It was quite a week for TCU Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson and his team hasn't even played a game. TCU athletic director Chris del Conte is never shy about touting his coach as the best in America. Well, now he has company.
In an ESPN The Magazine poll of 55 college coaches, Patterson was voted as the No. 1 coach in the country. A few days later Sports Illustrated crowned Patterson as tops in his profession.
Obviously, results on the field -- 36-3 since 2008, two BCS appearances and a Rose Bowl victory -- serve as the catalyst. Driving those victories has been Patterson and his staff's consistent ability to develop talent, often plucking a lightly recruited player out of high school, switching him to a new position -- even on the other side of the line of scrimmage -- and transforming him into the kind of disciplined, dynamic college player that greatly interests NFL teams.
In 10 years as TCU's head coach, Patterson's recruiting classes have rarely been lauded for their superiority out of high school, yet a total of 29 Frogs have been drafted and 26 former players under Patterson are on NFL rosters.
Outside of the power programs that sign blue-chip athletes every February, no program is developing NFL talent quite like TCU.
Patterson points to the 2010 class as a prime example.
"Out of 20 scholarship guys, 12 of them [made NFL] camps," said Patterson, who mentioned that before former walk-on receiver Curtis Clay became the 13th when he signed with the Dallas Cowboys. "I don't know if any of them are going to make it. Maybe all of them make it. The bottom line to it is they were good enough and were committed enough that somebody thought, 'Well, I can bring them into camp and maybe they’ll make a good special teams player.'"
That's what the New England Patriots surely thought when they drafted backup cornerback Malcolm Williams -- the fifth Frog drafted last April and the second by the Patriots (Marcus Cannon, fifth round) -- in the seventh round.
The thing about Williams is that in two seasons at TCU, 16 of his 22 tackles came on special teams.
"The biggest compliment you have is Malcolm Williams getting drafted by the New England Patriots. He never started one snap at corner for us; didn’t hardly play," Patterson said. "But, he played all special teams and he tested unbelievable and he gets drafted in the seventh round. What bigger compliment can you pay a program than to get somebody drafted that doesn’t even start?"