By David Beaudin
Frogs Today staff writer
Montana Warren had one Power 5 scholarship offer. Luckily for Warren and TCU, that is all it takes.
The underrecruited safety out of East Texas had an offer from Football Championship Series school Incarnate Word, Group of Five schools Louisiana Tech and Louisiana, and the school he announced his verbal commitment to Saturday.
He declared that he would make Fort Worth his new home.
After getting the chance to talk with Warren on Sunday, I can see why safeties coach Paul Gonzales raves about this commitment, as he and the TCU staff feel strongly that Warren will be a four-star talent when all said and done. The Frogs coaches said that Warren plays with a lot of confidence and they are excited about his versatility, a word that continues to come up for this current 2023 class of commits.
Warren has a great relationship with Gonzales, as well as defensive coordinator Joe Gillispie, and wide receivers coach Malcolm Kelly, an East Texas native and the one who visited Warren at Marshall High School. Warren also talks highly about his bond with recruiting coordinator Bryan Carrington.
The Frogs connections span beyond just the coaching staff for Warren. While he has TCU coaches in his group text and a PlayStation video game play group, these groups also consist of current and soon to be Frogs commits.
My takeaway from my conversation with Warren is that he is very serious about football and has an intense demeanor that he brings to his preparation and workouts. He used this earnest approach in the recruiting process as well, staying in close contact with TCU sophomore wide receiver Caleb Medford. Warren knew from his time at Henderson High School before he moved over to Marshall High. In addition, Warren has been in constant contact with junior Savion Williams, a Marshall alumnus and Warren’s former high school quarterback who is a wide receiver at TCU.
So what exactly did these current TCU players have to say to Warren about the new Frogs coaching staff?
“I kept asking them before I even got there, ‘What are the coaches like?'” Warren said. “They all said the same thing as what I was thinking, that they are very genuine. They care about me and my family. Also, coaches were calling and asking questions, and they remembered that stuff the next time we talked. A lot of times coaches from other places would ask, but then they really wouldn’t care and they’d forget everything we talked about.”
Warren said that he likes the fact he is currently just a little over a two-hour drive to campus and he also has family in the DFW area. He is also very active in trying to bring some friends, both new and old, to campus with him. Two wide receivers, who happen to both be younger brothers of Savion Williams, are active targets of Warren as he is trying to get them to also take the trek from East Texas.
Marshall teammate Jacorey Smith, a wide receiver who holds offers from Louisiana-Monroe, UT-San Antonio and Northwestern State is one of them. Warren has been telling talking him up to TCU coaches, saying “You need to get on him. He has helped me every day to improve my coverage skills.”
The other is the highly recruited Montrel Hatten, from Carthage High School, who currently holds a TCU offer. Both are in the 2023 class and players who Warren holds in high esteem.
The student-to-student recruiting doesn’t end in East Texas for Warren. During his TCU official visit June 10-12, Warren met current Oklahoma State commit and TCU target Kam Franklin, and the two immediately hit it off. Warren is fairly confident that he is going to get Franklin to flip to TCU, and he is not alone in his thinking. Sources around the program feel there is a real groundswell of excitement on Franklin, and they feel he is close to changing his commitment to the Frogs.
If TCU could land the blazing fast player from Oak Grove, La., it would be a big-time get. Franklin is listed as an athlete and plays wide receiver and free safety in high school. He holds a number of SEC offers and has been committed to Oklahoma State since last fall.
Stay tuned to FrogsToday.com for the latest on Franklin. Warren is going to remain constant in his pursuit of his fellow ‘23 prospect.
As for Warren, he is glad his own recruiting is over, saying it has been a stressful process and one he is glad to have behind him. This way, he can turn his attention to where he wants it to be — football.
In Gillispie’s 3-3-5 defense, there are three safeties on the field at all times in their base package. The middle safety tends to play deeper than a linebacker, but more shallow than the two safeties lined up on or just slightly outside hash marks. The Frogs have communicated with Warren that they see him as one of the outside safeties.
He currently plays in a defense that plays a lot of “quarters” coverage. As you can imagine, this is as basic as it sounds in terms of coverage. The field is divided into four equal deep quarters that the corners and safeties are all responsible for, respectively. What this means for run support is very different and in stark contrast to its other “two-high” coverage brother, “Cover Two,” where the cornerbacks are run-support players and the safeties backpedal on the snap, each playing a deep half of the field.
In quarters, safeties are responsible for run support and often count in the run-fit. They play a flat-footed stance and trigger when they see run, pursuing in what is referred to as the “alley,” just outside the tackle box and before you get out to the sideline near the cornerbacks. Warren runs the alley with a purpose and is a really solid tackling safety. This gives the Frogs yet another physical player in this class for the back half of their defense.
Warren said that he grew up playing wide receiver but could not stand getting hit. It was after a conversation with his uncle, a football player as well, that led to Warren making the switch to defense. His uncle let him know if he didn’t like getting hit, “then go do the hitting.”
Once again, the Frogs find a defensive back who loves to do just that. This, combined with Warren’s serious approach to the game, will have other Power 5 schools scratching their heads in a few years on how they let Warren get away.
The Frogs are glad they did.