As a redshirt freshman last season, Anderson saw action in all 13 games and made his first career start at Wyoming. Anderson finished the 2011 season seventh on the team with 49 tackles, 35 of them solo, and also added an interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery. His 49 tackles were the most by a TCU freshman since two linebackers led the team in 2005. Anderson was at his best against BYU when he racked up 17 tackles (11 solo) and collected his lone interception of the season. The 17 total stops were the most by any Horned Frog defender since 2004 and the third-most in Gary Patterson’s 11 seasons TCU head coach. The sophomore weak safety will take on an even bigger role in 2012 as TCU’s five-man secondary returns just one starter, sophomore cornerback Jason Verrett.
Dawson had his best season by far in 2011 as his 45 receptions were nearly four times the number (12) he had in his first two years combined. Dawson finished second on the team in receptions, receiving yards (500) and touchdowns (five). He also made an impact on special teams, returning both punts and kickoffs during the season. Dawson had a career day against Portland State last Sept. 24, catching eight passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns. He also was named the 2011 Poinsettia Bowl Offensive MVP after hauling in a 42-yard touchdown with 4:26 left in the game to give TCU the lead in its eventual 31-24 win over Louisiana Tech.
Tucker led the team and tied for fourth in the Mountain West Conference with 12 touchdowns last season, earning honorable mention all-conference honors. The senior was third on the team with 702 rushing yards and has 2,087 in his career entering 2012. Tucker scored a touchdown in nine of TCU’s 13 games last season and found the end zone twice in three games. Tucker currently has 27 rushing TDs, which places him sixth all-time on TCU’s career list. If he matches his 2011 total of 12 this season, Tucker will end his career No. 2 on TCU’s all-time rushing touchdown list, trailing only Horned Frogs legend and future NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (54).
Wesley is second on the team with 24 career starts headed into 2012. Last season, the senior finished second in rushing with 726 yards and tied for second with six rushing touchdowns despite missing three games because of injury. An honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference selection, Wesley led the team in rushing five times and posted two 100-yard games in 2011. He piled up a season-high 146 yards on the ground on 24 carries (6.1 ypc) at San Diego State. For his TCU career, Wesley has 2,457 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. He is currently tied for eighth on TCU’s all-time list for career rushing touchdowns. Wesley also returned 11 punts for 120 yards and caught six passes out of the backfield in 2011.
The youngest member of TCU’s three-headed monster at tailback, James led the Horned Frogs with 875 yards rushing in 2011 earning him honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference recognition. James led the Horned Frogs in rushing a team-high six times last season, including when he racked up a career-high 181 yards on the ground at Wyoming on just 12 carries (15.1 yards per carry). James rushed for more than 100 yards in two other contests and his six rushing touchdowns tied him for second-most on the team. James also made an impact on special teams as he returned eight kickoffs for an average of 27.8 yards per return, including one 82 yards for a TD against Portland State.
Cain became the fourth different linebacker in the last four years to lead TCU in tackles as he recorded 72 total stops in 2011. Cain was a second-team All-Mountain West Conference selection last season, despite missing two games due to injury. Besides the 72 tackles, 39 of which were solo stops, Cain also had three tackles for loss, a sack, an interception, four pass breakups and a fumble recovery. He posted double-digit tackles twice last season, including a career-high 13 against Portland State. With the departure of Tank Carder, Cain, now a senior, will take on more of a leadership role for a Horned Frogs defense that returns just five starters.
Foltz is one of only two (center James Fry) returning starters on the offensive line for TCU. A first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection in 2011, Foltz is the most experienced offensive lineman with 15 career starts. Foltz will anchor an offensive line that’s hoping to replicate last season’s offensive production and protection. TCU finished 2011 ranked ninth in the nation in scoring offense (40.8 points per game), 19th in rushing (208.6 yards per game) and 28th in total offense (440.2 yards per game). The Horned Frogs also ranked fourth in the nation in third-down conversions (52 percent) and 15th in sacks allowed (1 per game).
Boyce returns to lead the receiving corps after earning first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors in 2011, the first TCU receiver to do so in its seven-year history in the MWC. Boyce has 20 career starts under his belt and came within two yards last season of posting just the second 1,000-yard receiving season in school history. He had a career game in the Horned Frogs’ upset victory at Boise State on Nov. 12 when he caught five passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns. He finished last season with 61 receptions and nine touchdowns, leaving him just shy of setting TCU single-season records in both categories. He has 15 career touchdown catches entering 2012 and needs just three more to become the Horned Frogs’ all-time leader.
With 25 career starts, Maponga is the most experienced player on TCU’s roster. The junior who was born in Zimbabwe was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection last season as he led TCU in sacks (nine), tackles for loss (13.5), forced fumbles (five) and fumble recoveries (two). He was one of four players in the nation to rank in the top 10 in forced fumbles and top 25 in sacks. Maponga’s experience, presence and big-play ability make the defensive line the most critical component to the Horned Frogs’ defense, especially as the unit prepares to take on the Big 12’s high-powered offenses.
All Pachall did in his first year as a starter in 2011 was supplant Andy Dalton, his predecessor who’s now starting in the NFL, in several places in the TCU record books, setting new single-season marks for completions (228), completion percentage (66.5) and yards passing (2,921). The second-team All-Mountain West Conference selection also finished 12th in the nation in passing efficiency and threw the second-most touchdown passes (25) in Horned Frogs history. Pachall posted career highs in both passing yards (473) and touchdowns (five) in the Horned Frogs’ 36-35 win over then No. 5-ranked and previously undefeated Boise State. The loss snapped the Broncos’ 35-game home winning streak, which had been the longest in the nation. The junior will get another chance to re-write the TCU history books this season as the Horned Frogs begin play as a member of the Big 12 Conference.
