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2022 TCU Football Preview: Running Backs

Losing former five-star prospect Zach Evans doesn’t mean the Horned Frogs won’t have talent returning this fall.

TCU v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

TCU football lost several players to the transfer portal after the program parted ways with longtime head coach Gary Patterson. Among those who left the team was starting running back and former five-star recruit Zach Evans, who totaled over 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns over two seasons before electing to continue his career with Ole Miss.

With new head coach Sonny Dykes now leading the program, TCU will look for a group of returning players and a duo of transfers to solidify the running back position this fall. The Horned Frog backs will be coached by Anthony Jones, whose arrival this offseason came after Ra’Shaad Samples, who followed Dykes from SMU and was expected to make a significant impact as a recruiter, left the team in March to work for the Los Angeles Rams.

Junior running back Kendre Miller is the early favorite to be TCU’s No. 1 rusher this fall. While he was often used to spell Evans over the last two seasons, Miller shined when given the opportunity, averaging 7.4 yards per carry while scoring nine touchdowns on the ground including seven during the 2021 season. The 6-foot, 220-pounder from Mount Enterprise, Texas added 12 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown last season. With Evans out of the picture, Miller has proven to be more than capable of handling three-down duties.

One transfer who has stood out during fall camp is Emani Bailey, who comes to Fort Worth after spending two seasons with Louisiana-Lafayette. Bailey, whose younger brother Jordyn is a member of the 2023 TCU recruiting class, shined during his sophomore season with the Ragin’ Cajuns, rushing for 642 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Bailey also hauled in 15 receptions for 153 yards during the 2021 campaign.

Two veterans who’re back in the fold this fall are sixth-year senior Emari Demercado and fourth-year sophomore Daimarqua Foster. A former four-star recruit, Foster will look to bounce back from consecutive season-ending injuries over the 2020 and 2021 campaigns. Demercado returns after finishing third on the team last season with over 400 yards on the ground. Demercado has over 1,100 total yards and four touchdowns in his time at TCU.

TCU’s second transfer joining the program this offseason is Corey Wren, who spent two seasons with Florida State and served primarily as a return specialist. Redshirt freshman Trent Battle has moved to running back after being recruited as a quarterback, while four-star freshman Major Everhart has been making plays during fall camp. TCU had a commitment from Arkansas transfer Trelon Smith, who reneged on his decision before eventually choosing to continue his collegiate career with the UTSA Roadrunners.