KILGORE -- Gary Patterson and the entire TCU football staff swung through East Texas on Thursday to begin the Horned Frogs' 2014 satellite football camp series.

It's a good starting point with 28 area seniors already holding FBS scholarship offers, plenty of underclassmen talent and the college football belief there are players still hiding somewhere in the piney woods.

"We've always come to East Texas," Patterson said. "It's been a staple for us as far as through the years of us being good we've always had a lot of East Texas players and we've been good at what we've done. We'll always be back here and it's usually one of the first camps we come to."

TCU head coach Gary Patterson sampled each position group during the Horned Frogs' camp in Kilgore. (© Christopher R. Vinn

John Tyler cornerback Isaac Warren wasn't exactly hiding, but he definitely upped his value in Kilgore.

The staff issued purple TCU camp workout shirts to the approximately 100 players from East Texas and Western Louisiana in attendance at Kilgore High School and wrote a unique number on their arm with Sharpie.

Warren moved onto a short Horned Frogs' list doing what followers of the old District 16-4A know he does. He jammed receivers and then rode their back pocket down the field in addition to positive test scores in the 40-yard dash and five-yard shuttle run.

Patterson had a private conversation with the Lions' star defensive back as the camp wound down. Other coaches played with him on the sidelines as if he was one of their own and double checked to make sure the written number on his arm was taken down a second time.

"I feel like I'm doing something right," Warren said. "If he comes again to talk to me, I'll be ready."

Per NCAA rules, college coaches are not allowed to talk about prospective players to the media.

Warren is verbally committed to Sam Houston State but admitted playing football at a higher level is intriguing. No school can officially claim him until he signs a national letter of intent on Feb. 4, 2015.

"I'd really like to play Big 12 with all the big guys," the corner said. "But Sam Houston State is a great school with great facilities and I really like it."

Warren won the defensive back Most Valuable Player honor at the Recruiting Combine on Sunday. It gave him more confidence as he enters the pivotal camp phase.

Baylor will visit Marshall High School on Saturday while North Texas and Texas Tech will host camps at Tyler Lee High School and Longview High School, respectively, Tuesday. Houston will be in the region shortly afterward and other schools are preparing for camps on their campuses within driving distance.

The combine's overall defensive Most Valuable Player, Lindale defensive back Deandre Williams, thought he himself didn't bring his best stuff for the TCU staff. He has a minor nagging injury and originally decided he would watch the camp from the sidelines before changing his mind and participating.

He was happy for Warren at the same time. The two players traded coaching points through the camp.

"I love him, man, and I hope he goes and gets it," Williams said. "I'm really his biggest fan, so I'll stand behind him the whole way."

Will Warren pick up an FBS offer in the next few days?

If his performance still stands out after a satellite camp in Plano, two more in the Houston area and an on-campus camp, the answer is promising.

"I've got a lot of FCS offers and I want some FBS offers," Warren said. "Three coaches got my name. TCU, ULM and Texas A&M-Commerce. They said they would be contacting me soon."


The Kilgore Camp

TCU's camp was laced with other programs piggybacking on the main, power conference draw.

With the Horned Frogs looking to take less than 30 players and 100 players being at this particular camp, Louisiana-Monroe had a good presence in Kilgore and East Texas Baptist University was able to get a first-hand view of players in their backyard. Several junior college representatives also were on hand.

"We have a camp and we want to make sure we give every kid a chance at whatever level he's going to play at," Patterson said. "An opportunity to earn a scholarship."

Brook Hill athlete Tyrone Brown works through a running backs drill at TCU's Kilgore football camp. (© Christopher R. Vinn

Inviting the Warhawks to attend TCU's camp was interesting to say the least. ULM has been a very good Sun Belt Conference team in recent years and the two schools could theoretically go head-to-head over the players they discovered together.

You would think the Big 12 school would have the upper hand, but every recruiting situation is different and both schools play in the highest classification of college football. They could theoretically schedule each other in the regular season or meet in a bowl game.

However, the Warhawks staff will reciprocate and invite TCU coaching staff members to their camps in Louisiana.

NCAA football rules restrict colleges from hosting camps in other states unless the location is within a 50-mile radius of the college's campus. That restricts ULM from having full-fleged camps in Texas and TCU from hosting camps in Louisiana.

The Horned Frogs' camp, consequently, drew overwhelmingly positive reviews. It wasn't a camp reaping dividends just for future Big 12 players.

The camp tested vertical jumps, 40-yard dash times and five-yard shuttle runs before breaking out into offensive and defensive sessions with exception to the quarterbacks. The signal callers worked with position coach and co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie through the whole practice phase.

All the other players had to choose one offensive and one defensive position to work as, something that caught several players by surprise. Serious two-way players are not very prevalent at larger high schools.

"I really enjoyed coming out for the TCU competition," Longview junior receiver Jon Sorey said. "It's good to get out here and compete and start off the camp season. Most importantly, we got exposure with this big college. They got to see us and get to know us a little bit."

Longview receiver Jon Sorey put up some of the best speed numbers at the camp. (© Christopher R. Vinn

Sorey put up some great numbers at the camp, including two shuttle runs clocked by the Horned Frogs' staff at about 4.2 seconds.

This is crunch time for seniors like Longview cornerback Shaun Lloyd. A primary camp purpose is for coaches to ensure they have not undervalued a senior prospect.

Generally, college's homework on senior football players is complete after the camp season ends.

Unless a player has a breakout senior campaign or a school misses very late in the process on a player it thought it had a good chance with, senior players go by the wayside in favor of the underclassmen.

TCU already has 12 seniors verbally committed to it and has mostly identified the remainder of what will be its signing class in February.

"I'm just happy to get out here and pick some things up from the coaches while showcasing my skills to them," Lloyd said. "Let them see it live and just not on film."

Jacksonville Quarterback Exits Camp Optimistic

Carter McCown won the Recruiting Combine's offensive Most Valuable Player award Sunday and worked out for Cumbie and the rest of the TCU staff with good vibes.

He's another player at the critical juncture with some interest from the Horned Frogs.

"I think it went well," he said. "I had a few coaches ask me about the ETSN combine and what I thought about it and then I came out and performed today in kind of the same style that we did at the ETSN combine. It was fun just to get to know these coaches. This was the first time I met Coach Cumbie and, from what I've heard as of right now, it's promising."

McCown also picked up interest from other coaches in attendance if TCU falls through.

"It just opens doors," he said. "It gives you those chances to show out for the biggest level and to the lowest. All the schools around here are ones I'd love to go to, so it really opens doors for me to get my name out even more than it is now."

McCown will visit Texas next week for its quarterback camp before working out with Louisiana-Lafayette.

Jacksonville quarterback Carter McCown shows off his arm for TCU quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie and the rest of the TCU staff at the Horned Frogs' camp. (© Christopher R. Vinn