National Signing Day 2010: Is TCU's Class Good for a Change?

Greg ArchuletaContributor IFebruary 3, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs looks on against the Boise State Broncos during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Signing day never has been as big a deal as "Reassigning Day" for the TCU football program.

So while the Horned Frogs landed their best recruiting class ever in 2010 on paper, they've built themselves into a top-10 program by signing athletes that are versatile and fast.

How else do you explain a program that has finished 2008 and 2009 ranked seventh and sixth, respectively, in the final Associated Press polls when their recruiting classes since 2005 have ranked no higher than 46th—at least by

TCU almost singlehandedly shows on an annual basis how precarious recruiting class rankings are.

Here's a quick history lesson. Check out the Frogs' signing-day finishes on Rivals since 2004:

2005: 56th

2006: 61st

2007: 80th

2008: 96th...96th?

2009: 46th.

2010: 46th.

Their record since 2005? The Horned Frogs are 53-11.

TCU is either getting great coaching or the recruiting ranking systems are a bit overrated. Or both.

The secret to coach Gary Patterson's success the past five years has been his staff's ability to evaluate talent based on potential, rather than any preconceived scouting report.

That's why several of his players—his more successful players—end up at positions different than the ones they played before coming to TCU.

The Horned Frogs have success reassigning players to different positions like no other program in the nation.

Look no further than Lott Trophy winner and reigning Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year Jerry Hughes as proof.

He was an all-district and honorable mention all-state player at Austin High School in Sugarland, Texas in 2005 that Rivals rated two stars.

TCU's 2010 class is guaranteed not to have any such stories. None of its recruits are rated lower than three stars by Rivals.

The Horned Frogs landed two four-star recruits in wide receiver Curtis Carter of Stonewall, La., and running back Ethan Grant of Coconut Creek, Fla.

Their ranking predisposes them to greater expectations of greatness. Not that they're destined to be great.

Even if they are, it might not be at the positions they played in high school. The trio could shine at any number of positions.

Even punter, knowing TCU.

Grant originally committed to Oregon before changing his mind and jumping on the Frogs bandwagon. Wide receiver Chris Hawkins (Channelview, Texas) originally was headed to Minnesota. Running back Matt Anderson (Vanderbilt, Texas) first was a Utah pledge.

Even quarterback Matt Brown (Allen, Texas)—who along with Sam Carter of Alief, Texas, will try to succeed Andy Dalton in 2011—jilted Arizona for TCU.

The Frogs did lose four-star running back Josh Huff (Aldine, Texas), who signed with Oregon. He'd originally committed with the Ducks but then jumped on the Horned Frogs bandwagon before flying back to Oregon on signing day.

Still, it's a sure sign of progress when you've become the robber rather than the robbed.

Yet despite the star-studded class, TCU finished 46th nationally, according to Rivals. Utah was the top Mountain West Conference team at No. 33, with Brigham Young at No. 40 among MWC schools.

Huff's defection cost the Frogs about 10 spots on the Rivals rankings. They were 36th nationally going into signing day.

Revising a Patterson favorite saying, it's not where you're ranked in February; it's where you're ranked in December or January that matters.

And, at least at TCU, where you end up playing matters as much.

TCU Class of 2010

Name , position, height, weight, hometown (School), Height, Weight. Recruiting rankings.

Jonathan Anderson
, safety, 6'1", 196, Corpus Christi, Texas (Carroll). Rivals three-star, Scout two-star, ESPN three-star.

Matt Anderson
, tailback/safety,  6'2", 214, Vanderbilt, Texas (Industrial). Rivals three-star, Scout two-star.

Travaras Battle-Smith
, cornerback, 5'10", 175, San Antonio (John Jay). Rivals three-star, Scout two-star, ESPN three-star.

Matt Brown , quarterback, 6'1", 185, Allen, Texas (Allen). Rivals three-star, Scout three-star, ESPN three-star.

Stephen Bryant , tight end, 6'5", 220, New Deal, Texas (New Deal). Rivals three-star, Scout two-star.

Curtis Carter
, tailback/wide receiver, 5'10", 170, Stonewall, La. (North De Soto WR). Rivals four-star, Scout three-star, ESPN three-star.

Sam Carter , quarterback, 6'0", 205 Alief, Texas (Hastings). Rivals three-star, Scout three-star, ESPN four-star.

Ethan Grant
, running back, 5'10", 175, Coconut Creek, Fla. Rivals four-star, Scout three-star, ESPN three-star.

Antonio Graves
, safety/wide receiver, 6'1", 210, Texarkana, Texas (Pleasant Grove). Rivals three-star, Scout two-star.

Chris Hawkins , wide receiver, 6'2", 175, Channelview, Texas (Channelview). Rivals three-star, Scout three-star, ESPN three-star.

David Johnson
, defensive tackle, 6'2", 270, Argyle, Texas (Argyle). Rivals three-star, Scout three-star, ESPN four-star.

Marcus Mallett , linebacker, 6'1", 216 Cleveland, Texas (Cleveland). Rivals three-star, ESPN two-star.

Clifton Murphy
, defensive end, 6'4", 230, Little Elm, Texas (Little Elm). Rivals three-star.

Elisha Olabode , defensive back, 5'10", 170, Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill). Rivals three-star, Scout three-star, ESPN three-star.

Blake Roberts , linebacker, 6'4", 225, Tyler, Texas (Tyler Lee). Rivals three-star, Scout three-star, ESPN three-star.

Michael Thompson
, center, 6'4", 315, Farmersville, Texas (Farmersville). Rivals three-star.

Nykiren Wellington
, offensive tackle, 6'6", 275, San Antonio, Texas (Holmes). Rivals three-star, Scout three-star.

Kevin White , cornerback, 5'10", 170, Round Rock, Texas (Stony Point). Rivals three-star, Scout two-star, ESPN three-star.