Because football is his first love, Choctaw junior offensive lineman Cade McConnell figured Valentine’s Day was the perfect time to announce his college football commitment.
The 6-6, 295-pounder made it official February 14th when the three-star, Class of 2022 product announced his intentions to play in the Big 12 and attend TCU with a video on social media.
Happy Valentine’s Day💜
— Cade McConnell 7️⃣1️⃣ (@CadeMcConnell2) February 14, 2021
“February 14th is a day to remember because it’s Valentine’s Day,” said McConnell. “I didn’t want it to be just another day. I just kind of played off the “first love” kind of deal that people talk about. They were my first offer and I figured Valentine’s Day would be a pretty funny way to say that.”
McConnell is the third Choctaw Yellowjacket to commit to the Horned Frogs in the past year. Former wide receiver Chase Jackson announced his decision last summer and senior linebacker Donnie Wingate pledged his services to TCU two weeks ago.
“That was definitely a pretty big role in my decision,” admitted McConnell, who held six additional offers besides the one from TCU. “I took a visit to TCU and walked the campus with my family. We met up with Chase, who’s already down there. He’s one of my buddies. He was able to tell us what it’s like down there. We drove around Fort Worth a little bit and I think my family fell in love with it just as much as I did, so that helped a lot with trying to make a decision.”
While recruiting Jackson, head coach Gary Patterson and the rest of the TCU coaching staff obviously discovered there were multiple players worth recruiting on the Yellowjacket roster.
“I’m guessing there was,” said McConnell on popping up on TCU’s radar while they were recruiting Jackson. “They offered Chase and a week later they asked me for a workout video. We sent them that and the day after about noon I was in the middle of a workout and they called me and offered me.”
“I can definitely put a lot of our success towards Coach Corbin, our head coach, and our coaching staff,” remarked McConnell. “They kind of brought in a different kind of outlook to how you look at things at life. And not just football. It’s how you do everything in life. How you hold yourself and stuff like that.”
“I think that really changed the mentality of most of the people,” added McConnell, who also carries a 4.0 grade point average. “This year, the 2021 class, was the first class our coaching staff had them all four years. That really helped, not just with our chemistry, but with how we played. That’s really all you need. It’s not just talent. You really need a good team and good chemistry.”
The talent and chemistry was obviously good for Choctaw this past season, as the Yellowjackets advanced to the 6A-II state title game, losing to Bixby. They avenged last season’s two losses to Stillwater by beating them in the semifinals.
“Last year they beat us by 60 in Week Six and then in the second round of playoffs beat us by 25-30 points,” recalled McConnell. “Obviously, it was a game everybody had some butterflies in their stomach going into, but I think we all knew we were going to win from the start and I think that’s the mindset we carried all year. I think that definitely led us to winning more games.”