Gray remembers 4-8. He knows he missed out on a chance to help TCU last season. Now he’s ready to make the most of his final year. One of the ways he’s doing that is through mentoring the younger players.
“Just going through that experience, when practice gets harder, somebody’s down, reminding them, I’ve been through the worst of the worst,” he said. “I’ve been through the highs. It gives me credibility to talk about it with the younger players.”
Two converted safeties finished the season at linebacker for TCU in 2015. They come in to 2016 as the starting linebacker unit, despite the return of some injured guys and the addition of a JUCO transfer. Patterson worked his magic once again.
A season-ending knee injury to Douglas and a departure for personal reasons in Freeze’s case left the Horned Frogs scrambling for two new starters by Week 2. Wilson and Howard, backkup safeties, may not have been the optimal choices, but they were fast and made tackles, and that counted for a lot. By season’s end, they were first and fifth on the team in tackles. They return in 2016 as the starters.
The Jackrabbits have an elite wide receiver talent that will test the Frogs’ secondary early and often.
Jake Weineke may not be a household name in Texas, but the senior receiver is as good as any in FCS ball. He set the Missouri Valley Football Conference record in receiving yardage last year with 1,472 yards, and had 11 touchdown catches along the way. The junior was an All-American in each of his first two years, and he serves as a major weapon in this offense. Tight end Dallas Goedert and receiver Conner Landberg will join him as the primary targets.
There’s an interesting note about who will be starting at QB for the Jackrabbits.
Notable debuts: TCU quarterback Kenny Hill, a transfer from Texas A&M, will be making his first career start for the Horned Frogs. Hill, a junior from Southlake Carroll, threw for 2,649 yards and 23 touchdowns in eight games as the Aggies’ starter in 2014. SDSU quarterback Taryn Christion, a sophomore, begins his first full season as the Jackrabbits’ starter. Christion, who posted a 3-1 record as a starter last year, won the starting job in fall drills.
Heard is a great addition to the budding power program Raegan Pebley is building at TCU.
Heard, the reigning co-MVP in District 5-6A, averaged 19.5 points and 5.1 rebounds as a junior to go with an eye-popping 5.2 steals per game. She said the fast-paced system Pebley runs is a big reason she chose the Frogs.