Recruiting success in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is nothing new for Gary Patterson and his coaching staff. However, this year’s recruiting class is more saturated with local talent than other recent classes.
Out of the sixteen verbal commitments TCU has secured for the 2015 recruiting class, ten of them are from the greater DFW area and all sixteen attend high school in Texas.
Currently, 68.64 percent of TCU’s active roster went to high school in Texas, which is the ninth highest percentage of in state players among NCAA Division I football teams, according to a study done by FootballScoop.com’s Joe Bowen.
Map of TCU’s 2015 Verbal Commits
In past recruiting classes, many of TCU’s signees came from more rural towns in Texas, but since moving from the Mountain West to the Big 12, local prospects are now seeing TCU as a more attractive destination.
Jeremy Clark, publisher for Scout.com’s TCU recruiting service, HornedFrogBlitz.com, said the closer proximity to other schools in the Big 12 makes TCU more appealing to local recruits.
“When TCU was in the Mountain West there was no reason for [these players] to consider them because they were going to be playing all of their games out of state,” Clark said.
“If you look at the schedule this year, if you’re a parent of a TCU player, you only have to leave the state twice to go to Kansas and West Virginia,” he said.
Billy Wessels, a publisher for TCU’s Rivals.com site PurpleMenace.com, said TCU’s move to the Big 12 is enticing DFW prospects because of the competition within the major conference.
“A lot of people want to play in the power five conferences. For a long time there wasn’t a Big 12 caliber school in DFW for these guys to go and want to play for growing up,” Wessels said.
Clark and Wessels added that the transition to the Big 12 isn’t the only reason why high school players are more interested in Gary Patterson’s program.
After last season, TCU hired co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie to install the Air Raid offense.
Since implementing the new offensive system, the Horned Frogs’ attack has become one of the best in all of college football.
“If you look at what they’ve done team and scheme wise, the change in the offense has really helped them recruiting-wise with keeping the top offensive players in DFW close to home because they play in that type of offense in high school,” Clark said.
“There’s tons of talent between Fort Worth and Dallas. A lot of guys are looking at TCU with the new offense; they’re scoring a lot of points,” Wessels said. “The coaches too, Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham played a big role in that as well, they love their personality and how they are relatable.”
While DFW is one of the most fertile recruiting areas in the country for college football prospects, TCU hasn’t been known for filling its recruiting classes with star players.
Travis Brown, who covers DFW recruiting for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said Patterson and his coaching staff don’t pay much attention to recruiting service rankings when deciding how to put recruiting classes together.
“Patterson has this catch phrase called ‘Frog Factor’ – he wants a kid who wants to be at TCU, whether he’s a five star or a two star, and who they evaluated can really play and has upside,” Brown said.
Brown also said joining the Big 12 gives TCU the opportunity to pursue DFW’s more highly touted recruits.
“Coming to the Big 12 opened TCU up to a higher caliber of recruit,” Brown said.
“If you look at it from a recruiting standpoint, if it wasn’t for the Big 12, TCU is pulling in the kind of recruit Devonte Fields was, they’re not flipping a kid like Kyle Hicks,” Brown said.
However, Brown said he doesn’t think the move to a power five conference or on-field success will change the coaching staff’s recruiting philosophy.
“While being successful in the Big 12 might open some doors for some higher rated recruits, I think their X factor is getting those who want to be at TCU,” Brown said.