FORT WORTH — Texas Christian University broke ground on its new football season via Saturday afternoon's press conference at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
One veteran wide receiver, though, gave some advice to four-star receivers Omar Manning and Jalen Reagor and three-star running back and receiver Kenedy Snell, as well as the rest of the incoming receiving corps that will join them in purple and white in a month.
"They can help us immediately by doing the little things and being a sponge," said senior wideout John Diarse. "I was telling Jalen a couple of days ago that it's OK to be a sponge. When you come out of high school to a program like this, you kind of feel like you know a lot already but it's OK to ask questions and get knowledge. It can be overwhelming but the more information you get [at that stage], the better you'll be when it's actually time to play. They're right where they need to be, though — not fully converted mentally but ahead of the curve because of the fall camps that teach you the TCU way."
Diarse, who is a former redshirt transfer from LSU, should know well how to navigate the road from bottom-of-the-mountain receiver to cliff-scaling focal point after playing the position sparingly as a freshman and sophomore. He gained 442 yards and scored three touchdowns in 2016 after combining for 412 yard and three touchdown totals in his two previous seasons with the Horned Frogs.
TCU successfully recruited eight players during the summer that were classified as either a wide receiver or an athlete. Three of them came high schools inside Ellis County or within the University Interscholastic League District 10-5A. Manning comes from Lancaster and Reagor and Snell are former Indians in Waxahachie.
Diarse wasn't the only one seemingly curious about how the highly-regarded recruiting class can help TCU win its first Big 12 Conference Championship since 2014. The architects of the Horned Frog offense, Sonny Cumbie and Curtis Luper, also hinted at what they could provide — dependent on performances during the coming practices — on the road through powerhouses like Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virgina.
"We're going to find out how they fit into the offense in the next two weeks and really during however many practices we can fit into the third when we plug them in," Cumbie said. "We're excited about all of them, but at the end of the day, we have to understand they're freshmen and there's going to be some inconsistencies because of youth. We're definitely going to push them out there and see what they can do."
Cumbie graduated from Texas Tech University in 2004 and played in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts in 2005. He has coaching ties to former Red Raider Head Coach Mike Leach as his graduate assistant, as well as ties to current Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Though he and Luper are slated as co-offensive coordinators, Cumbie is expected to bear the lion's share of the play calling duties from the sideline.
Luper, too, said the two Waxahachie recruits became intriguing after the Indians defeat of Ennis High School during the Battle of 287.
"We got to see them once their senior year during the Ennis game. They made a lot of plays and are strong, fast, can make you miss and take it to the house. Their hard workers and really good country boys — though they may not admit it — that can play ball," he noted. "We're excited to see what they can do for us. Snell isn't small, either. He ran 10.3, 10.4 [time] and he has some wiggle. It's like Mike Tyson said, 'Everyone has a game plan until they get punched in the mouth.'
"We won't know what they can do until [linebacker] Ben [Banogu] hits them in the mouth. We'll know really fast if we can use them after that because we're going to force the issue and find out who can play for us in camp."
Manning, Reagor and Snell will have to contend with fellow recruit Al'dontre Davis as well as pre-existing staples like Diarse, Grand Prairie's Jaelan Austin and KaVonte Turpin for field time. TCU is scheduled to hold their first practice at 3 p.m. Sunday at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Marcus S. Marion is the sports editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light and Midlothian Mirror. He can be reached by phone at (469) 517-1456 or across social media platforms @MarcusSMarion.