When 4-star quarterback Justin Rogers committed to TCU this summer, he became the latest blue-chip recruit in what is becoming a new trend for the Horned Frogs.
TCU is currently pulling in more highly rated recruits than ever before. With Rogers, the Frogs have landed 15 4-star recruits since 2016, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. In the 11 years before that, they had just eight 4-star signees. And now the 2018 class may end up as the Frogs’ highest-ranked ever.
— JG1 (@_justinrogers) May 31, 2017
They could climb even higher in the rankings by the time the first signing period arrives in December.
Terrace Marshall Jr., Rogers’ high school teammate and the nation’s No. 1 receiver, is reportedly still considering TCU. Ja’Marr Chase, a 4-star wideout and another top prospect from Louisiana, has the Frogs in his final two. And other blue-chippers like Jaylen Waddle, D’Shawn Jamison and Jalen Green are considering TCU as well.
In 2017, TCU had the No. 28-ranked class nationally. The class was top-heavy with stars such as 4-star quarterback Shawn Robinson, the reigning Texas Gatorade Player of the Year, and 4-star receiver Jalen Reagor. The year before that, the Frogs landed 4-star tailback Sewo Olonilua and blue-chip defensive linemen Brandon Bowen and Isaiah Chambers, among others.
It’s a drastic shift for coach Gary Patterson, who built his reputation on turning under-the-radar prospects into quality college players. Some of his best teams were stocked with recruiting classes ranked in the 50s and 60s, headlined by former 2-star prospects such as Andy Dalton and Jerry Hughes.
But with the move to the Big 12, Patterson repeatedly said TCU needed to improve in recruiting to consistently compete. Unlike in the Mountain West, TCU would be facing schools such as Oklahoma and Texas, which boast deeper, more talented rosters.
Patterson still talks about wanting players with a “2-star attitude,” but his staff has continued to pursue more players with 4- and 5-star talent. The difference is that they’re finally able to land some of those players.
The Frogs’ proximity to recruiting hotbeds has helped. They have capitalized on their location in the heart of Dallas-Fort Worth, pulling in top local prospects such as Robinson. They plucked Chambers and others from Houston. And in the cases of Rogers, Marshall and Chase, they’ve been dipping into neighboring Louisiana.
Patterson has also stocked his staff with ace recruiters. Co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie pretty much single-handedly stole Rogers out of Louisiana. Co-offensive coordinator Curtis Luper was one of the top recruiters for Auburn when it won the national championship in 2010. And defensive line coach Zarnell Fitch was TCU’s recruiting coordinator when the Frogs pulled in that all-time class in 2016.
Combine all of that with a couple of years of proven success in the Big 12, and TCU has now been able to make a convincing pitch to some of the nation’s top recruits.
Not every blue-chip prospect is going to pan out. Some of TCU’s recent 4-star signees such as Tyree Horton, Ryan Parker and DeShawn Raymond are examples.
But history says there’s a direct relationship between getting better recruits and competing for championships. And TCU is trying to do both.