Last year, one of the most heated recruiting battles in the junior college ranks involved three-star defensive tackle Zarnel Fitch of Corsicana (Texas) Navarro J.C. Fitch visited Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
At first he committed to Arkansas before eventually committing and signing with Tennessee. But there is one hitch – he didn’t have enough credits to transfer to a Division I school to play right away.
“He was already on campus and in their two deep,” Navarro coach Chuck Lawrence said. “He would have been starting there, but I guess they found out that he was one credit away from being eligible and from officially graduating from Navarro, making him ineligible to play for Tennessee or for any Division I program this year.”
Eventually Fitch called Lawrence and asked him for some advice. The answer finally came when Fitch was asked to come back to Corsicana and become a student assistant coach while he finished up his remaining class. Of course, he could not participate for Navarro since he had already used up his eligibility.
Fitch decided to make the best out of it – enrolling in nine credit hours and keeping an open mind about his college future. Eventually TCU inquired about his future and a scholarship was soon waiting. It was an offer he snapped up right away.
“He could have gone to Division II and played right away,” Lawrence said. ‘But his dream was to always play Division I football and now he’s going to get that chance. I know teams like Arkansas, Nebraska and even Tennessee have contacted me about being able to recruit him again, but he’s solid for TCU.”
So credit the TCU coaching staff for snagging another star recruit from the Navarro defense. First it was placement Earl Anderson and now it’s Fitch.