Dallas Colleges: D.J. Yendrey

Frogs' depleted depth takes another big hit

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
4:38
PM CT
Hasn't TCU suffered enough attrition since the end of last season?

Apparently not. Add the team's leading rusher in 2011 and 2012 to the list. Waymon James won't be on the field for the Horned Frogs for the rest of 2012 after suffering a knee injury in last week's 20-6 win over Kansas.

From our news story:
TCU junior running back Waymon James will miss the rest of the season, a TCU official confirmed to ESPN.com Wednesday afternoon.

James suffered an apparent knee injury in the fourth quarter of last week's 20-6 win over Kansas, and coach Gary Patterson told reporters this week he believed James would be a game-time decision for Saturday's game against Virginia.

James' injury, which TCU declined to go into detail on, will keep him off the field for the rest of TCU's first season in the Big 12.

For now, that means the TCU running back spot belongs to Matthew Tucker. That's a pretty big surprise, but Tucker will be capable.

Even still, expect more of the offense to fall on junior quarterback Casey Pachall's shoulders. With less depth at running back and plenty at receiver with a capable passer in Pachall, it may be time for TCU to depend a little more on the passing game.

TCU's team is a prime example of how quickly depth can disappear. Tucker entered spring camp as the team's third running back in carries and rushing yards a year ago, despite the Frogs triple threat of running backs that each turned 120 carries into at least 700 yards in 2011.

In late May, Ed Wesley left the team because of family reasons and entered the NFL's supplemental draft. After James' injury, the Frogs are down to just one proven commodity in the backfield.

Tucker will get help from senior Aundre Dean and freshman B.J. Catalon, but TCU entered the season with arguably the best backfield in its new league, the Big 12.

Now? The Frogs are pretty average at the position.

And after all, that's the last thing TCU needed. The biggest question about the Frogs entering the Big 12 was if they had enough depth to win on a weekly basis in a major conference, rather than spending a whole season preparing for one big game to start the season or a big midseason showdown with Utah or Boise State, and then a bowl game.

Now, it looks like TCU won't even get a chance to prove whether or not that's the case. Here's who TCU won't have now in 2012 that at the end of 2011, it believed it would have:
  • The team's best linebacker and probable best overall defender, Tanner Brock (drug arrest, removed from team)
  • The team's second-best linebacker, Deryck Gildon (academics)
  • The team's second-best running back, Wesley (left team) and best running back, James (injury).
  • Starting defensive end Ross Forrest (knee injury)
  • Probable starting safety Devin Johnson (drug arrest, removed from team)
  • Probable starting offensive lineman Ty Horn (drug arrest, removed from team)
  • Probable starting defensive lineman D.J. Yendrey (drug arrest, removed from team)

That's a huge, huge deficit that Patterson's team has to try and make up when conference play heats up this fall. The result: TCU is playing 15 true freshmen already this season, as many as any team in the country and far more than any team in the Big 12.

Through two games, that lack of depth and experience hasn't shown up. It may not for awhile. TCU will likely favored to win its first seven games before a brutal finish to 2012.

TCU's final five games are on the road at Oklahoma State, at No. 8 West Virginia, home vs. No. 15 Kansas State, at No. 12 Texas and home vs. No. 6 Oklahoma.

TCU can hold court until then, barring an upset.

But once it gets to that stretch, will the Frogs have enough to make their first season in the Big 12 one to remember?

Big 12 recruiting needs in 2012

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
10:57
AM CT
Signing day is coming fast. Next Wednesday, the next round of players will sign up for their respective programs and start what could be storied careers.

Here's what each team across the Big 12 needs. You'll find Texas A&M and Mizzou on the SEC blog and West Virginia on the Big East Blog.

BAYLOR

Quarterback: This one's pretty simple. Robert Griffin III is taking his talents to the NFL early. Nick Florence is waiting to take over, and the Bears have Bryce Petty behind him, but more reinforcements at quarterback are needed. Dual-threat quarterbacks, ideally.

Defensive tackle: Baylor already was one of the nation's worst teams (102nd nationally) at stopping the run. Now it'll need to replace both its interior linemen, Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and Tracy Robertson.

Offensive linemen: Baylor's offensive line, meanwhile, has been solid. It loses junior college transfer and two-year starter Robert T. Griffin, as well as All-Big 12 center Philip Blake. John Jones, a reserve guard, also has exhausted his eligibility.

IOWA STATE

Receiver: This has been a weak spot for the team for several years, and its top overall talent, Darius Reynolds, is gone. Darius Darks is, too. Aaron Horne and Josh Lenz will be the team's best weapons in 2012, but the pair of shifty slot guys will be seniors. This position needs reinforcements.

Defensive back: The DBs have been a quiet strength for ISU, especially in 2011. Cornerback Leonard Johnson and safety Ter'Ran Benton both have exhausted their eligibility, though, and defensive backs coach Bobby Elliott left for Notre Dame. You'll see plenty of new faces in the Cyclones' secondary next year.

Defensive line: Experienced starters Stephen Ruempolhamer and Jacob Lattimer are both gone, and Iowa State has struggled to stop the run consistently the past few seasons.

