Eleven days before kickoff, we meet two sophomores who work on each side of the line of scrimmage. One is a fire-tested cornerback, whose shoulders weigh heavy with newfound responsibility. The other is a quarterback and faithful holder with the face of a teen heartthrob.
First, let's meet the former: Frisco native Ranthony Texada, who came out of Centennial High School ranked as the No. 5 cornerback in Texas.
Gary Patterson decided to utilize the "learn by doing" method on Texada, having him start all 13 games alongside a secondary composed of mostly upperclassman. Not only that, the then-freshman Texada had some pretty big cleats to fill, replacing first-round NFL Draft pick Jason Verrett. Of course, Texada still needed a little more polish, but his first season on the field showed potential. An interception against Iowa State, a sack against Oklahoma, a blocked PAT against Kansas...not bad for a first-timer.
Now that test is over. Texada has a full year of experience behind him and is expected to be a leader among TCU's corners. Will he emerge as Patterson's next defensive success story? Well, you have 11 days until you find that out.
On the other side of the ball is our other No. 11, quarterback Zach Allen. Sure, he may be a bit overshadowed by the big star Trevone Boykin, but Allen appears on the field just about as faithfully. When Jaden Oberkrom runs up to kick the extra point or field goal, Allen is the guy on one knee, catching the snap and making sure the ball goes effortlessly through the uprights. It's a small role, but you don't realize how much you appreciate him until something goes wrong.
But Allen has had some reps at quarterback. He came out of Temple High School as the No. 12 quarterback in Texas and almost didn't go to TCU. For a while, he was #SyracuseBound.
But Syracuse went through a few coaching changes, and Allen wanted to be closer to home. So he became #TCUBound instead.
Allen finally got the chance to put in some quarterback work during TCU's 82-27 win against Texas Tech. It was short-lived, but he did go 2-for-2!
With names like Foster Sawyer, Bram Kolhausen and Grayson Muehlstein ahead of him, it's uncertain if Allen will do more as a quarterback. But I tell you what, I've been waiting for Allen to show his quarterback prowess during a field goal. You know, in a play that involves Oberkrom running into the end zone and Allen tossing to his kicker for the touchdown. Can we just please make this happen????
Anyway, we'll be looking forward to seeing these 11's in 11 days. Oh, football. It's so close, you can almost smell the sweat.