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2022 TCU Football Preview: Linebackers

The Horned Frogs bring back several veterans including their leading tackler Dee Winters.

NCAA Football: California at Texas Christian Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With TCU moving away from its traditional 4-2-5 defense and shifting to a 3-3-5 defense under new defensive coordinator Joseph Gillespie, depth at the linebacker position will be much more important when the Horned Frogs take the field this fall. Fortunately, TCU has several veterans and underclassmen returning along with a handful of new faces.

Leading the way will be senior Dee Winters, who led the Horned Frogs with 74 tackles during the 2021 season and has appeared in 33 games over the last three seasons. Winters has been a playmaker for the TCU defense, recording 19 tackles for loss and five sacks in his career as well as seven passes defensed, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.

Navy transfer Johnny Hodges has reportedly had a strong camp and could be in line for a starting linebacker role this season. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder recorded 50 total tackles in nine games while adding four passes defensed, one interception, one sack and one forced fumble during the 2021 season. Originally recruited to Navy as a lacrosse player, Hodges arrives in Fort Worth as a junior and has the necessary experience to start from day one.

TCU will start the season without LSU transfer and former five-star prospect Marcel Brooks, who lined up at wide receiver for the Horned Frogs during the 2021 season but switched back to linebacker after new head coach Sonny Dykes took over the program. Brooks suffered a rib injury during camp, but he should be able to return sometime this season.

Junior Jamoi Hodge and senior Wyatt Harris are two experienced players who could step up in Brooks’ absence. Hodge started TCU’s final seven games during the 2021 season and finished the season with 60 total tackles, third-most on the team, with 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Harris totaled 27 tackles with two passes defensed and an interception.

Additional upperclassmen back in the fold include juniors Thomas Armstrong and Zach Marcheselli. TCU added redshirt freshman Terrance Cooks Jr. through the transfer portal, while sophomore and former four-star prospect Shadrach Banks will look to build on a freshman campaign where he snagged the game-winning interception against Baylor.