Football team welcomes 18 new players for next season

Just as the BCS settled, the Horned Frog football team signed 18 new players for the promising 2010 season.

Head coach Gary Patterson held a press conference Wednesday to discuss the new athletes and the growth of the program.

“We have gained a lot more national respect when you talk to kids about what they think of TCU, its academics and football program,” Patterson said.

This class includes two out-of-state four-star recruits, Curtis Carter from Stonewall, La., and Ethan Grant from Coconut Creek, Fla.

Carter is ranked No. 8 overall in Louisiana as well as the No. 4 fastest athlete and No. 21 overall athlete in the nation according to The term “athlete” in recruiting terms applies to players who could play a variety of positions on college.

Grant, averaging 40 yards per reception in his senior season at North Broward High School, is ranked as the No. 34 overall recruit in Florida and the No. 15 tailback in the country.

Another standout athlete who is already enrolled at the university this spring is Travaras Battle-Smith, a cornerback from San Antonio. According to he is rated the No. 79 athlete in the nation among his recruiting class.

Patterson said the Frogs are graduating three offensive starters this year and have a large number of junior players heading into their final season on offense. He added that keeping that in mind, the Frogs recruited offensive players heavily to help provide depth.

“We always plan for the future. We have five wide receivers and five safeties who are going to be seniors this year, so we had to make sure we signed guys we could grow up and have ready to go in a year,” Patterson said. “We are going to graduate four offensive linemen. We knew we would have to bring in a couple of guys to make sure that we wouldn’t have to get a large number in the next class, so that you are reloading and not regrouping.”

Wide receiver recruit Chris Hawkins, from Channelview,, turned down offers from 11 other programs, including California, Nebraska and Utah.

Hawkins was ranked the No. 14 wide receiver in Texas and No. 77 in the country. He averaged 40.1 yards per reception on 10 catches as a junior at Channelview High School.

Patterson stressed that the emphasis of the program is not to recruit better players than the university already has, but to continue gaining depth across the board.

“People say that we are going to go out and recruit better players, but we just came a few seconds away from possibly playing for a national championship,” Patterson said. “I think it will help us the most in our depth. Just because we played in a little higher bowl, it doesn’t mean that our players got any better.”

With the opportunity to play in a BCS bowl game this year, TCU gained ground in recruiting and added some players who had commitments elsewhere, Patterson said.

The key to a good recruit, Patterson said, is an player who not only has skill on the field, but also has character and fits into the program.

“The key is how do they come into your system, how do they fit, how will they mature and how do they move forward? We are excited about the kids we have now. We’re excited about this class coming in, and I’m really excited about the possibilities of the kinds of kids we can recruit in the future,” Patterson said.

The focus, Patterson said, is on growing the program and continuing to work their way up the infamous pyramid.

“It’s kind of like that old saying that we live by here, ‘You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse,'” Patterson said. “You can’t stay the same. If you are, you’re losing out. We just need to keep moving.”


2010 TCU Football Signings

Jonathan Anderson

Anderson is a safety from Corpus Christi, Texas. Ranked by at the No. 32 safety in the country, he averaged 9.1 yards per carry as a senior at Carroll High School for a total of 537 rushing yards for four touchdowns his senior season. Anderson chose TCU over offers from Utah, Kansas and Vanderbilt.

Matt Anderson

Anderson played in just four games and rushed for eight touchdowns his senior season at Industrial High School in Vanderbilt before he was sidelined by an injury. As a junior, this tailback earned 1061 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. He also played at cornerback and safety.

“Matt Anderson got hurt during his senior year but has tremendous skill. We had him in camp and he has unbelievable power and change of direction. He also has great feet for a 6-foot-2 guy,” head coach Gary Patterson said. “A year ago, he was 6-foot-2, 199 pounds. He might grow up to be 275 pounds one day, but I don’t know. What I do know is that he can run.”

Anderson signed with TCU; turning down offers from conference rival Utah and Southern Methodist University.

Travaras Battle-Smith

Battle-Smith, ranked as the No. 79 athlete by is no stranger to either side of the ball. With 69 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles, Battle-Smith earned all-district on defense during his senior season at John Jay High School. He is a player that projects as a cornerback at the college level, although he did rush for over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns over his junior and senior seasons. He has been committed to TCU since June 2009. He signed with TCU despite other Texas offers from Baylor and Texas A&M. He is already enrolled in classes this spring and will participate in practices this semester.

Matt Brown

Patterson said, “Matt Brown, from Allen, was a late get and we are excited about him. He is probably a sleeper in this 2010 class.”

Although Brown signed with the Frogs late in the game, resending a commitment to Arizona and turning down offers from Nebraska, Iowa State and Kansas State, Patterson says he could have an opportunity to compete for playing time this season at quarterback. He was ranked the No. 11 dual-threat quarterback by and the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in Texas. As a senior, Brown threw for 24 touchdowns at Allen High School. He completed 6,805 passing yards and 64 touchdowns in his high school career. He earned All-State and Most Valuable Player honors on offense for the state of Texas.

