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TCU Football: Five Breakout Candidates for the 2021 Season

Defensive end Khari Coleman totaled 30 tackles and three sacks during his freshman season this past year.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Baylor Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

The TCU football team took the field for its annual Spring Game recently, giving Horned Frog fans an early look at the 2021 roster and who the potential starters could be. While several players sat out due to injuries or other reasons, multiple returning players showcased their improved skills, providing an optimistic view for the future.

Although we’re still several months away from the start of the upcoming season, TCU will have several players primed for breakout performances as the Horned Frogs look to build on a strong finish to the 2020 campaign. Junior quarterback Max Duggan and sophomore wide receiver Quentin Johnston are two easy candidates to identify, but who else could be due for a breakout season?

Here are five players who could make the leap for the Horned Frogs in 2021.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Kansas Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Evans - RB

TCU operated with a stable of running backs during the 2020 season, but none shined more than Evans, who averaged nearly eight yards per carry and rushed for over 400 yards as a true freshman. The former five-star recruit was a late addition to the team’s 2020 class, but he’s already risen near the top of the depth chart at the running back position.

While TCU will continue deploying multiple running backs in 2021, Evans will align himself to be the starter if he has a strong offseason. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder broke loose for a 75-yard touchdown run during the Spring Game, giving fans another look at his explosive potential. With two 100-yard rushing performances already under his belt, Evans is a prime candidate to have a breakout sophomore season in the Big 12 Conference.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Texas Christian Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Khari Coleman - DE

The New Orleans, Louisiana native was flipped from Kansas in 2019 and enjoyed a promising freshman season at TCU, recording 33 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and three sacks opposite Ochaun Mathis. Coleman became a starting defensive end by the end of the 2020 season, earning Freshman All-American honors from ESPN, the FWAA and The Athletic.

Now a sophomore, Coleman and Mathis have another chance to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks in 2021. TCU will also have additional depth at the defensive end position, with Dylan Horton and Colt Ellison returning to help the Horned Frog pass rush.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 28 TCU at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Andrew Coker - OT

At 6 feet 7 inches and 326 pounds, Coker certainly has the mold of a pro-caliber offensive tackle. But he struggled to secure the starting right tackle position despite appearing in nine games during the 2020 season, often splitting time with teammate Brandon Coleman. Coker did start on the first team during the Spring Game, however, which could be a sign that the former three-star prospect has grown over the offseason.

An improved Coker would bode well for an offensive line that was inconsistent in pass protection last season. If Coker can lock down the right side, he’d be filling the massive shoes vacated by Lucas Niang, who was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

TCU v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Bud Clark - FS

TCU will be without multiple leaders on defense for the 2021 season, but the Horned Frogs will hurt most in the secondary, where Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington have both departed to pursue their professional careers in the 2021 NFL Draft. TCU fans got a look at the revamped secondary during the Spring Game, with Memphis transfer T.J. Carter starting at weak safety while veteran Nook Bradford took the field at strong safety.

A more significant development, though, was the former four-star prospect Clark earning the starting free safety role. Clark, who flipped from Virginia to TCU, appeared in 10 games with three total tackles in 2020. At 6 feet 2 inches, Clark brings size to the secondary and will likely have some competition for the starting job. Clark made a nice play during the Spring Game, breaking up a long pass to Blair Conwright.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Savion Williams - WR

Johnston has all but secured a starting spot on the outside, while several veterans including Taye Barber, Derius Davis and J.D. Spielman will catch passes from the slots. The Horned Frogs need another receiver to step up opposite Johnston. That player could be Williams, who has great size at 6 feet 5 inches and showcased his speed on kickoff returns in 2020.

Williams didn’t play in the Spring Game because of an injury, but the former four-star recruit has the talent necessary to become an elite threat on the outside. A tandem of Williams and Johnston, who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall, would pose matchup nightmares for opposing teams with smaller defensive backs, particularly near the sidelines and down the field.