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Football: Four Horned Frogs named to Preseason All-Big 12 Team

A specialist and three defenders were voted as all-conference members ahead of 2023 season

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Kansas
TCU linebacker Johnny Hodges is joined by 3 other Horned Frogs on the preseason All-Big 12 team
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

With Big 12 Media Days beginning next week, the countdown to the 2023 season has officially begun. With four new member schools now formally on board, along with a final season with Texas and Oklahoma as league-mates, it is sure to be an intriguing campaign ahead. The Big 12 announced its preseason football all-conference team on Wednesday, as voted on by the media.

TCU placed four players onto the preseason All-Big 12 Team: kicker Griffin Kell, defensive lineman Damonic WIlliams, linebacker Johnny Hodges, and cornerback Josh Newton. The four Horned Frogs marks the second-most in the conference, behind Texas’ five honorees, while the three defenders leads the league on that side of the ball.

Griffin Kell finished the 2022 season as the First Team All-Big 12 placekicker and is returning for a fifth season with the Frogs. Last year he had a career-long made FG of 54 yards and converted 62 extra points and over 89% of his FG attempts, including the indelible Hypnotoad in a Hurry, Bazooka on the Brazos to down the Baylor Bears as time expired in Waco.

Navy transfer Johnny Hodges became the Big 12 Newcomer of the Yearlast season, leading the team in tackles while also adding 9.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. With his linebacker colleague Dee Winters departed to the NFL, Hodges will play an even more critical role in 2023. While Hodges missed the Big 12 Championship with an injury, he showed up big in big games all season, including 10 tackles vs. #8 Oklahoma State and 11 tackles at #18 Texas, plus a tackle for loss in the Fiesta Bowl & National Championship.

UL-Monroe transfer Josh Newton earned First Team All-Big 12 honors in 2022, stepping immediately into a full time starter role for all 15 games. Newton finished with 3 interceptions and 12 pass break ups, both good for second-best on the team, he returned one of those for a touchdown vs. Iowa State in the season finale. Locking down the opposite side of the field from Thorpe Award winner Tre’Vius Hodges Tomlinson in 2022, Newton will now be the undisputed top dog in the cornerback room for 2023.

Damonic Williams opened up the 2022 campaign at Colorado with a sack and 3 tackles as a 17 year old true freshman and would go on to start on the interior defensive line for all 15 game, earning Freshman All-American and Honorable Mention Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He had a season-high 6 tackles vs. Oklahoma State and followed up the next week with 3 tackles and a forced fumble vs. Kansas State. Williams will again be the anchor of the D-Line in 2023 that will be without Dylan Horton rushing off the edge.

Last season TCU only placed two members on the pre-season all-conference team before an undefeated regular season: WR Quentin Johnston and CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson. Of the new Big 12 members, BYU had one entry (OL Kingsley Suamataia) and Cincinnati had two players recognized (DL Dontay Corleone & P Mason Fletcher), while Houston and UCF did not place any members onto the preseason all-conference team. The preseason media poll will be released on Thursday July 6 and Big 12 Media Days will take place July 12-13 in Arlington, TX. TCU will be represented at Media Days by DBs Bud Clark & Josh Newton, OL Brandon Coleman, LB Jamoi Hodge, and TE Jared Wiley. TCU opens its season on Saturday September 2 at 11 AM in Amon G. Carter Stadium vs. the Colorado Buffaloes on FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff.