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. 17 pro-style quarterback nationally | no. 39 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.
Emanuel Porter, Dallas (Texas) Lincoln wide receiver
6'5 | 190 pounds | *** | No. 50 wide receiver nationally | No. 46 player in Texas
An early pledge to TCU before playing high school football, Porter burst onto the recruiting scene as a junior, but his pledge to the Horned Frogs probably kept his recruitment from taking off. A Texas offer convinced him to flip to the Horns in the summer of 2013, but the departure of Mack Brown and his staff eventually led Porter back to TCU, but not before making an official visit to the other school that offered him, LSU.
The former basketball player has excellent size and speed for the position and projects as a deep threat in college because of his speed and ability to high-point the football in the same way that he used to go up for rebounds. His hands appeared to improve from his junior to his senior season and while there remains a significant danger that Porter doesn't come to understand the nuances of the position, he should be effective running go routes and in the red zone in college in a worst-case scenario.
Ty Barrett, Dallas (Texas) Skyline offensive tackle
6'4 | 300 pounds | *** | no. 27 offensive tackle nationally | no. 47 player in Texas
A 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. A brief decommitment in January followed as the vocal recruiter for the Horned Frogs took official visits to Arizona State and UCF before recommitting to TCU. 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.
Grayson Muehlstein, Decatur (Texas) quarterback
6'4 | 195 pounds | *** | no. 29 pro-style quarterback nationally | no. 87 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. 37 cornerback nationally | no. 64 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.
Kenny Iloka, Tyler (Texas) Junior College safety
6'2 | 206 pounds | *** | No. 2 junior college safety | No. 5 junior college player in Texas
The younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka, the younger Iloka was a big pick up for Gary Patterson and his staff after surviving a late surge by Texas. The early enrollee also had offers from Georgia State, Memphis, and Middle Tennessee State.
A perfect fit in the TCU 4-2-5 defense after playing in the same scheme at Tyler JC, Iloka has a strong combination of size and athleticism, as well as striking ability. Asked by the Tyler coaches to do a lot for their defense, Iloka could replace the departed Elisha Olabode, but has a skill set that might play better at the strong safety position currently occupied by Sam Carter.
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. 77 athlete nationally | no. 120 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.
LJ Collier, Munday (Texas) defensive end
6'3 | 230 pounds | *** | No. 49 weakside defensive end nationally | No. 128 player in Texas
Collier was an early Texas Tech commit when the Red Raiders were his only offer, but followed former Red Raider coach Sonny Cumbie to TCU after Texas Tech essentially pulled his scholarship offer. A raw prospect who will probably need some time to develop after playing in a small classification in high school, Collier is a strong athlete and could eventually become a good collegiate pass-rusher with his quickness off the ball, but needs to improve his ability to hold the point of attack.
Nick Orr, DeSoto (Texas) safety
5'10 | 165 pounds | *** | no. 92 safety nationally | no. 129 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.
Travin Howard, Longview (Texas) safety
5'11 | 190 pounds | *** | No. 102 safety nationally | No. 144 player in Texas
Eight interceptions as a senior weren't enough to convince many schools to offer Howard, as UTSA was his only other reported offer when he committed to TCU in January of 2014. Adept at reading quarterbacks in zone coverage, Howard has strong instincts for the football that no doubt endeared him to the Horned Frog coaching staff. Tracking the ball in the air is another strength for the fluid defender who is also comfortable playing around the line of scrimmage.
Ryan Parker, Keller (Texas) Fossil Ridge wide receiver
6'1 | 195 pounds | *** | No. 151 wide receiver nationally | No. 151 player in Texas
A productive wide receiver who racked up 1,200 receiving yards as a senior and 17 touchdowns, along with another 199 yards on the ground, Parker's 247Sports profile doesn't report any other offers. The December 2013 commit is another prospect who played basketball instead of football early in his high school career before turning in that impressive senior season. The long-legged Parker shows off natural ball skills on film and good open-field ability that allows him to make sharp cuts and break tackles to pick up extra yardage.
Ryan Giswold, Pearland (Texas) offensive tackle
6'4 | 250 pounds | *** | No. 113 offensive tackle nationally | No. 177 player in Texas
Another addition in the January recruiting run for the Horned Frogs, Griswold also held offers from Air Force, Boise State, Houston, and Louisiana Tech. Also a defensive end in high school, the Pearland product has good feet and flexibility, but needs to add a significant amount of weight to be able to contribute at TCU and will have to do so without losing his athleticism.
Austin Schlottmann, Brenham (Texas) offensive tackle
6'5 | 285 pounds | *** | no. 115 offensive tackle nationally | no. 179 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.
Casey McDermott Vai, St. Louis (Miss.) Raytown South defensive end
6'4 | 250 pounds | *** | No. 66 strongside defensive end | No. 23 player in Missouri
A December addition to the class, the Missouri product chose TCU over offers from Illinois State, Northern Illinois, North Dakota State, and South Dakota. Vai is a lean 250 pounds, suggesting that he could eventually grow into a three-technique defensive tackle if he fills his frame out in college. He has the ability to beat opponents off the edge playing defensive end and also use an affective bullrush playing defensive tackle to put pressure on the quarterback.
Chris Bradley, Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian linebacker
6'2 | 250 pounds | *** | No. 134 outside linebacker nationally | No. 63 player in Louisiana
An Arkansas target and yet another January pledge to the Horned Frogs, Bradley also held offers from McNeese State, Southern, and Texas State. Oddly listed as an outside linebacker despite the size of a strong side defensive end, the future for Bradley at TCU is probably along the line of scrimmage. Bradley hits with a good deal of violence and generally plays the game with what appears to be a high motor, taking advantage of solid athleticism.
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.
Trey Elliott, Dallas (Texas) Jesuit offensive tackle
6'4 | 270 pounds | ** | No. 160 offensive tackle nationally | No. 283 player in Texas
Elliott committed to the Horned Frogs four days after receiving his offer and two days after taking his official visit. Texas Tech also offered during that stretch, joining Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, and Northern Colorado. Against private school competition, Elliott was dominant as a run blocker from his right tackle position and reports above-average athleticism for his position with a 29-inch vertical leap and 4.8 40-yard dash.
Ridwan Issahaku Norcross (Georgia) cornerback
6'0 | 180 pounds | ** | No. 172 cornerback nationally | No. 182 player in Georgia
Issahaku committed to Georgia State in January of 2014 and held a spot in that class for only one week, flipping to TCU two days after taking his official visit to Fort Worth. He also held offers from Buffalo and Western Kentucky. As expected for a two-star prospect, Issahaku doesn't have any extraordinary physical attributes beyond ideal size for the position, as his speed and change-of-direction ability are both suspect. However, he was massively productive at the high school levee, intercepting six passes and breaking up 20 others as a senior.
Ty Summers, San Antonio (Texas) Reagan athlete
6'2 | 210 pounds | ** | No. 198 athlete nationally | No. 374 player in Texas
Committed to Rice since June of 2013, Summers flipped to TCU in December. The high school quarterback will make a move to the defensive side of the ball as a Horned Frog and will have to grow into the linebacker position, where his intelligence should help him adjust quickly.
Verbal commitments are non-binding and change frequently.
For more on TCU Horned Frogs recruiting, visit Frogs O' War.