The TCU Horned Frogs got off to a strong start in the 2014 recruiting cycle, landing six commitments quickly in the class during the spring, the second-most in the Big 12 at the time and good for second in the conference in the 247Sports Composite team rankings, as the move to the Big 12, improvements to the facilities in Fort Worth, and success on the field all paid dividends for the rising recruiting power.
However, the recruiting momentum quickly dried up for the Horned Frogs, who eventually lost three-star defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson's commitment. Through the summer, Gary Patterson and his staff were able to land several surprising high-profile commitments, but overall, a strong finish down the stretch will be necessary for a class that ranks only in front of Kansas in the Big 12 in late October.
Foster Sawyer, Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints quarterback
6'5 | 215 pounds | *** | no. 20 pro-style quarterback nationally | no. 40 player in Texas
Undefeated in his only season at All Saints, Sawyer has ideal measurables for the position and ended a recruitment that came down to the Horned Frogs, Alabama Cirmson Tide, and Oklahoma State Cowboys by choosing TCU in early April after showing well at the Dallas Elite 11 camp, where he showed off pinpoint accuracy in a drill testing the ability of the quarterbacks to throw on the run and didn't push his deep ball as much as he had last summer, perhaps in part due to strength gains made since then.
Grayson Muehlstein, Decatur (Texas) quarterback
6'4 | 195 pounds | *** | no. 37 pro-style quarterback nationally | no. 110 player in Texas
Somewhat of a surprising take because Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints quarterback Foster Sawyer was expected to be the top target for the Horned Frogs, in part because Sawyer is a local product who has family ties to the program, Muehlstein had attended a Baylor Junior Day, but did not have any other offers on the table when he committed to TCU in late February. Like a fair number of TCU pledges in 2014 and in the last cycle, Muehlstein committed on the spot when he was offered.
And though Muehlstein is rated as a pro-style quarterback, he's plenty athletic, having run for over 700 yards as a junior. He also has the overall mobility to throw well on the run, aided by the fact that a big part of Decatur's offense seems to revolve around moving the pocket for him. On the move, Muehlstein does an excellent job of squaring his shoulders to the line of scrimmage and generating velocity through his lower body, though he also has a strong arm that allows him to fit passes into tight windows -- there's a bit of a gunslinger mentality about the Decatur product.
Nick Foster, Keller (Texas) Fossil Ridge cornerback
5'10 | 170 pounds | **** | no. 32 cornerback nationally | no. 52 player in Texas
The local product ended his recruitment at the TCU elite Junior Day in early February, an event reversed for the top prospects on the Horned Frogs board. Though Foster did not report any other offers at the time of his commitment, he was receiving attention from most of the major Big 12 schools in the state of Texas and Oklahoma. With reported 4.42 speed, Foster could be yet another steal for a program that has evaluated the state of Texas as well or better than any other in recent years.
Frank Kee, Tyler (Texas) Junior College offensive guard
6'4 | 335 pounds | *** | no. 1 offensive guard in junior college | no. 4 junior college player in Texas
Kee was a late June commitment for the Horned Frogs over offers from Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, and Texas Tech. At Mansfield (Texas) Timberview in high school, Kee was a mauler in the run game, but also has exceptional feet for someone his size, so while he has the build of a pure interior player, he still possesses the athleticism to find opponents in space. When he does, Kee has an impressive pure punch, though it's not clear that he can bend to maintain leverage against squatty defensive tackles in college.
Jarrell Owens, Palestine (Texas) athlete
6'3 | 235 pounds | *** | no. 120 athlete nationally | no. 194 player in Texas
An impressive athlete in the mold of past TCU stars like Jerry Hughes, Owens will likely play defensive end in college and chose the Horned Frogs in the middle of June over offers from Louisiana-Monroe, Texas State, and Texas Tech. Owens plays running back for his high school, so he doesn't have any available film on defense, which makes him difficult to project, but head coach Gary Patterson has a strong track record in that area and Owens has good feet and speed, not to mention an impressive frame.
Nick Orr, DeSoto (Texas) safety
5'10 | 165 pounds | *** | no. 99 safety | no. 141 player in Texas
Orr joined the Horned Frogs' class in late June less than two weeks after picking up his TCU offer. The DeSoto product also held offers from Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech, along with several other non-BCS schools. A good playmaker who recorded three interceptions as a junior, as well as two blocked punts in a big contest against Euless Trinity, Orr is slightly undersized for the position, but he does have quick feet and a reported 4.51 40 time. File him under the "football player' listing.
Austin Schlottmann, Brenham (Texas) offensive tackle
6'5 | 285 pounds | *** | no. 114 offensive tackle nationally | no. 194 player in Texas
The Breham product pledged to TCU in the middle of June over offers from Arizona State, Iowa State, Texas Tech, among other non-BCS offers. A high school right tackle, Schlottman needs some work on his pass protection, but does an excellent job of cleaning up backside defenders and uses his leverage nicely to pancake opponents consistently in the run game despite the fact that he's not carrying a great deal of mass.
Jimmie Swain, Lees Summit (Mo.) linebacker
6'3 | 210 pounds | *** | no. 30 outside linebacker nationally | no. 5 player in Missouri
The highest-rated commit in the TCU class at the time of his pledge, Swain was not only a significant coup for the Horned Frogs, his pledge was also rather unexpected -- the 247Sports Crystal Ball had him at 40% to Northwestern and Missouri, with one prediction for Michigan State. He also held offers from Arkansas, Kansas State, Michigan, Nebraska, and Tennessee, among others.
A rangy linebacker who has plenty of room on his frame to add mass, Swain plays with impressive functional strength and has the range to get from sideline to sideline in pursuit of the football. Strong short-area quickness helps him between the tackles and his ability to re-direct is a major asset in the open field.
Ty Barrett, Dallas (Texas) Skyline offensive tackle
6'4 | 300 pounds | *** | no. 27 offensive tackle nationally | no. 47 player in Texas
Another surprising pledge for TCU, the industry consensus had Barrett going to Oklahoma or Ole Miss, but he decided to stay close to home when he committed in early August. Barrett also considered Texas Tech and Oklahoma State after racking up close to 20 offers during his recruitment.
Find out what Barrett brings to the table by reading the scouting report from SB Nation.
Desmon White, DeSoto (Texas) athlete
5'6 | 150 pounds | ** | no. 177 athlete nationally | no. 321 player in Texas
White only needed five days to decide that he wanted to jump on the offer from TCU, his first and only from a BCS school, on October 22. The high school quarterback also held an offer from North Texas and had been committed to the Mean Green. The Horned Frogs are no doubt hoping to find the same type of success with the diminutive but dynamic White as the Red Raiders have with their own pint-sized inside receiver Jakeem Grant. Like Grant, White has excellent quickness and change of direction ability, but is limited by his size. White will play wide receiver and return kicks at TCU.
National Signing Day is still more than four months away. Verbal commitments are non-binding and change frequently.
For more on TCU Horned Frogs recruiting, visit Frogs O' War.