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2021 TCU Football Preview: Special Teams

The Horned Frogs are bringing back all of their major players in the kicking, punting and returning categories this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 TCU at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Consistency on special teams can make or break a tight game for any college football program. Fortunately for the TCU Horned Frogs, each of their starters in the kicking, punting and returning fields will return and take the field for the 2021 season.

Among the returning special teams standouts is Australian punter and 2020 All-Big 12 Second Team honoree Jordy Sandy. Now entering his junior season, Sandy has already appeared in 22 games for the Horned Frogs, placing 49 of his 118 punts inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line. Sandy currently holds a career average of roughly 40 yards per punt and 17 punts launching 50 or more yards. Sandy’s career long is 55 yards.

Junior kicker Griffin Kell also returns to the Horned Frogs this fall after finishing 12-for-17 (70.6 percent) on field-goal conversions during the 2020 season. While Kell appeared in 11 games during his freshman season in 2019, he only attempted four field goals, making three of them. Of Kell’s five misses in 2020, four of them were blocked. With better protection and higher trajectory on his kicks, Kell could greatly raise his percentage this fall. Kell enters his junior campaign with 92 kickoff attempts and 38 touchbacks.

Long snapper Antonio Ortiz will be back for his senior season and his fourth campaign with TCU this fall. A two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, Ortiz started in eight games for the Horned Frogs in 2020. Senior receiver Derius Davis has shined in punt-return duties, bringing three punts back for touchdowns during his TCU career.

Redshirt senior JD Spielman also returned punts before losing the majority of his 2020 season to an injury. On kickoff returns, sophomore receiver and former four-star prospect Savion Williams ran back 14 balls over seven games, averaging over 22 yards per return with a long of 30 yards.

Among the depth pieces returning this fall are redshirt senior punter Dillon Jones, freshman long snapper Joe Laterza and kickers James Koshakji, Harper Simmons and Nathan Ellisor. Redshirt senior cornerback Tony Wallace also returns as an option in the kick return game after Wallace missed most of the 2020 season due to opting out.