TCU football: LB Garret Wallow reflects on stellar career

When TCU linebacker Garret Wallow met with reporters this week, the expectation was Saturday’s game against No. 19 Oklahoma State would be Senior Day.

Wallow reflected back on his stellar college career, reminiscing about big games such as defeating Texas at home last season and what the school had meant to him.

“I grew from a boy to a man,” Wallow said. “It’s been one of the best experiences of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Coach Gary Patterson followed, raving about how much he enjoyed coaching a player such as Wallow.

“I judge kids by how much enjoyment I have getting a chance to get to coach them. He’s one of those guys that can be your son,” Patterson said. “Having a guy that plays like he does, studies like he does and how he holds himself in public and how he deals with people and what kind of person he is is just incredible. You’d want 100 Garret Wallows.”

As it turned out, the “Senior Day” talk was a tad premature. A few hours later, TCU announced it would be hosting Louisiana Tech on Dec. 12 in a 10th regular-season game.

Regardless, it’s hard to overstate Wallow’s importance to the team and program since he joined as a three-star safety prospect out of John Curtis Christian School in New Orleans. Wallow made a seamless transition from safety to linebacker and will go down as one of the greats to play under Patterson.

Wallow has 271 career tackles and counting, including a team-leading 66 tackles this season and a Big 12-leading 125 tackles last season. He’ll have a chance — if TCU is able to play the next two regular-season games and a bowl game — to become one of four players to reach the 300-tackle mark in the Patterson era.

Wallow has double-digit tackles in four of the last six games, including 10-tackle performances against West Virginia and Kansas the past two games.

As of now, Wallow is sixth in all-time tackles under Patterson, one behind fifth-place Robert Henson (272). Travin Howard (343), Ty Summers (319) and Jason Phillips (315) are the only players to reach 300 tackles under Patterson.

“It’s been a crazy experience,” Wallow said. “Coming as a safety, then playing linebacker and safety my sophomore year, and then straight to linebacker my junior year and this year. It’s actually helped me out a lot. I got to learn the defense from multiple positions. It just builds my IQ and it’s going to help me on so many levels intelligence-wise.

“It’s been a great experience for me being able to up my game from high school to here. Experiencing great coaching from Coach P and all his coaches. It’s been a great experience.”

An experience that Wallow would like to end on a winning note, especially in his last Big 12 game against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

The Cowboys torched the Frogs in the running game last season, racking up 301 yards rushing in a 34-27 victory. OSU’s Chuba Hubbard became the first running back to rush for 200 yards (223 yards on 20 carries) against Patterson’s defense.

It’s not known if Hubbard (leg injury) will be available for the TCU game, but OSU’s rushing attack remains potent. Dezmon Jackson rushed for 235 yards and three TDs against Texas Tech last week.

“They have some very good backs, a very strong running back corps this year,” Wallow said. “We’re coming in with a game plan and we just have to do a good job of executing and slow them down from getting too many rushing yards on us. That’s going to be huge this week, just being able to slow down their backs.”

Wallow will play a pivotal role in that department, of course. Just like he has throughout his college career. He’ll get to do it again the following week against Louisiana Tech too.

Next season, Wallow could be doing it on Sundays. His production, coupled with his work ethic, is why he’s on NFL radars. For now, though, it’s about finishing his college career off right.

Whenever his final home game comes at Amon G. Carter Stadium, Wallow said: “It’s going to be a surreal moment.”

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