Banogu is not on Mel Kiper’s Big Board yet, but a big senior bowl performance could elevate him to a first round pick.
If there’s any safe bet when it comes to a Horned Frog making the cut in the 2019 NFL draft, look no further than defensive end Ben Banogu. The former Louisiana-Monroe transfer -- at 6-4 and 249 pounds -- made a splash at TCU in 2017 as one of the Big 12’s top edge-rushers, finishing the season with 55 total tackles, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles en route to being named Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
After returning for his senior season and being tabbed the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Banogu built upon his impressive 2017 campaign with 57 total tackles and 8.5 sacks in addition to a pair of forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Banogu earned an invitation both the Reese’s Senior Bowl -- set to be played later this month in Mobile, Ala. -- and the NFL Scouting Combine. The combine will once again be hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. and will give Banogu a great chance to prove his worth after once being listed as a first-round pick by ESPN’s Todd McShay in December 2017.
Blackshear fills a big need, and should help the transition to the young, talented signees in the class of 2019.
Blackshear, a former 4-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings, had a career-high 27 total tackles with four for a loss and a sack during the 2018 season. Blackshear, who hails from Bluffton, S.C., had a season-high five total tackles during the Gamecocks’ 35-31 loss at Florida on Nov. 10.
Blackshear’s arrival comes as the Horned Frogs graduate two of their top defensive ends -- Ben Banogu and L.J. Collier. The duo combined for 99 total tackles in 2018. Both Banogu and Collier have earned invites to the NFL scouting combine and the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Collier has gained the most of any TCU draft prospect over the last several weeks.
“I’m excited to go against the best in the country, the best guys in college football,” Collier said last month at the Cheez-It Bowl. “It’s going to be a great experience. I’m ready to show my talent that I’m one of the best defensive linemen in the country.
“That’s what I plan to go there and prove. To show my stuff. I’m not scared. It’s going to be a good time.”
Collier finished his senior season with a career-high six sacks and 11 1/2 tackles for loss. He also had the most pass breakups (four) among defensive linemen.
His rise from a little known recruit out of Munday into a college starter and now an NFL talent is quite remarkable. Collier capped his college career in impressive fashion, registering two tackles for loss, including a sack, in TCU’s 10-7 overtime victory over Cal in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Fans have been screaming for Dixon to burn Barlow’s redshirt... well, here you go.
Coach Jamie Dixon said pulling Barlow’s redshirt was a combination of TCU being thin with post depth, particularly with Kouat Noi sidelined with an illness Saturday, and Barlow practicing well of late.
“We’d been talking about it,” Dixon said. “I thought we might do it in the West Virginia game, but given that we were up big and the situation we were at ... we talked about it.”
As stated, TCU’s depth issues is a key reason why Barlow isn’t eligible for a redshirt. Big men Yuat Alok and Angus McWilliam sustained season-ending injuries and are in the NCAA transfer portal (Alok recently committed to Central Florida), and Noi served as the latest blow.
Barlow, 6-foot-10, 235 pounds, joined TCU as the No. 36-ranked center in the country out of Dallas Bishop Lynch.