TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is back with the Horned Frog football team, The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported on Sunday. Pachall was dismissed after an October arrest for DUI and pulled out of the university during the autumn semester. His arrest came just a few months after Pachall was revealed to have failed a team drug test the previous spring semester.
Pachall participated in a rehabilitation program, among other stipulations set before him to earn his reinstatement to the team. TCU head coach Gary Patterson told The Star Telegram:
“He finished all of his in-patient work and has been in out-patient work up until Friday. He did everything we wanted him to do.”
Pachall’s physical absence from the Horned Frog lineup was often glaring. Trevone Boykin moved from running back to fill the void. To his credit, Boykin played admirably under less-than-ideal circumstances. Still, his 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, 57 percent completions and 2054 yards were all well off the pace Pachall set in 2011 and early through 2012. At the time of his dismissal, Pachall had thrown 10 scores with just one interceptions, averaged nearly 10 yards per attempt and completed 66 percent of his throws.
With Pachall, the 2013 Frog offense would feature two major additions for the program’s second Big 12 Conference season that it lacked in the first if all goes according to plan. Nebraska transfer Aaron Green becomes eligible after sitting out the mandatory one year.
Pachall’s path has mirrored that of dismissed LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. Each finished the 2011 season among the most successful players at their position. Mathieu was a Heisman finalist for SEC champion LSU, while Pachall led his Horned Frogs on an eight-game win streak, including a defeat of Boise State on its home turf, to close the campaign ranked 14th.
Substance abuse issues derailed each in 2012 — and it wasn’t the first time. Mathieu was suspended for a game in 2011 after testing positive for a synthetic marijuana.
Mathieu’s chances to return to the college gridiron went awry, his ultimate goal of returning to LSU in 2013 snuffed out in an October arrest. Mathieu is forced to enter the 2013 NFL Draft as a result. Last week, he offered a mea culpa in an interview with ESPN.com reporter Joe Schad.
Mathieu makes an intriguing point about his Honey Badger persona becoming something of a security blanket from internal pain. Major program college football players — particularly star players like Mathieu and Pachall — are sometimes treated larger-than-life. One’s inability to maintain perspective is understandable.
For Pachall’s sake, I hope his arrest was rock bottom and he can capitalize on an opportunity where Mathieu unfortunately failed. So much more than Big 12 wins and NFL Draft stock is ultimately at stake.