TCU Football has some talented players on both sides of the ball in 2019, with many veterans looking to make a splash on the national stage. While guys like Jalen Reagor and Lucas Niang are more known properties, there are several others players who find themselves on preseason watch lists for various awards.
Let’s find out who they are!
The rising junior who started at center when healthy for the Horned Frogs in 2018 finds himself on the watchlists for the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top center annually, and the Wuerffel Trophy, honoring college football’s top community servant.
A season ago, Hollins started 11 of 13 games for TCU, named a team captain in each. A native of Zachary, Louisiana, Hollins is also TCU’s Big 12 Champions for Life representative and has been nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Hollins is involved with TCU FCA, was a Frog Camp Leader this past summer, and has been heavily involved with SPARK, an organization that works with underprivileged students locally. While back home, Hollins donated 80 Bibles to a Louisiana youth football all-star team. When visiting South Africa, he went to an elementary school to help teach physical education classes and was part of a women’s empowerment program.
Hollins is looking to be the first TCU player to win the Rimington Trophy since All-American Jake Kirkpatrick did so in 2010.
It’s been a busy off-season for junior wide receiver Jalen Reagor, who is on watchlists for the Biletnikoff, Maxwell Awards, Walter Camp, and Paul Hornung Awards. After bursting onto the season with a thousand plus receiving yard season a year ago, Reagor is one of the top offensive players to watch in a conference full of stars.
A native of Waxahachie, TX, the rising star is on the Preseason All-Big 12 team and was tabbed the state’s best wide receiver by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. According to a press release from TCU, Reagor’s team-best 72 receptions and 1,061 yards receiving in 2018 both rank second for a season in TCU history. Forty-four of his 72 catches (61.1 percent) went for a first down or touchdown. The second-team All-Big 12 selection led TCU and the Big 12 in percentage of his team’s receptions at 30.1 (72-of-239), the highest mark by a Horned Frog in the 18-season tenure of head coach Gary Patterson. Reagor’s team-best nine touchdown catches tied for the fifth-best season total by a Horned Frog. The junior from Waxahachie, Texas, set a TCU record with seven consecutive games with a scoring grab.
Reagor was the 2018 Dan Rogers Most Valuable Player for the Horned Frogs, the first wide receiver to be elected since Cory Rodgers in 2004. He is the only wide receiver in TCU and Big 12 history to top 100 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving in a single game, something he did against Oklahoma State in the Frogs’ win.
The Horned Frogs have never had a Biletnikoff winner, but consensus first-team All-American Josh Doctson was a finalist for it in 2015. TCU quarterback Davey O’Brien won the 1938 Maxwell Award.
Another offensive player, running back Darius Anderson, is also on the watchlist watch, he for the Doak Walker Award - last won by a TCU player in 2000, when LaDainian Tomlinson took it home.
Anderson has gone over 1500 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in his TCU career, one that has been marred by injuries the past two seasons. is 5.7 yards per carry average is sixth in TCU history.
A rising senior from Richmond, Texas, Anderson finished just shy of the 600 yard mark a season ago, playing in 11 games. He started the season strong when he burst onto the scene with 154 yards on just 12 carries against Ohio State in week two, including a 93 yard touchdown run that is the longest rushing play from scrimmage in TCU Football history.
Back from injury, defensive tackle Ross Blacklock has high expectations in 2019, and as such has been named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year.
Update: Blacklock has been named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, recognizing the nation’s top interior lineman.
Selected as the best defensive lineman in the state by DCTF, Blacklock is returning after a fall camp injury sidelined him for all of 2018. As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Blacklock started all 14 games, earning a nod as a FWAA Freshman All-American and the Big 12 Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year. The junior from Missouri City, Texas, totaled 27 tackles, including 6.5 for a loss with two sacks.
Another nominee for the Chuck Bednarik Award is cornerback Jeff Gladney. The senior was an All-Big 12 selection a season ago, having tied for second nationally among cornerbacks last season in lowest completion percentage allowed (33.3, 23-of-69) when targeted. Pro Football Focus rated him No. 1 in the Big 12 in lowest passer rating allowed (46.9) with a minimum of 200 coverage snaps. He also ranked No. 1 in the conference in only surrendering a reception every 16.5 coverage snaps.
Gladney’s team-best 13 pass breakups were second in the Big 12 conference, and he tied for the TCU lead with two interceptions. He had a pick and a career-high four PBUs in the 31-24 victory over the Cowboys, which came while defending OSU wide receiver and Biletnikoff Award finalist Tylan Wallace.
Update: Adding to his preseason honors, Gladney was recently named to the Jim Thorpe Award, giving to the best defensive back in the country, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, recognizing the best defensive player in college football.
A senior from New Boston, Texas, Gladney has made 32 career starts, the most among active Horned Frogs, and has TCU’s longest active streak for consecutive starts with 22.
Niang found himself on a preseason watch list as well, the prestigious Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s best interior lineman annually. At right tackle, Niang was the only offensive lineman on the Horned Frogs to start all 13 games last season. He did not allow a sack and had an 86.3 percent grade by Pro Football Focus, making him the highest-graded pass blocker among Big 12 offensive tackles who played a minimum of 300 snaps in 2018 and return this fall. A senior from New Canaan, Conn., Niang was second-team All-Big 12 last season and was selected to the 2019 Media Preseason All-Big 12 Football Team.