With this weekend’s NFL Draft in New York approaching, Frog fans should take the time to reflect on the great strides the football program has made in the past decade, and the character of the players it has produced.
According to ESPN.com, seven Frog football players are in the mix to be picked this weekend.
Running back Aaron Brown, linebackers Robert Henson, Stephen Hodge and Jason Phillips, tight end Shae Reagan, center Blake Schlueter and defensive tackle James Vess could all hear their names called on draft day.
Twenty-six NFL teams were represented at the 2009 Pro Day held on campus in March, as scouts and general managers looked for solid players to fill the holes on their team.
Some fans may look at this lineup and wonder where the superstars are. A bunch of solid players, to be sure, but the Frogs haven’t produced a breakout NFL star since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001. However, that’s not what Frog football is about.
Head coach Gary Patterson and his staff take players passed on by bigger-name schools like the University of Texas and Texas A&M and turn them into a cohesive unit. The beauty of Patterson’s teams is that they are exactly that: teams. Patterson doesn’t dabble in prima donnas who are looking to exit school as quickly as possible and score an NFL contract. He builds a solid lineup of men with a working-class attitude that will do anything to help the team win.
All of the Frogs’ entrants into the 2009 Draft are seniors. Players who come to Fort Worth have a commitment to helping the team win for four years. Such dedication to a team has no choice but to carry over into the NFL.
So, while the Frogs may not be the flashiest or most recognized players on the draft board, any team would be lucky to have one.
Associate editor David Hall for the editorial board.