Special teams can often be overshadowed in college football, but as we’ve seen over the past few seasons, dynamic playmakers and big-time kicks can swing the momentum of the game one way or the other.
From KaVontae Turpin to Jalen Reagor, TCU has seen electric performances in the return game. Bringing punter Jordy Sandy over from Australia gave the Horned Frogs a reliable option in the kicking game, and Jonathan Song booted his way to All-Big 12 First-Team recognition and into the record books as TCU’s most accurate kicker ever, making 90.9 percent of his attempts and missing only four times.
Sandy is one of two punters returning to the Horned Frogs in 2020. The true sophomore received the bulk of the game reps this past season and will likely be the early candidate to start this fall. Sandy placed 25 punts inside the 20-yard line in 2019, averaging 38.4 yards per attempt with a long of 55 yards. Sophomore Dillon Jones, who played in two games this past season, is the other punter who will be vying for time this fall.
Jordy Sandy unleashing the Aussie Power pic.twitter.com/imuaBBFVoy— PurpleMenace.com (@TCU_Rivals) August 3, 2019
TCU will need a kicker to step up and replace Song. Cole Bunce also left the program as a graduate transfer and will be with the Villanova football program this fall, meaning the Horned Frogs not only need a field-goal kicker, but someone to handle kickoff duties as well. One player who could break out in 2020 is sophomore Griffin Kell, who went 3-for-4 on field-goal attempts this past season with a season long of 52 yards. Kell also took over kickoffs when Bunce went down with an injury, totaling 12 touchbacks on 33 kickoffs.
Junior Antonio Ortiz returns as the front-runner at long snapper. A 2019 Academic First Team All-Big 12 honoree, Ortiz has started at long snapper for TCU over the last two seasons, appearing in 24 games during that span.
Reagor’s departure leaves a significant void to fill on offense, but it also requires someone to step up in the return game. Junior speedster Derius Davis could be that guy, as he already has one punt-return touchdown on his career. Davis has returned 10 kicks in his career at TCU, with eight coming on kickoffs for 100 yards and two punts for 80 yards.
A big-time track and field athlete in high school, Davis was the Louisiana 3A state champion in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.74 seconds, and he ran the fourth-fastest 400-meter dash time in the nation of 48.44 seconds. He’s also posted a 4.36 40-yard dash time.