Dallas Colleges: Tejay Johnson

Offseason spotlight: TCU Horned Frogs

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
3:19
PM CT
As we welcome nearby TCU to the league, the offseason spotlight Thursday shines on the Horned Frogs:

Spotlight: A rotating group of safeties that need a big offseason.

2011 summary: Tekerrein Cuba and Johnny Fobbs combined for 135 tackles and were two of the team's top four tacklers. Cuba broke up three passes and forced two fumbles and Fobbs intercepted one pass with six breakups and forced three fumbles. Both are gone and must be replaced.

The skinny: I'm guessing most of you saw TCU just once last season, and it wasn't a great impression. The first night of the season was an ugly one for TCU full of deep balls and a painful loss, courtesy of future Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. Some of those five touchdowns came in single coverage, but the safeties at TCU left a lot to be desired, especially after losing Tejay Johnson after the 2010 season, a Thorpe Award finalist.

This year, Jonathan Anderson and Elisha Olabode slide into the new safety spots. Offenses like Baylor's are pretty common in the Big 12. Not so much in the Mountain West. That duo has to step into new roles and be effective for the Horned Frogs to succeed in their new league.

Anderson is a promising sophomore who made 17 tackles in a win over BYU at Cowboys Stadium this past season, including 11 solo tackles. Olabode didn't quite have that kind of impact, but both players' development this spring and in fall camp will be enormous.

For so much focus on the offense in this league, you can't forget about the defense, which last year was below what's been expected at TCU.

TCU aims for staying power

December, 30, 2010
12/30/10
3:28
PM CT
LOS ANGELES -- TCU is proudly carrying a banner at the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO.

"We're not just representing TCU," quarterback Andy Dalton said. "We're representing all the non-AQ schools."

The Horned Frogs are taking that responsibility very seriously this week, saying they have to play well for all the schools who might never get a chance to make it to this stage. As far as crusades go, though, this won't be a long one. TCU will soon be leaving that torch for someone else to pick up.

It is the first team from outside the six automatic-qualifying conferences to reach two consecutive BCS games, and it came the hard way as TCU has gone 12-0 the last two regular seasons. In 2012, the team will have much more margin for error as it joins the Big East and can still make the BCS just by winning the league.

"I'm actually a little envious of the younger players," said cornerback Greg McCoy, whose eligibility expires after the 2011 campaign. "We all worked hard for the future, and I know there's a lot of envy among the upperclassmen. But when you work hard, things get better. And we all know we contributed to this."

TCU's senior class played a major role in making the program attractive to the Big East, winning 35 games the previous three years. Many of those seniors are stars on this team, like four-year starter Andy Dalton, center Jake Kirkpatrick, receiver/returner Jeremy Kerley, safety Tejay Johnson and defensive end Wayne Daniels.

But the program has shown that it can reload. Last year's team lost All-America defensive end Jerry Hughes and linebacker Daryl Washington to the NFL. Daniels elevated his game, and redshirt freshman Stansly Maponga stepped in to replace Hughes' production at end. Sophomore Tanner Brock took over for Washington at middle linebacker and kept that position strong.

"We have a great coaching staff and the athletes to continue to be successful," senior right guard Josh Vernon said. "We don't rely on just one guy on offense or defense."

Can TCU keep this going? It's unrealistic to think the program will keep piling up undefeated regular seasons. But who's to say they can't become the top frogs in the Big East and turn into the next Virginia Tech, Miami or Florida State -- programs that went from humble beginnings to consistent national powers.

They're not far from that level now.

"I don't feel like we're the small guy," head coach Gary Patterson said. "We've only lost three games the last three years. We lost to Oklahoma that played in national championship game. We lost to Utah that beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and then Boise State a year ago (in the Fiesta Bowl). So we've been in big games and we've proven we can play on a big stage. "

As long as Patterson stays in Fort Worth, the team should remain highly competitive. The school is in the midst of a $105 million renovation of Amon Carter Stadium, funded through private donations. Patterson's staff knows how to recruit and develop Texas talent.

There might not be many more Rose Bowls in the Horned Frogs' future, but Big East membership will allow them to compete for BCS games on an annual basis.

"Obviously we've done something right to get to go to the Big East, and hopefully we'll make that league better," Dalton said. "I can't see us dropping off. I think we'll just keep getting better."