KANSAS

Quarterback: Kansas landed high-profile transfers Dayne Crist (Notre Dame) and Jake Heaps (BYU), but this is still a huge position of need. Last year's starter, Jordan Webb, left the team. Quinn Mecham is out of eligibility. Heaps is sitting out his NCAA-mandated year after transferring. Crist is the starter, but he badly needs a backup, especially if Brock Berglund's transfer appeal allows him to leave.

Wide receiver: Kansas lacks a big threat at this position. It needs a talent upgrade in a big way. Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay is joining the team, but he's no guarantee to a) be granted immediate eligibility or b) become an impact player.

Defensive tackle: Kansas is thin here, too. Richard Johnson, Patrick Dorsey and Michael Martinovich are gone, and Kansas couldn't stop much of anything on defense. Some push up front could help make everything look better. A late addition to the 2012 class from a junior college seems like a no-brainer. The Jayhawks need physically mature players to contribute immediately.

KANSAS STATE

Offensive line: K-State's offensive line was much better in 2011 and could be again in 2012. It needs help replacing All-Big 12 lineman Clyde Aufner, though. Starter Colten Freeze is also gone.

Defensive line: Kansas State is bringing back about as many starters as anyone in the Big 12, but the biggest losses are along the defensive line. Kick-blocking specialist (five in 2011) Ralph Guidry is gone, along with tackle Ray Kibble. Juco transfer Jordan Voelker exploded onto the scene this year, but he's gone, too.

Defensive backs: Cornerback David Garrett leaves a huge hole behind. Tysyn Hartman may not be as talented as teammate Ty Zimmerman, but his experience leaves a big hole. Zimmerman will have to mentor a younger safety in the near future.

OKLAHOMA

Receiver: The Sooners are thin here in a big way. That was obvious late in the season when Ryan Broyles' storied college career ended a few weeks early with a knee injury. The team also lost Justin McCay (transfer) to Kansas. Jaz Reynolds and Kenny Stills are the likely top two targets, but they need help.

Tight end: This position inspired a bit of panic at the end of the season. Seniors James Hanna and Trent Ratterree are gone. Austin Haywood wasn't allowed back on the team, and two more tight ends left the team for various reasons. That left the Sooners suddenly without a scholarship player at the position returning in 2012.

Offensive line: Starting tackle Donald Stephenson must be replaced, as will guard Stephen Good, who moved in and out of the starting lineup throughout his career. The Sooners bring back a lot of talent and aren't dying for depth there, but those two will leave holes. Three more offensive line starters will be seniors in 2012.

OKLAHOMA STATE

Offensive line: The Cowboys need a whole lot of help here to fill in behind young players stepping into the starting lineup. Starters Levy Adcock, Nick Martinez and Grant Garner are gone. Backup center Casey LaBrue is gone, too. Those are two All-Big 12 linemen who leave big shoes to be filled.

Receiver: Justin Blackmon surprised no one by leaving a year early, and Josh Cooper leaves with perhaps the most underrated career of any receiver in school history. In OSU's offense, there's always room for depth here. Nine receivers had at least 19 catches in 2011. Blackmon and Cooper combined for 192, though.

Defensive ends: The pass rush was solid for Oklahoma State this year, but both starters, Jamie Blatnick and Richetti Jones, are gone. Replacing both is a necessity.

TEXAS

Receiver: Texas lacks a true game-changer at the position, though Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis may develop into that role in 2012. Former blue-chip recruit Darius White left for Missouri, too.

Quarterback: David Ash and Case McCoy didn't show a ton of potential at quarterback this year, though Ash may grow with an offseason to prepare as starter. Garrett Gilbert got a big chunk of the work in the spring, summer 7-on-7 and fall preseason camp. Even if Ash does grow, the Longhorns need reinforcements at the position.

Linebacker: Two senior impact players are gone. Texas is left trying to replace Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson, though Jordan Hicks may mature into a star in 2012.

TCU

Offensive line: TCU's offensive line is headed for some major turnover. OT Robert Deck, OG Kyle Dooley and OG Spencer Thompson are gone. Two more starters, OG Blaize Foltz and C James Fry, will be seniors in 2012.

Defensive linemen: TCU isn't losing a lot at this spot, but Ross Forrest and D.J. Yendrey will be seniors in 2012. The Horned Frogs would be well-served to prepare, and offer some depth next year.

Specialists: TCU will have to break in a pair of new starters on special teams next season. Kicker Ross Evans and punter Anson Kelton have exhausted their eligibility.

TEXAS TECH

Receiver: The Red Raiders' offense requires a lot of depth here. Tramain Swindall is the only loss at the position, but three more (Alex Torres, Cornelius Douglas, Darrin Moore) will be seniors. Douglas moved to cornerback this year after the team was racked with injury, but we'll see whether he moves back this offseason.

Offensive line: Tech has a huge need here. Four players won't be returning in 2012. Lonnie Edwards, Mickey Okafor and center Justin Keown must be replaced.

Defensive linemen: Tech's Donald Langley and Scott Smith are both out of eligibility, and juco transfer Leon Mackey will be a senior.

SPONSORED HEADLINES