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TCU Horned Frogs: Can recent recruiting maintain high level of pass defense?

The secondary has played at a relatively high level for the Horned Frogs over the last two seasons, can the 2019 & ‘20 classes keep this success going?

Image courtesy of 247Sports.

Ranking 39th among FBS programs, the 2018 TCU Horned Frogs allowed 207.8 yards per game through the air. Thus far in 2019, they haven’t been quite at the same level, but still are 63rd in the country at 234.5 YPG.

Led by seniors Jeff Gladney and Vernon Scott, head coach Gary Patterson and defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chad Glasgow were counting on this unit to lead the way for their defense.

Missing the SMU loss with an injury, Scott did not practice on Tuesday. Cornerback Julius Lewis, another senior, has missed the first three games of the season with a knee injury. Remaining vague about Lewis’ status, Patterson simply said he is “hopeful” he will play at some point in October during his press conference on Tuesday in Fort Worth.

Relying heavily on upperclassmen, the Horned Frogs’ secondary is going to look quite different in the 2020 and ‘21 seasons. This leads to an obvious question: How have we fared on the recruiting trail in the secondary?

Well, the TCU staff clearly emphasized the back end of the defense in the 2019 cycle. Signing six defensive backs, one of them is already starting to pay dividends.

Receiving playing time in Lewis’ absence, Kee’yon Stewart, a three-star in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite, has recorded seven tackles and three pass deflections.

Fellow 2019 signees Millard “Nook” Bradford, Donavann Collins, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, Deshawn McCuin and Tony Wallace were all also listed as three-star prospects.

The highest-rated of the group, Collins is a very athletic cornerback. Listed at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, he needs to add some weight to play physical with receivers on the outside, but possesses above average ball skills.

In what was always expected to be a smaller class, the Horned Frogs have only secured the commitment of one defensive back in the 2020 class, four-star cornerback Keontae Jenkins.

A native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Jenkins ranks among the top-25 cornerbacks nationally and is the No. 5 player in the Old Dominion State.

Primarily recruited by cornerbacks coach Jeremy Modkins, TCU has positioned themselves well for continued success against the pass.

It is possible that we could see another addition to this class, too. The program remains interested in Daryl Porter, a three-star cornerback from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Also being strongly pursued by Big 12 Conference rival West Virginia, Porter’s recruitment will be an exciting one to watch unfold.

Falling 41-38 to the SMU Mustangs (4-0) on September 21, the Horned Frogs will look to get back on track when they host the Kansas Jayhawks (2-2) to open conference play on Saturday (11:00AM CT, FS1).