Ranking the transfers of the Sonny Dykes era in TCU football

Navigating the transfer portal is a crucial part of every program’s success now in this new era of college football.

When Sonny Dykes arrived at TCU, his initial transfer class helped a 5-7 team turn into the second best team in the country in 2022. Dykes’ second transfer class had more big names from bigger schools, but wasn’t able to make the same impact as TCU went from 13-2 and 5-7.

This year’s portal class will be vital in getting TCU trending back in the right direction. Here’s a look at the top eight transfers Dykes has signed in his two transfer classes plus a quick look at how some of the other transfers have fared:

1. Josh Newton, cornerback

Breakdown: Newton came to TCU as an unheralded transfer from Louisiana Monroe and now he’ll leave as one of the top defensive backs in program history. Newton was first team All-Big 12 in 2022 and second team in 2023. His leadership and passion resonated with the program and fanbase and replacing him will be one of the toughest tasks for Dykes and the Horned Frogs.

2. Johnny Hodges, linebacker

Breakdown: Another underdog story, Hodges was overlooked out of high school and in the transfer portal after leaving Navy. In 2022 Hodges went from the linebacker nobody wanted to see a second team All-Big 12 selection while also being voted Newcomer of the Year. Hodges was limited to four games last year and was clearly missed.

3. Jared Wiley, tight end

Breakdown: The big bodied transfer from Texas had a breakout season in 2023 with a team-high 47 receptions, the fourth most for a tight end last season, while also accounting for 520 yards and eight touchdowns. Wiley was voted first team All-Big 12 after his career year. In 2022 he had 245 yards and four touchdowns.

4. Emani Bailey, running back

Breakdown: Bailey was a productive running back at Louisiana, but had to wait his turn in 2022 behind two NFL running backs in Kendre Miller and Emari Demercado. When Bailey got his chance in 2023 he made the most of it with 1,209 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. This was after he averaged eight yards per carry in 2022.

5. Mark Perry, S

Breakdown: Perry had a fantastic 2022 season after transferring in from Colorado. He posted 84 tackles in 2022 and regularly led the team in tackles on a game-to-game basis. The entire defense regressed in 2023, but Perry still finished with 58 tackles. In two seasons he started 26 of 27 games for the Horned Frogs.

6. Alan Ali, offensive lineman

Breakdown: Ali made the short trip over to Fort Worth after following Dykes from SMU for the 2022 season. Ali was a rock for what might be the best offensive line in program history. Ali was voted first team All-Big 12 and the only reason he isn’t higher is the fact he played one season.

7. Willis Patrick, offensive lineman

Breakdown: Patrick played one season in 2023 and lived out his dream of playing for his hometown school. The offensive line struggled in 2023, but Patrick was a bright spot after transferring in from Jackson State. Patrick was voted second team All-Big 12 by the Associated Press and his 978 snaps were the most on the team.

8. John Paul Richardson, wide receiver

Breakdown: Richardson arrived in Fort Worth this past season and after being one of the top players in spring football, Richardson finished the 2023 season second on the team with 46 receptions and 536 yards with three touchdowns despite dealing with nagging injuries. Richardson was also the team’s primary punt returner.

9. Caleb Fox, defensive lineman

Breakdown: Fox jumped up a level from Stephen F. Austin to compete for a role at TCU. In 2022 Fox was third on the team in quarterback hurries after appearing in 15 games. Fox then became a starter in 2023 and finished with 28 tackles and four stops for a loss. Fox is still on the roster and competing for a starting spot on the defensive line for a second straight year.

10. Avery Helm, cornerback

Breakdown: Helm was a four-star transfer from Florida and replaced Tre Hodges-Tomlinson at cornerback in 2023. Helm started 11 games this past season and had five pass breakups. Helm had his ups and downs as a starter, but is still in the mix to start for a second straight season.

Jury’s still out

Breakdown: There are a number of players still on the roster from both the 2022 and 2023 classes that are still hoping to make an impact this season. From the 2022 class Robby Rochester, Tymon Mitchell, Terrence Cooks and Ezra Dotson-Oyetade are still on the roster. Mitchell, a Georgia transfer, has played the most out of the group with three sacks in 2022 and 15 tackles last season. Rochester, a UConn transfer, has got extended reps with the first team offense this spring.

In the 2023 class, Maryland transfer Coltin Deery appeared in 12 games with seven starts last season. Minnesota transfer Dylan Wright looked like a potential starter at outside receiver in 2023, but he was limited by injuries and has missed most of spring practice this year.

LSU transfer Jack Bech was limited to eight games last season, but has had a strong spring camp. Alabama transfer JoJo Earle played in 12 games, but had just 16 receptions and struggled with drops at times. He’s missed all of spring camp. At running back Alabama transfer Trey Sanders was a former five-star recruit, but had just 176 yards last season. Sanders did show value as a goal line back with six rushing touchdowns.

Alabama transfer Tommy Brockermeyer medically retired this off-season.