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Monday, September 2, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12

By William Wilkerson

It wasn’t the greatest first impression for the Big 12. Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa, Kansas State fell to North Dakota State, and TCU lost to LSU in one of the bigger games of the weekend.

But there were some positives to take away from it, including some of the conference’s top recruiting targets shining in their first games of the season. And, believe it or not, the Horned Frogs’ 37-27 loss won’t hurt them for one of their top targets.

Best performance by a commit/target: ESPN Junior 300 running back Chris Warren (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall) rushed 32 times for 353 yards and four touchdowns, and also caught three passes for 29 yards in a 52-42 loss to Garland Naaman Forest. Warren scored on runs of 38, 35, 75 and 75 yards. Warren (6-foot-2, 216 pounds) is No. 122 overall and the No. 10 RB. He has offers from Alabama, Baylor, Clemson, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Texas, Texas Tech and Tulsa.

Most important visit: ESPN 300 offensive guard Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) and his visit to Arlington to watch TCU take on LSU. Yes, the Horned Frogs fell to the Tigers 37-27. But the atmosphere surrounding the game and the competitiveness with which the Horned Frogs played should bode well for TCU’s chances of landing Smith in the long run. He’s a big fan of Gary Patterson’s program. His sister throws shot put for the Horned Frogs. The outcome of the game shouldn’t have that much effect on Smith’s opinion of TCU.

Biggest answer: ESPN Junior 300 wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) only caught six passes for 59 yards (zero touchdowns) last season in large part because the Longhorns were so stacked on offense.

But with players such as Ole Miss signee Quincy Adeboyejo, Texas A&M signee LaQuvionte Gonzalez and Oregon signee Damion Hobbs all gone at Cedar Hill, everyone expects those numbers to drastically increase this season. One game in and Lodge has already equaled his reception total from last season and surpassed his yards gained (146) and touchdowns (1).

Lodge, the No. 41 player and No. 4 wide receiver overall, has offers from Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Iowa, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA and Utah.

Biggest question: How much, if any, will TCU’s loss to LSU at Cowboys Stadium hurt the Horned Frogs moving forward? There were plenty of big names on hand, including Smith, Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin), Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and three-star Minnesota offensive guard commitment Connor Mayes (Van Alstyne, Texas/Van Alstyne). Also present were ESPN Junior 300 prospects Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater), Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas/West) and Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville). A loss to a program like LSU, especially a competitive defeat, shouldn’t hurt TCU with someone like Smith, who has had TCU near the top of his board for a long time. But it could hurt the school's chances with Garrett and Thomas. Overall, the Horned Frogs should come away OK despite their loss. The game showed the recruits on hand what type of big games they can play in if they play for Gary Patterson.