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2021 TCU Football Preview: Running Backs

Run Zeke Run! Five-star Zach Evans headlines a deep and talented core of ball carriers this fall

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 12 Louisiana Tech at TCU Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

TCU football fans were ecstatic when the program signed former five-star prospect Zach Evans to the 2020 recruiting class. Those fans weren’t disappointed this past season, when Evans surged up the depth chart and became one of TCU’s go-to running backs in 2020.

The North Shore standout averaged 7.7 yards per carry during his freshman season, second-most in Horned Frog football history and second nationally among all eligible freshmen. While his 415 rushing yards ranked second on the team, Evans surpassed 100 yards in two of the team’s last three games, all of which he started in. The first five-star signee in TCU history, Evans was recently recognized with Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team honors.

Now a sophomore, Evans returns as TCU’s most significant rushing threat for the 2021 season, but there are several other ball carriers who showcased plenty of skills this past fall. Sophomore Kendre Miller surprised with his running ability, compiling 7.2 yards per carry on the ground, fifth-most in TCU history. Miller shined in the Horned Frog victory against Louisiana Tech, where he rushed for a season-best 136 yards and two touchdowns.

TCU will also return former four-star running back Daimarqua Foster and redshirt senior Emari Demercado. After redshirting in 2019, Foster appeared in the team’s first five games of the 2020 season before suffering an injury. Demercado started two games this past season, totaling 199 rushing yards and adding 10 receptions.

The most significant loss in the running back room will be Darwin Barlow, who transferred to USC during the offseason and will compete for a starting role with the Trojans. A former four-star prospect, Barlow led all Horned Frog running backs with 428 yards while scoring four touchdowns on the ground, tied for second-most on the team.

Although Evans began his freshman season third or fourth on the TCU depth chart, expect him to be in line for starting reps this coming season. The most interesting battle for carries will come with the second and third teams, where Miller, Foster and Demercado will presumably compete for time. It’s a good problem to have for the Horned Frogs, who ran for well over 200 yards per game this past season.