Friday, June 22, 2012
Under the radar: TCU Horned Frogs
Time for the next team in our series examining one player on each Big 12 team who will enter 2012 with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.
It's time to redefine "under the radar" for TCU, a Big 12 newcomer. You don't need to tell anyone from Fort Worth about Maponga, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound beast on the defensive line for the Frogs. But in the Big 12? Maponga may be a first-team All-Big 12 talent and I'd bet 95 percent of the league's fans have never even seen the guy play.
Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor may be the league's top two defensive linemen by the time the season's done, but if anybody's going to crash the league's burnt-orange monopoly at the position, it's going to be Maponga.
The Carrollton, Texas, native will only be a junior in 2011, but as a sophomore, he was one of just four players in college football to rank in the top 20 in sacks and in the top 10 in forced fumbles. He made nine sacks (which would have ranked second in the Big 12 and that's the most of any returning defender in the league. Those five forced fumbles were one more than any player in the Big 12 last season, too.
He recovered two fumbles and made 13.5 tackles for loss, which would have tied for sixth in the Big 12.
Yes, we know, he did it in the Mountain West. Count me as one more vote who doesn't care. He's one productive beast you do not want to mess with. Ignore him at your own peril. When your team plays TCU and that annoying No. 90 keeps driving you nuts, don't say you weren't warned.