Big 12 Snapshot: TCU Horned Frogs

Good morning. I’m introducing a new series intended to take a look at each team in the new Big 12. I’m not sure how many I’ll get done each week, but the only way for me to really know about these teams is to actually do the research so I can be relatively informed when the season hits. So I spent time doing the research this weekend. There are links to everything below so if there isn’t a link, then I didn’t write it, but I always link back to the originator of the content. I wanted to take a quick look at the team: get a feel for the best players; look into their portal class consisted and how they ranked overall; a look at the 2024 recruiting class; and ending on the graphic from Sharp College Football.

Previous Snapshots: Arizona | Arizona State | Baylor | BYU | Cincinnati | Colorado | Houston | Iowa State | Kansas | Kansas State | Oklahoma State

Snapshot: Sonny Dykes brings in a new defensive coordinator, Andy Avalon, where he was previously the head coach at Boise State for two years and was let go after going 5-5 in his second year. Avalos will rush 4 typically rather than dropping 5 into coverage, which will be a departure from the 4-2-5 or 3-3-5 that previous regimes ran. Quarterback Josh Hoover was pretty good, completed 62% of his passes, 7.4 yards per attempt, 15 touchdowns and 9 picks. He obviously has to get better, but presume that will happen. The Horned Frogs will need to find a new standout running back, but the receiver group returns with Savion Williams, JP Richardson, and Jaylon Robinson. You’ll see from how TCU recruited in the portal and offensive line is a need and replace 4 starters. Former Boise State coach Avalos at DC. Notre Dame DL Nana Osafo-Mensah returns to Ft. Worth and had 20 tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss last year for the Fighting Irish. Texas CB Austin Jordan could also be a good addition for TCU.

Do the Horned Frogs play Texas Tech? Yes, the 8th game of the year in Ft. Worth on October 26th.

Returning Starters: Offensive returning starters – 4 (63% of offensive production); Defensive returning starters – 8 (78% of defensive production).

Transfer Portal Arrivals: 20. Sonny went shopping. Huge hauls at offensive line including 5 total, 3 defensive linemen, and 6 defensive backs. When you look at the returning starters on offense, then you think that the offensive line was hit hard and a huge defensive backfield group because they weren’t good against the pass.
QB Ken Seals (from Vanderbilt)
WR Braylon James (from Notre Dame)
WR Eric McAlister (from Boise State)
TE Drake Dabney (from Baylor)
OL Carson Bruno (from Louisiana Tech)
OL Cade Bennett (from San Diego State)
OL Remington Strickland (from Texas A&M)
OL James Brockermeyer (from Alabama)
OL Bless Harris (from Florida State)
DL Nana Osafo-Mensah (from Notre Dame)
DL Hakeem Ajijolayia (from Houston)
DL Devean Deal (from Tulane)
LB Cooper McDonald (from San Diego State)
LB Kaleb Elarms-Orr (from California)
DB JaTravis Broughton (from Utah)
DB LaMareon James (from Old Dominion)
DB Richard Toney (from Nevada)
DB Cameron Smith (from Memphis)
DB Jevon McIver (from Austin Peay)
DB Jaise Oliver (from Tulsa)

On3 Transfer Index Score: +11 (Big 12 high is +68 with Colorado and low is -30 with Houston)

Spring Portal Grades: C

Key additions: James Brockermeyer, IOL (Alabama); Hakeem Ajijolaiya, DL (Houston)

Key subtractions: Damonic Williams, DL (Oklahoma)

Outlook: There’s no getting around the loss of Williams. The 6-foot-2, 320-pound defensive tackle was one of the key cogs of TCU’s defense the past two seasons, recording a combined 60 tackles, including 4.5 sacks. TCU brought in Ajijolaiya, who can also eat up blocks and clog running lanes. However, the Houston transfer is hardly a replacement for Williams.

On the other side of the ball, Brockermeyer once again followed in his twin brother Tommy’s footsteps, transferring from Alabama where he spent the spring as the Crimson Tide’s first-team center. James should have more success than Tommy did in Fort Worth, but he’s still unproven at the college level after playing sparingly the past two seasons.

Pac 12 2024 Recruiting & Big 12 2024 Recruiting: Only Texas, Oklahoma and UCF have more four-stars than TCU as coach Sonny Dykes and his staff did a great job this recruiting cycle. Offensively, the Horned Frogs loaded up with four-stars QB Hauss Hejny, RB Jeremy Payne, WR Gekyle Baker and OL Tobias Steppes. The offensive line was definitely a priority for TCU in this recruiting cycle.

Grade: B+

Sharp College Football Beta Rank Deep Dive: As you’ll note, the offense excelled in the passing game, but not so great running the ball. Regardless, a top 25 offense is more than enough. Defensively, things slipped, hence the change at DC. Not great against the pass and decent against the run. Some dings on the defensive side of things in terms of efficiency as well.

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