For a second consecutive year, TCU Football has two players on the Big 12 preseason All Conference team.
For the second consecutive year, neither of them come from the offensive side of the ball.
In a vote conducted by media members that cover the ten team conference, defensive end
Ochaun Mathis and cornerback Tre’vius Hodges Tomlinson were given the honor of preseason All Conference, earning spots in a crowded field dominated by Oklahoma (9 selections) and Iowa State (8), who made up nearly half of the entirety of the team.
Mathis, who is entering his third year on campus, had a big 2020, registering nearly a sack per game. Starting all ten games, Mathis led the Frogs in sacks (9) and had the second most tackles for loss with 14. The 6’5” beast had three first half sacks against Texas Tech, the best single game performance of his career, on his way to being named to the Big 12 All Conference Second Team at the conclusion of the season.
Hodges Tomlinson made a name for himself as well, as has littered preseason watch lists all summer. Tre has the fourth best career mark amongst returning defensive backs in single coverage, and the 2020 All Conference and All American is primed for an even bigger 2021. He is graded by PFF as the most valuable defender in regards to wins about average.
Most valuable defenders returning CFB (PFF Wins Above Average):— PFF College (@PFF_College) June 24, 2021
1. T. Hodges-Tomlinson, TCU CB
2. Josh Jobe, Bama CB
3. Malachi Moore, Bama CB
4. Kaiir Elam, Florida CB
5. Brendan Harrington, App St LB pic.twitter.com/1MoCS3Y5Us
Both Mathis and Hodges-Tomlinson will benefit by offenses not being able to drive plays away from them; the emergence of Khari Coleman opposite Mathis on the defensive line coupled with the return of Noah Daniels to the secondary should make things very difficult for OCs all season long. Despite having to replace two safeties that will be in professional campus this summer, the defense is, once again, a strength for the Horned Frogs.
But after back-to-back years of the offense being shut out on preseason lists, should fans be angry/confused/concerned?
You could make a very strong argument that Quentin Johnston should have made the list, but he didn’t put up eye-popping numbers as a true freshman — his time might be December, not July. And Zach Evans certainly deserved consideration after what he did in his first year on campus, but Bijan Robinson (who is likely to get more carries this fall) edged him out behind Iowa State’s Breece Hall. On the offensive line, I was surprised that Steve Avila didn’t make the cut, but after playing multiple positions across last season, he might not have the name recognition of some of the other guys.
The major preseason awards were voted as follows:
Offensive Player of the Year: Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma, QB
Defensive Player of the Year: Mike Rose, Iowa State, LB
Newcomer of the Year: Eric Gray, Oklahoma, RB
2021 is definitely a “Prove Em Wrong” year, and I am a-ok with that.
The entire preseason All Conference team can be seen below: