TCU went 11-3 last year, surprising a lot of people with its runner-up finish and trip to the Big 12 championship game. But that team is mostly gone.
Nineteen Horned Frogs graduated from the Big 12 title game two-deep, including 13 on offense. Chief among that group was quarterback Kenny Hill, who evened out nicely his senior year. Three starting offensive linemen, three receivers, two tight ends and running back Kyle Hicks also depart.
TCU is ranked No. 18 in our Way-Too-Early Top 25 heading into spring practice, but with so many talented, experienced players gone, coach Gary Patterson will have to rely on promising QB Shawn Robinson and the Frogs' usual fearsome, under-sized defense to create havoc. An early test against Ohio State (Sept. 15 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas) might reveal whether TCU has made the progress to make another push for the conference title.
Here is a spring primer for the 2018 season:
College football schedule 2018
|TBA||Spring Game||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Sept. 1||Southern||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Sept. 7||at SMU (Friday)||Dallas, Texas|
|Sept. 15||No. 4 Ohio State||Arlington, Texas|
|Sept. 22||at No. 22 Texas||Austin, Texas|
|Sept. 29||Iowa State||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Oct. 11||Texas Tech (Thursday)||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Oct. 20||No. 5 Oklahoma||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Oct. 27||at Kansas||Lawrence, Kan.|
|Nov. 3||Kansas State||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Nov. 10||at West Virginia||Morgantown, W.Va.|
|Nov. 17||at Baylor||Waco, Texas|
|Nov. 24||No. 20 Oklahoma State||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Dec. 1||Big 12 championship||Arlington, Texas|
Bold denotes Big 12 games
TCU football recruiting 2018
TCU's incoming class is ranked 25th nationally by 247 Sports, the Horned Frogs second-highest class rank ever (the 2016 class ranked 21st). TCU graduated five offensive linemen, including three multi-year starters, so replenishing that group with five — including 6-foot-8, 330-pound juco transfer Anthony McKinney — was big. The jewel of the class is 6-4, 210-pound dual-threat QB Justin Rogers, a 4-star prospect who missed most of his senior year with a knee injury. He's ranked by 247 Sports as the nation's third-best dual-threat QB.
TCU football roster 2018
The TCU football roster will be updated in the spring and fall here.
What to watch in 2018:
1. What is Robinson's ceiling? In six games as a true freshman last season, quarterback Shawn Robinson saw limited action: 13-of-27, 184 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions; 23 rushing attempts, 6.9 yards per carry. But Robinson's upside goes well beyond rookie statistics. Patterson said he was pleased with Robinson's passing after a 6-of-17 showing in his first career start at Texas Tech. Given a full offseason and a spring to develop his game, expect big things from the 6-2, 225-pound Robinson.
Dec. 1 Big 12 championship Arlington, Texas
2. Next man up: Some really good players graduated off the defense: CB Ranthony Texada (30 career passes defensed), FS Nick Orr (205 career tackles, 9 INTs), LB Travin Howard (345 career tackles), DE Mat Boesen (19.5 career sacks) and DT Chris Bradley (16.5 tackles for loss, 4 career fumbles). Each of them represented exactly what Patterson puts into and gets out of his defenses: Under-sized players with high-rev motors and big hearts who just make plays. How does Patterson replace that kind of productivity? We don't know, but he seems to pull it off every year.
3. Targeting Reagor: Another Alamo Bowl rally (a 21-3 deficit to Stanford became a 39-37 win) featured a breakout performance by freshman WR Jalen Reagor, who caught five passes for 169 yards, including a 93-yard TD. Players who made 120 receptions for 1,412 yards last year have graduated, so throwing to the speedy Reagor (33 catches, 576 yards, 8 TDs), along with KaVontae Turpin (41-394-1) and Jaelan Austin (15-242-0) should help Robinson's development.