|Returning Statistical Leaders
|Tackles: Fields; 53 |
|SACKS: Fields; 10|
|TFL: Fields; 18.5|
|Forced Fumbles: Fields; 2
UNIT RANKING: A
STRENGTHS: Depth and experience
The defensive line may be the best unit on an already stacked defense. Boasting Freshman All-American Devonte Fields and an outstanding group of defensive tackles, the Horned Frogs’ D-line will be the most feared in the Big 12 in 2013.
TCU will need to find a replacement for Stansly Maponga, who left a year early for the NFL Draft. Josh Carraway and James McFarland will get a look but don’t count out Aledo’s Jon Koontz. With Fields sure to draw double teams all year, it’s crucial that someone at the opposite DE position steps up. Overall this unit is very formidable and they should be improved over last year. Chucky Hunter and Davion Pierson return after posting great stats a year ago. Hunter was named 2nd team All-Big 12 and Pierson really came into his own. When you have players such as Jon Lewis and David Johnson providing experienced depth, you know you’re in good shape. With the fast paced offenses of the Big 12, a 10/12 man defensive line rotation is a must. The Frogs have just that and Coach Patterson will unleash his line on Big 12 offenses even more in 2013. Everyone that’s followed TCU knows, when the Frogs have a stout defensive line, their defensive backs excel. That will be the case again in 2013. A devastating pass rush will provide the secondary the opportunities to make big plays.
Pierson had a breakout year in 2012
What to watch: DE battle opposite Devonte Fields
Will it be Josh Carraway, Jon Koontz, or will James McFarland live up to the hype and burst onto the scene this year? The positive is, TCU has enough options that it should just be a matter of which player will emerge. Carraway has tremendous upside and has impressed in the short time he’s been on campus. Koontz is solid but not flashy, but that’s not a bad thing. Ross Forrest wasn’t flashy either, he just made plays. The wild card here is McFarland, in my opinion. He’s the most physically gifted of the three and looks like he could develop into a great pass rusher. TCU’s defense will be the key to the Horned Frogs battling for the Big 12 championship this year. If they can get one of these three guys to elevate their game, the swagger will be on display for all to see at Cowboy Stadium against LSU to open the season.
Breakout player: James McFarland
With so much talent up and down the defensive line, McFarland could get lost in the shuffle. However, I don’t think he will. The 6’3” 245 pound DE has a great first step and could develop into a fierce edge rusher for Head Coach Gary Patterson. Devonte Fields will be fighting double teams so someone needs to emerge and my money is on McFarland.
McFarland backed up Stansly Maponga in 2012
Keep an eye on: Josh Carraway
While Carraway isn’t the biggest (6’3” 235) defensive end, he’s very quick and can be a disruptive player. The Flower Mound Marcus product was an absolute steal for the Frogs and this could be the year he steps up big time for TCU.
- Fields dominates and is truly unblockable
- McFarland emerges and shines
- Hunter and Pierson are starters at the end of spring and develop in to the top tandem in the Big 12