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2021 TCU Football Preview: Cornerbacks

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Although depth could be an issue, TCU returns two high-level corners who rank among the best in the country.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 03 TCU at Texas Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The TCU football team lost two of the highest-graded safeties in the nation (Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington) to the NFL recently. Although there will be holes to fill in the middle of the Horned Frog secondary, TCU will return two high-level cornerbacks who, when healthy, are capable of locking down college football’s best wide receivers.

Junior Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson will look to continue building on a breakout sophomore season, where he led the Big 12 Conference, finished second nationally with 13 pass breakups and was rated by Pro Football Focus as the highest-graded cornerback (89.1) in the country. The First-Team All-Big 12 corner started all 10 games during the 2020 season and should command starting reps once again in 2021.

On the other side, redshirt senior Noah Daniels returned to the Horned Frog lineup and enjoyed an excellent start to the 2020 season, totaling 13 tackles and four pass breakups over his first four starts before suffering a season-ending injury. Daniels, who missed all of the 2019 season with an injury, had been graded as one of the top corners in college football before going down in 2020. Should Daniels regain full health once again, TCU will field one of the most talented cornerback duos in the nation.

With the 2021 season less than three months away, battles for second and third-team reps will provide opportunities for young players to emerge. TCU will be without junior Kee’yon Stewart for the start of the season, who underwent knee surgery in March, but one player who could help in a pinch is redshirt junior C.J. Ceasar, who nabbed three interceptions over the final three games of the 2020 season. Ceasar reportedly took a lot of the first-team reps in spring camp with Daniels and Hodges-Tomlinson working through injuries.

Another player who was limited in the spring, but could break through in 2021, is redshirt freshman Keontae Jenkins. A consensus four-star prospect from Virginia, Jenkins appeared in the final three games of the 2020 season. Redshirt sophomore Donavann Collins is listed as a safety on the TCU football roster, but he reportedly filled in at cornerback during spring camp with several corners out with injuries.

The TCU defense stepped up in pass coverage during the 2020 season, holding opponents to a 54.2 percent completion percentage, which ranks first in the Big 12. But the Horned Frogs finished fifth in total pass defense, allowing 223.4 yards per game through the air. If TCU can limit the big plays downfield, the Horned Frogs should wind up with one of the strongest pass defenses in the conference and perhaps the country.