Two TCU players make ESPN All-America team

December, 24, 2010
12/24/10
11:18
AM CT
The players selected for the ESPN.com 2010 All-America team illustrate how individuals may shine in the ultimate team game. Only 11 of the 25 best players in the nation will line up in a BCS bowl. Yet several of them, including TCU's Tank Carder and Tejay Johnson, have redefined the measure of success at their position.

To see the players selected for the team, click here.

No. 6 TCU seeks perfection, title shot

September, 1, 2010
9/01/10
1:00
AM CT
The TCU Horned Frogs enter the 2010 season boasting the program's highest preseason rankings -- No. 6 in the Associated Press poll and No. 7 in the coaches poll -- after reaching unprecedented heights last season in playing in the BCS Fiesta Bowl.

The Frogs couldn't finish the job against fellow BCS-buster Boise State, but it only whet their appetite for more. TCU wants a shot at a national title. To have a chance they know they'll have to sweep their 12-game regular season that starts Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium against No. 24 Oregon State.

PODCAST
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit joins GAC to announce that he is ready for the start of another season and gives his pick for the TCU-Oregon State game.

Listen Listen
The Frog file:

2009 record: 12-1 (lost to Boise State in Fiesta Bowl, 17-10)
Starters returning: 19
Offensive starters returning: 9
Defensive starters returning: 7
Special teams returning: 3

Key offensive returners: QB Andy Dalton(needs one win to pass Sammy Baugh for most wins by a TCU quarterback); T Marcus Cannon (preseason All-American, ranked by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., as third-best OT in 2011 NFL Draft); C Jake Kirkpatrick (preseason All-American); WR Jeremy Kerley(team-high 44 receptions for 532 yards last season); WR Jimmy Young(115 career receptions are eighth all-time at TCU).
Will be missed:T Marshall Newhouse; RB Joseph Turner.

Key defensive returners:NT Kelly Griffin (became first true freshman in 2007 to start under Gary Patterson); DT Cory Grant (All-MWC last season, first as starter); DE Wayne Daniels (on Lombardi Trophy watch list, all-MWC last season); LB Tank Carder (preseason All-American, top returning tackler); FS Tejay Johnson (preseason All-American, tied for team lead in '09 with three interceptions).
Will be missed: DE Jerry Hughes; LB Daryl Washington; CB Rafael Priest; CB Nick Sanders

Key special teams returners:PK Ross Evans (first-team all-MWC, 15-of-18 FGs last season); KR/PR Jeremy Kerley (Four total kicks returned for touchdowns last season).

On the rise: WR Antoine Hicks(scored 10 touchdowns on 32 touches last season); RBs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker(Both rushed for more than 600 yards and averaged better than 6.0 yards a carry last season); DE Stansly Maponga (could become only redsirt freshman to earn starting job for opener); CB Greg McCoy (4.32 speed, had two interceptions last season and an 81-yard kickoff return for touchdown).

Toughest schedule stretch:Oct. 16 vs. BYU; Oct. 23 vs. Air Force; Oct. 30 at UNLV; Nov. 6 at Utah.

By the numbers:
27: Seniors (tied for the lead nationally with Louisville)
12:Wins needed by 2010 seniors to become the winningest class in TCU history (a new mark has been set in each of the last two seasons)
110: Wins by Gary Patterson, to 38 losses, since Gary Patterson arrived as defensive coordinator in 1998 (10th year as head coach).

TCU gets double on 2 football watch lists

June, 22, 2010
6/22/10
4:40
PM CT
TCU Horned Frogs linebacker Tank Carder and safety Tejay Johnson are included on the watch list for the 2010 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, honoring the nation's top defensive player.

Carder and Johnson, both preseason All-Americans, are two of seven returning starters on a TCU defense which has led the nation each of the last two seasons. TCU is one of just 13 schools to have more than one player on the Nagurski Trophy watch list.

Carder was an All-Mountain West Conference selection in his first year as a starter. His 89 tackles placed second on TCU behind only Daryl Washington (109) and were 19 more than the next-closest Horned Frog (Alex Ibiloye, 70).

A junior from Sweeny, Texas, Carder also appears on the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list.

Johnson, a native of Garland, will be in his third year as a starter. He tied for TCU's team lead with three interceptions.

TCU offensive tackle Marcus Cannon and center Jake Kirkpatrick have been named to the watch list for the 2010 Outland Trophy, recognizing the nation's top interior lineman. TCU is also one of just 13 schools to have more than one player on the Outland Trophy watch list.

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