Casey Pachall's Return Will Make TCU a Player in the Big 12

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterJanuary 14, 2013

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 29:  Casey Pachall #4 of the TCU Horned Frogs warms up in the rain before kickoff against the SMU Mustangs on September 29, 2012 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Quarterback Casey Pachall has returned to TCU, according to the Star Telegram. Pachall left the school to undergo substance-abuse rehab after he was charged with suspicion of driving while intoxicated last October.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson said Pachall looked "great."  

"It's like he looked when he was a freshman. Right now, we feel really good about this. It's never going to be 100 percent perfect but there is a chance we did the right thing and made a difference. You've got to understand, everybody is going to be watching on this."

If Pachall can not only remain committed to his rehab goals but also regain his starter status with the football team, then Patterson will have not only turned around a young man's life but also given a football team reason to enter 2013's spring camp full of optimism. 

TCU's (7-6) first season in the Big 12 ended up with a 17-16 loss to Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. TCU had always prided itself on solid defense, and for the most part, that unit didn't disappoint last year, but the offense was definitely impacted by Pachall's absence. 

Trevone Boykin filled in admirably for Pachall against Iowa State, but he did throw three interceptions in the Horned Frogs' 37-23 loss to the Cyclones.

Pachall holds several school records—he broke Andy Dalton's 2010 single-season completion record (228), single-season yardage record (2,921) and pass completion percentage record (66.5). Dalton produced the most prolific season of any TCU quarterback, yet one year later, Pachall rewrote the record books.  

Pachall was named All-Mountain West quarterback (second team) in 2011, throwing for 2,921 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and a repeat performance was expected in 2012. Pachall would only play in four games before leaving the school to enter rehab. 

While TCU did well in its first year in a BCS conference, Patterson would obviously like to be in a BCS bowl at the end of the season—with Pachall back, he's got a better shot because more than half of the Big 12 teams will be breaking in new quarterbacks. Oklahoma's Landry Jones, Baylor's Nick Florence, West Virginia's Geno Smith, Kansas State's Collin Klein, Texas Tech's Seth Doege and Kansas' Dayne Crist are all gone.

TCU will be one of the few Big 12 teams with a veteran quarterback returning this season, but it's not just his return that makes TCU a legitimate contender for the Big 12 crown.  

TCU got a nice postseason surprise when cornerback Jason Verrett announced he would return for his senior season. Even one of its freshman players is turning heads; defensive end Devonte Fields was named to the All-Big-12 first team as a true freshman.

Pachall hasn't thrown a ball or lifted weights in several months, according to the Star-Telegram report, nor has he been officially announced as the starting quarterback.

Pachall will begin working out with the team Monday and will likely be given a chance to earn the starting job, which Trevone Boykin filled when Pachall left after the Horned Frogs' fourth game. Pachall will be a senior in 2013.

The offense will have some holes to fill in the offseason, but with Pachall back and Patterson doing his usual Patterson things with a football team, TCU definitely looks a lot more interesting as a preseason ranked team.