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Evaluating TCU Football’s incoming transfers

The Horned Frogs have received commitments from several new players at multiple positions this offseason.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 05 SMU at Texas State Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Gary Patterson out and new head coach Sonny Dykes taking the reigns in Funkytown, TCU football has been very active in the transfer portal this offseason. While several Horned Frogs have unfortunately left the program, TCU has secured commitments and signings from multiple new faces who will look to make an immediate impact on the field this fall.

TCU has seen a lot of roster turnover on defense, where the Horned Frogs will move from a 4-2-5 defense to a 3-3-5 defender under new defensive coordinator Joseph Gillespie. Despite a significant loss in former five-star recruit Zach Evans, TCU will have much of the same skill talent on the offensive end, which could see more usage at the tight end position.

So who are the new faces and how will they factor into TCU’s plans for the 2022 season? Here are the notable athletes who could step up for the Horned Frogs this fall.

1. Alan Ali — OL — SMU

Ali arrives with a load of experience as a starting interior offensive lineman for the Mustangs and should immediately compete for starting reps this season. The 6-foot-5, 309-pound redshirt senior will suit up for his sixth season of college football after spending five years at SMU. Ali appeared in 45 games with 39 starts from 2018-2021, earning most of his starts at center but also splitting time at left tackle and right tackle this past season.

TCU brought over offensive coordinator Garrett Riley from SMU and having Ali in the fold should bode well for the Horned Frogs as returning players learn the new system. Ali will be one of several interior linemen on the 2022 roster who will compete for starting reps including sixth-year senior Wes Harris and redshirt senior Steve Avila.

2. Trelon Smith — RB — Arkansas

Smith spent his last two seasons with the Razorbacks, rushing for 1,308 yards and 10 touchdowns while adding 26 catches for 180 yards and one touchdown. A redshirt senior, Smith can contribute to the TCU offense immediately and provide relief to a running back group that has seen two notable departures (Zach Evans and Darwin Barlow) in two years.

Junior running back Kendre Miller shined with Evans out of the lineup this past season, but having an experienced runner like Smith to take carries and spell Miller should help fortify TCU’s rushing attack. The Horned Frogs will also have veteran running backs Emari Demercado and former four-star prospect Daimarqua Foster retuning for the 2022 season.

3. Emani Bailey — RB — Louisiana

Bailey arrives in Fort Worth in a package deal that included the commitment of his younger brother, Class of 2023 wide receiver Jordyn Bailey from Denton Ryan. The 5-foot-8, 197-pound running back is coming off the strongest season of his career in 2021, where he totaled 647 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games. A true junior who played two seasons for the Ragin’ Cajuns, Bailey added 15 catches for 153 yards this past season.

Bailey gives the TCU offense another versatile weapon with both rushing and pass-catching ability. SMU frequently utilized two or three running backs per game this past season and with a deeper running back room in Fort Worth, Dykes and his coaching staff could implement a similar approach with Miller, Smith, Bailey and potentially more this fall.

4. Jared Wiley — TE — Texas

The Mustangs utilized tight ends under Dykes and Riley over the last two seasons, with former Oklahoma standout Grant Calcaterra totaling 38 catches for 465 yards and four touchdowns in 2021. TCU added a tight end through the transfer portal last offseason in Geor’Quarius Spivey, but they’ve chosen to bring another one over in Wiley, who has 10 starts, 18 receptions, 236 yards and three touchdowns in his last two seasons at Texas.

A 6-foot-7, 251-pound senior, Wiley joins a tight end room that includes Spivey, former four-star recruit D’Andre Rogers and redshirt senior Carter Ware, who was injured this past year. The Horned Frogs seldom used tight ends over the last several years, but that theme could very well change when TCU takes the field to open the Sonny Dykes era later this year.

5. Mark Perry — DB — Colorado

TCU struggled in the secondary this past season, as the losses of former Horned Frog stars Tre’von Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington loomed large for a unit that also saw several players go down with injuries. Enter Mark Perry, who comes to TCU for his senior season after leading the Buffaloes with three interceptions in 2021 and played in all 12 games.

While TCU returns its two veteran leaders at cornerback in Noah Daniels and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, Dykes and his coaching staff will be looking for a leader to emerge at the safety position this fall. That player could be Perry, who appeared in 26 games over three years at Colorado and ranked third on the Buffaloes with 72 total tackles in 2021.

6. Ish Burdine — CB — Missouri

Cornerback depth was an issue last season for the Horned Frogs, who didn’t have Daniels for about one-half of the season and lost Kee’yon Stewart before the season to a knee injury. Veteran corner C.J. Ceasar struggled mightily in coverage as well, while Tomlinson was sometimes rotated over to free safety due to continuing injuries in the TCU secondary.

Burdine comes over from the Tigers as a redshirt junior, but the TCU roster indicates he’ll play cornerback for the Horned Frogs this fall. A former four-star safety prospect, Burdine appeared in 13 games over the last two seasons at Missouri and should provide the TCU defense with depth and experience at the cornerback position.

7. Lwal Uguak — DL — UConn

TCU has seen an exodus of defensive linemen with the transition to a 3-3-5 base defense, but some new bodies have entered the fray including the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Uguak, who recorded 69 total tackles and four passes defensed in three seasons at Connecticut. The Horned Frogs will be young at the nose tackle position with true freshman Damonic Williams and JUCO recruit Douglas Blue-Eli, but there should be more experience outside.

8. Johnny Hodges — LB — Navy

A former lacrosse player turned football standout, Hodges adds some size and physicality to a Horned Frog linebacking core that saw Dee Winters shoulder the load in 2021 after Garret Wallow departed for the NFL. Hodges transfers from Navy, where he finished fourth on the team in tackles with 50 despite playing only nine games this past season. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior should be a factor for immediate playing time this coming fall.

9. Curtis Raymond III — WR — Cornell

TCU has added a lot of length and size at the wide receiving position over the last few players with highly-touted recruits like Quentin Johnston, Savion Williams, Quincy Brown and Jordan Hudson. Raymond fits that mold with his 6-foot-4 frame and his arrival comes after four years in the Ivy League at Cornell, where he totaled 27 receptions for 534 yards and four touchdowns in 2021. Raymond made most of his snags downfield, averaging 19.8 yards per reception whick ranked second in the Ivy League and 14th nationally.

10. Terrance Cooks Jr. — LB — Texas

Cooks may not see immediate playing time with the Horned Frogs, but the redshirt freshman could be a future star. TCU will field three senior linebackers this season including Winters, Wyatt Harris and former five-star prospect Marcel Brooks, who intends to switch back to defense after playing wide receiver in 2021. Jamoi Hodge and the Navy transfer Hodges are both juniors who could also be draft eligible after the 2022 season.