Stephen Bryant

Bryant played all over the place at New Deal High School, where he was used as a quarterback, safety, kick returner and punt returner. Coming from New Deal, Texas, this Class A All-state athlete is projected to end up at tight end. He picked TCU over Baylor and Iowa State.

Curtis Carter

This four-star recruit from Stonewall, Louisiana is one of TCU’s two out-of-state signees. He was rated the No. 4 fastest athlete in the country as well at the No. 21 overall athlete. This multipurpose athlete, projected to play at tailback and wide receiver, recorded 1200 all-purpose yards in his senior season at North De Soto High School. Carter signed with TCU over national champions Alabama, Nebraska, Missouri and Mississippi State.

Sam Carter

“We also have an athlete in Sam Carter. Besides quarterback, he can play a number of other positions. He could be a starting tailback at TCU if he wanted to be,” Patterson said.

Carter, a native of Alief, Texas, signed with TCU as the No. 23 ranked dual-threat quarterback by, and the No. 4 dual-threat signal caller in Texas. At Hastings High School, he completed 14 touchdowns and passed 1791 yards as well as 995 rushing yards for 12 touchdowns in his senior season. Carter chose TCU over Baylor, Houston, and Miami (Fla.).

Ethan Grant

As the other out-of-state signee, this four-star recruit chose TCU over Oregon, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Grant switched to the Frogs late in the recruiting process after committing to Oregon months in advance. He was ranked the No. 15 running back in the nation, as well as the No. 5 running back in Florida by As a senior at North Broward High School, he rushed for 1100 yards and 14 touchdowns with an average of 9.4 yards per carry. Carter helped lead North Broward to two state championships during his four years.

Patterson said that Grant is very fast and could also play for the Frogs at the position of slot receiver.

Antonio Graves

Graves played quarterback at Texarkana’s Class 3A Pleasant Grove High School in 2009 and led the team to the state semifinals. The District 16-3A Most Valuable Player threw for 27 touchdowns and ran for 18 more, but it is unlikely he will be a signal caller for the Frogs. Instead, he is projected at safety and wide receiver. Graves showed up on defense at Pleasant Grove as well recording 83 tackles and three fumble recoveries. He signed with TCU over Baylor and Louisiana Tech.

Chris Hawkins

Although Hawkins received offers from Minnesota, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Nebraska and Utah, this wide receiver from Channelview, Texas signed with TCU. Ranked as the No. 77 wide receiver in the country, he had 11 touchdowns as a senior among his 27 receptions. He also made an impact on defense with two interceptions, and on special teams with an average of 29.3 yards on kickoff returns. He was a first-team All-District 21-5A selection in his senior season.

David Johnson

Just a short ride to the north on I-35W, the Argyle High School product led a team that went three rounds deep in the playoffs. He came away with 81 tackles, 25 for a loss, and six sacks last fall. As a junior, he was named the District Defensive Lineman of the Year with 77 stops. Ranked as the No. 4 defensive tackle in Texas and No. 31 in the country by, this first-team All-State defensive lineman chose TCU over Stanford and Texas Tech. In addition to Battle-Smith, Johnson is enrolled as a student this semester at the university and will participate in spring practices.

Marcus Mallett

Mallet signed with TCU after completing his high school career as a linebacker at Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Texas. Mallet was rated as the No. 8 outside linebacker in the state and was the District 22-3A Most Valuable Player as a junior. He selected TCU over Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin.

Clifton Murphy

Murphy was a late addition to the recruiting class and is a defensive end who will not need to be converted to another position like so many of the defensive players that Patterson recruits. He recorded eight sacks and 28 tackles for loss. This first-team All-District 5-4A selection from Little Elm, Texas is projected as a defensive end at the college level. He turned down offers from SMU and Colorado State to play for the Horned Frogs.

Elisha Olabode

Ranked as the No. 9 safety in Texas by, as well as the No. 54 safety in the country, Olabode recorded 61 tackles and four interceptions as a senior. He also had five return touchdowns; three on punt returns alone, and touchdowns off an interception and a missed field goal as a senior at Cedar Hill High School. Olabode chose TCU over offers from Arizona, Baylor, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Blake Roberts

From Tyler, Texas, ranks this outside linebacker at the No. 10 spot in the state of Texas, and the No. 45 spot in the country. Roberts was a three-time all-district selection during his football career at Robert E. Lee High School. Projected at linebacker and defensive end, Roberts chose TCU over Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue and Texas Tech.

Michael Thompson

A first team all-state selection on both the offensive and defensive lines, Thompson is rated the No. 4 center in Texas. His bench press and squat maxes are listed at 400 and 600 pounds, respectively. As a sophomore, he helped Farmersville High School win their 2A state championship, earning him All-State honors.

Nykiren Wellington

Projected at offensive tackle, Wellington comes to TCU from Holmes High School in San Antonio. Like Thompson, Wellington also played on both sides of the ball and lettered three times. He chose TCU from a reported top three that featured the Frogs, Utah and Colorado.

Kevin White

An all-state selection, White had seven picks and nine passes defended as a senior. He led Stony Point High School in Round Rock, Texas to within one game of the state championship in 2009. He is projected at cornerback and signed with TCU over offers from Air Force and Utah.

– TCU News Now reporter Chris Blake contributed to this report