If you read our wide receiver preview you already know that this group is potentially as good as any in the country. All they need to do differently from a season ago is, you know, catch the ball. The return of Shaun Nixon, a healthy Turp, and a couple of stud true freshmen should help with that.
Turpin, a junior wide receiver, was cleared to play football on July 17. He was held from spring practices after academic issues arose, per Head Coach Gary Patterson. He played in only eight games as a sophomore because of injuries and finished second on the team in all-purpose yards with 986.
Lassan pointed out the how the additions of UIL District 10-5A talent helped push the needle forward for TCU.
“I think getting Turpin back to 100 percent will be a huge boost to this group, and Williams should be more comfortable in his second year on campus. The recruiting class of receivers factored into the ranking. Omar Manning and Jalen Reagor ranked as top 15 recruits among the Big 12′s incoming freshmen and could push for snaps this fall,” Lassan said. “The addition of Manning and Reagor outside and Snell as an out-of-the-backfield receiver only adds to the talent and potential this group has for 2017. If TCU can get more week-to-week consistency from quarterback Kenny Hill and eliminate some of the drops this group had in 2016, I would not be surprised if the Horned Frogs outperform our No. 11 ranking among wide receiver groups this fall.”
The two true freshmen out of Waxahachie have made a positive impression so far in Fort Worth.
Patterson singled out Reagor’s performance in particular. The freshman will be asked to contribute right away after TCU led the nation in dropped passes (38) last season.
“Anybody that can run like he does,” Patterson said, “and can also jump like he does, and has strong hands – and his dad was a defensive guy so he has a defensive mentality – it gives him an opportunity to be successful.”
Snell and Reagor were high school teammates at Waxahachie. Reagor was a 4-star signee and a top-100 prospect in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Snell was the No. 89 overall prospect in Texas.
TCU has three nominees, QB Kenny Hill, WR KaVontae Turpin, and RB Kyle Hicks.
TCU’s Kyle Hicks (Arlington Martin) and Ronald Jones II of USC (McKinney North) highlight the running back class in contention for the award. New Mexico State running back Larry Rose III (Fairfield) was also recognized as a nominee.
The defense came along as the season progressed, but a rough start had their overall numbers well off GP’s expectations.
Last year, TCU finished the year with a 6-7 record, its third losing season in Patterson's 16-year tenure. The Horned Frogs finished 51st in the country in total yards per play.
Patterson knows the defense needs to improve. The odds of that happening are high if the unit plays like it did during the back half of the season.
"We played pretty good defense the last half of the season," Patterson said after Monday's practice. "We just didn't play very good the first half of the season."