Austin Myers and Lucas Niang could get in on an offensive line rotation. Olonilua could be joined by an Isaiah Graham at the skill positions. Maybe also Ross Blacklock.

MS: As mentioned above, I’ll take Blacklock. The guy is an elite player at a position of need. 

SF: I think Ross Blacklock has the best chance to start as a freshman. He showed during his prep career he has the tools to be able to start right away. He has a powerful base in his 6’4” 314 lbs. frame that helps him maneuver linemen to get to the ball carrier and he’s really smart diagnosing where plays are going.

© Greg Powers

Who is the most likely to change positions?

BH: Camron Williams, who played most of his high school career as a receiver, will most likely switch over to defensive end. He's a little underweight right now at 6'2, 190 pounds, but his athleticism will help him transition well to the defensive side of the ball. 

JDM: I think we're going to see Dylan Thomas bounce around a lot, particularly with the needs of TCU's spring team. With the Julian Lewis injury news, I won't be surprised to see another athlete move to cornerback.

MG: Hard to say really. There’s so many players in this class that can play multiple positions.

MS: There is a good chance running back Sewo Olonilua switches over to the defensive side at linebacker. At 6-3, 225 pounds he fits the build. He’s a four-star athlete who chose TCU over LSU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

SF: I think tight end Artavious Lynn could change positions. He has a long, 6’6” frame that could make him a Jadaveon Clowney-esque pass rusher whether it be as an outside linebacker or defensive end.

Who is the most intriguing player in this class?

BH: Ryan Parker, who was the last player to sign with TCU on signing day, is a very interesting prospect. He comitted to TCU two years ago, but didn't qualify academically. Then after spending two seasons at Tyler Junior College, he committs to Oklahoma, then decomitts, then signs with TCU. So, there are still questions concerning his elgibility, especially due to the fact that it appears Oklahoma couldn't take him. However, his a great wide receiver, with good speed, quickness, hands and concentration. It will be interesting to see if Parker can qualify for TCU, becuase if he does, the Frogs just got one heck of a player. 

JDM: I'm fascinated with Mat Boesen. I love his story of a second chance, I love his commitment to TCU and his respect for his former school (Boise State), I absolutely love his long, blond surfer hair and Iove the fact that he's a high capacity motor. I'm a huge Boesen fan, and with the fact that he'll quickly compete for Mike Tuaua's old spot, he's unquestionably the most intriguing Frog to me in the 2016 class.

MG: To me, it’s Darius Anderson. Didn’t mention him above in the “best chance to start as a freshman” question because I knew he was going here. He is as solid as a running back you’ll find in this class, on any team. Comparable to an Aaron Green/Mathew Tucker combination at the same age.

MS:  I’ll take wide-receiver Dylan Thomas. He’s a local player from Psachal High School who dominated at the quarterback position. He’s a tremendous athlete and currently playing basketball for the Panthers. He’s also coming back from an injury that sidelined him most of his senior year, so I’m intrigued to see the way he responds, because he was a lot of fun to watch dance around defenders at the high school level.

SF: I think Mat Boesen’s story is the most intriguing. He signed to Boise State out of high school, then dominated at Long Beach City College, and caught Gary Patterson’s eye. He has a high motor and reckless abandon mindset and will ruin any offensive coordinator’s day.

Scout Network

Which of the JuCo signees shows the most promise?

BH: My favorite JuCo signee is defensive end Mat Boesen. What sets him a part from most of the other guys is that he already has Division 1 playing experience at Boise State. I think Boesen is one of the most polished prospects in this class, and he will be able to get a lot of playing time in his first year. 

JDM: He's not a JuCo guy, but after watching LSU transfer John Diarse play in person twice, I think he's going to be a great fit in TCU's system. He's a long bomb threat who can also beat defenders into submission on the blocking front, and I won't be surprised when his name starts popping up often.

MG: Taj Williams. He is going to make an immediate impact taking the place of Josh Doctson. Tall at 6’3” plus he’s a good route runner and the “good” part could turn into great after the spring practices.

MS: Wide receiver Taj Williams. He’s a four-star recruit and the nations No. 1 junior college wide receiver. At 6-3 he has the length TCU needs opposite of Emmanuel Porter. He had 77 catches, 945 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman and chose TCU over national powers Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Texas and Alabama. 

SF: I think Taj Williams from Iowa Western will prove to be a reincarnated Josh Doctson. He has similar speed to Doctson, similar vitals, the same hands. Williams runs some of the best routes in the nation. I think he will be the best JuCo player in this class.

Gabe Brooks / SCOUT

Who is the most underrated player in this class and why should he be rated higher?

BH: Again, there aren't a whole lot of "underrated" guys in this class; however, I would consider wide receiver Isaiah Graham as a guy who should of been ranked higher. He may not have "elite speed" like some of these other guys do, but neither did Josh Doctson. Graham is a play maker, and I wouldn't be surprised if he turns out to be the best receiver in this class. 

JDM: Given the amount of praise for this whole class, I think the only guy I'd rate higher is Lucas Niang. As I already said, you can't coach size, and at 6'5 and nearly 300 pounds, that guy is going to be absolutely dangerous when he's exposed to TCU's strength and conditioning program. I could see him as a 4-star talent, easy.

MG: Isaiah Graham comes to mind. I’m having a hard time believing there are 89 other wide receivers in the 2016 class that are better. Not the fastest there is, which is more than likely his biggest knock, but he still manages 1,000 yard seasons.  

MS: I'll take CB Keshawn Somerville. The former Baylor commit is a four-star but I think he is overlooked in this class. He is the 31st ranked cornerback in Texas, and I expect him to be an elite player under Gary Patterson

SF: I have to go back to Innis Gaines. He flew in under the radar until his midseason highlights came out. There has not been too much hype around him because of when he came on to the scene. His instincts are uncanny for a high school athlete. He has the size, speed, ability, and ruthless mentality you need from a safety.

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