TCU welcomes a bunch of new players to Fort Worth this fall, with an incoming freshman class of 21 and a handful of transfer and juco players to boot.
As we continue to take a deep dive into the roster for the Horned Frogs, we look at three of those transfer/juco players that are expected to be big contributors when the football season kicks off on August 31st.
Because we have talked about Alex Delton incessantly this off-season, and because our very own Grant McGalliard has a major football crush on punter Jordy Sandy, I left those two off the list, though both are expected to be critical players this fall.
It’s not every year that you graduate a pair of NFL defensive ends... unless you’re TCU who seems to do that regularly.
But losing the combined production of first rounder LJ Collier and second rounder Ben Banogu is a lot for even a defensive genius Gary Patterson to replace - especially when you consider the lack of game proven players in the chute behind them. And that’s why Patterson and TCU scoured the transfer portal to find an experienced pass rusher.
Enter Shameik Blackshear.
A former five star recruit, Blackshear had a quiet career at the University of South Carolina, as injuries and scheme held the talented prospect back. But Patterson spoke highly of the fifth year senior at Media Days, and he’s slotted in a starting role with fall camp set to open this week. It’s not just his skillset, though, that has Patterson hyped - it’s that he’s a grown man showing up day one. “He gives you a fifth year guy that’s not a 235-pound freshman, he’s a 270-pound guy. Watching him run in the summer has truly been incredible. He can get up and run and do things. We’ll see if we can do a good job of coaching him and putting him in a position where he can be successful.”
He also acknowledged that, without him, the Horned Frogs would be in a lot of trouble. “I think all he can do is make us better. I think we would be at a loss without him.”
Blackshear should be a day one starter, with Ochaun Mathis likely to bookend him on the defensive line. Put Ross Blacklock and Corey Bethley in the middle, and you have the makings of an especially fearsome front.
Not many people are talking about Mikel Barkly, what with all the press and pub that junior Jalen Reagor has (rightly) received this off-season. But Barkley has a chance to step up alongside Reagor as a number two that can give the Frogs what Kolby Listenbee once did for Josh Doctson.
Clocking in at 5’11”, 165 pounds, Barkley doesn’t cut an impressive presence when you line him up to the behemoths the Frogs can roll out along the lines of John Stephens, Jr and Tevaillance Hunt. But, Barkley can REALLY fly. With a 100m time of 10.7, a handful of impressive over the shoulder catches on his resume, and a work ethic and humility born of being the son of a pair of Marines, Barkley will come in ready to work, ready to play, and ready to make a difference.
On film, he might remind you a little of Hollywood Brown, the Oklahoma receiver who torched TCU a couple times before joining the Ravens this past spring. That can’t be a bad thing. If Barkley can establish himself as a deep threat and the Frogs can find a way to get him the ball over the top, not only will that be great for Mikel, it will make life a heck of a lot easier for Reagor, too.
Two defensive ends? Well, when you are replacing two NFL-caliber guys, you can’t have enough good pass rushers coming up.
Workman was a linebacker at the juco level, and that’s part of what makes him so valuable to TCU in 2019. Though he’s impressed as an edge rusher and is likely to stay there, he could fill the Ty Summers role of playing multiple positions on defense depending on team need. Big and strong, Workman has shown surprising speed in adjusting to moving up a level defensively and picking up Patterson’s scheme. He’s impressed early off the edge and seems poised to be an impact player in the rotation at defensive end, a position that Patterson prefers to rotate players in and out of.
At 6’3” and 240 pounds, Workman is a big, strong kid who managed to get to the QB 11.5 times last season and managed 49 tackles on top of that. He’s been clocked with a 4.65 40 and has a 33.5” vertical, so he’s athletic to boot.
And oh my goodness that flow and that ink:
I’m very excited to announce my commitment to continue my football career at TCU! I’m so grateful to everyone who has ever helped me on this journey! I look forward to being apart such an amazing program and surrounded by an amazing staff! Go Frogs! pic.twitter.com/KF1RXUpWVn— Parker Workman (@parker_workman) December 14, 2018
Yeah, he’s going to be good.
The Frogs have a couple other intriguing transfers in the mix, with defensive back Tony Wallace expected to compete for time behind incumbent starters Jeff Gladney and Julius Lewis and defensive tackle Soni Misi in line to be a rotational player behind Blacklock and Bethley. Of course, the biggest question mark is Matthew Baldwin; the Ohio State quarterback transfer is currently in a walking boot and in the waiver process looking to become immediately eligible. But he will not be a factor until late in camp because of the injury even if his claim is approved.