The TCU Horned Frogs check in at No. 22 in Athlon's college football 2012 top 25 countdown. Here's a look at our predictions for the most valuable players, games to watch, breakout candidates and other key categories for 2012.
The Horned Frogs are moving from the Mountain West to the Big 12 this year.
Athlon's College Football top 25 countdown for 2012 continues with No. 22 TCU. The Horned Frogs are on the move, making the switch from the Mountain West to the Big 12. TCU's offense is loaded, but a rebuilt defense and increased competition will determine just how high this team can climb in the top 25.
Receiver DeVante Parker should be in for a breakout campaign.
The Louisville Cardinals check in at No. 23 in Athlon's college football 2012 top 25 countdown. Here's a look at our predictions for the most valuable players, games to watch, breakout candidates and other key categories for 2012.
Can Charlie Strong's team finish unbeaten in Big East play in 2012?
Athlon's College Football top 25 countdown for 2012 continues with No. 23 Louisville. The Cardinals are a team on the rise under coach Charlie Strong and are Athlon's pick to win the Big East in 2012. Louisville has a promising core of young talent on defense and a rising star at quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater.
Chris Petersen looks to lead Boise State back to a BCS bowl in 2012.
Athlon's College Football top 25 countdown for 2012 continues with No. 24 Boise State. The Broncos are coming off a 12-1 record with a victory over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Boise State suffered a lot of personnel losses, but expect this program to remain a top 25 team.
D.J. Harper needs to stay healthy for Boise State to make a BCS bowl in 2012.
The Boise State Broncos check in at No. 24 in Athlon's college football 2012 top 25 countdown. Here's a look at our predictions for the most valuable players, games to watch, breakout candidates and other key categories for 2012.
Receiver Kasen Williams should be a breakout player in 2012.
The Washington Huskiescheck in at No. 25 in Athlon's college football 2012 top 25 countdown. Here's a look at our predictions for the most valuable players, games to watch, breakout candidates and other key categories for 2012.
Athlon's College Football top 25 countdown for 2012 begins with No. 25 Washington. The Huskies are coming off back-to-back seven-win seasons, but the program appears to be on the right track. Washington's defense is still a question mark, but the offense will be explosive.
There are few sure things in recruiting these days, but the No. 1 defensive back in the nation is as close as it comes. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound do-everything safety prospect originally committed to Cal, but switched when the Huskies lured Lupoi away from Tightwad Hill. Thompson has a Sean Taylor-esque size and speed combination which will allow new coordinator Justin Wilcox to use the uber-frosh in a variety of ways — close to the line in a hybrid outside backer position, a rangy, high point safety or man-up on bigger tight ends on the outside. And if that isn’t enough, there have been hints at potential snaps on offense, where Thompson got plenty of experience as a Wildcat quarterback at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, Calif. Simply put, this is a special football player that will likely haunt Cal fans for the next three years.
The big ugly from famed Celebrity High, Oaks Christian High School, enters his third season on campus as one of the more important offensive pieces to Coach Sark’s puzzle. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder played in 11 games — getting five starts — as a true freshman back in 2010 before starting all 13 games at right tackle last fall. Like Schaefer, Kohler missed some spring football dealing with an off-season staph infection. He worked with the second unit as both a center and guard, but should slide back to his comfortable slot at right tackle come this fall.
The fulcrum of the Washington offensive line for the last two seasons returns as one of the most experienced offensive players on the roster. After working his way into the starting line-up as a redshirt freshman by the end of 2009, the 6-foot-4, 287-pound center then started every game in 2010 and 2011. In fact, he played every snap of the season last fall, helping pave the way for Chris Polk for every game of his career. The in-state product has dealt with a minor knee issue this spring but expects to be right back over the ball where he belongs by fall camp.
The Fontana, Calif., defender has a chance to be one of the most dynamic players in the conference after a troubled and circuitous route — through jail — landed Shirley in Seattle. Originally signing with UCLA, the end/backer combo was dismissed from the Bruins after being arrested on suspicion of stealing a purse early in the summer of 2010. He signed with Washington in July, redshirted that fall, and played in all 13 games last season. As only a freshman, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound hybrid led the team in sacks with 8.5 and finished with 28 total tackles and 12 tackles for a loss. His speed up the field and overall versatility should make him all the more dangerous as a sophomore in 2012.
The big defensive end is looking to rebound in 2012 after a season-ending knee injury early in the Cal game cost him most of the 2011 season. Husky fans are hoping for the 6-foot-3, 256-pound Laie, Hawaii, lineman to return to his freshman form that earned him team Freshman of the Year honors. He posted 49 total tackles, eight tackles for a loss and three sacks back in 2010. He was on pace to top those numbers with 15 total tackles, three tackles for a loss and one sack in the first three games. Look for new defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi to work Jamora back into form following the injury.
It took only a few games early in Trufant's career for him to claim a starting spot on the Husky defense. He earned the Travis Spring Most Outstanding Freshman Award after nine starts and 47 total tackles. The honorable mention All-Pac-10 corner started all 13 games as a sophomore before returning to the all-conference team as a junior in 2011. The Tacoma, Wash., product set career highs in total tackles (64) and pass break-ups (14) as a junior and enters his final season in Seattle with his sights set on first-team All-Pac-12 honors.
Hailing from storied Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash., Williams came to Seattle as one of the most decorated prospects in recent memory. As a senior in high school, Williams became the first Evergreen State prospect to earn the Parade All-America National Player of the Year award. He was the No. 8 wide receiver in the nation, and once on campus, he didn’t disappoint. He posted 36 receptions for 427 yards and six trips to pay dirt while also acting as the team’s top punt returner. If the second half of his season is any indication — 24 rec., 330 yards, 4 TDs in the final six games — then the Huskies should have little trouble replacing the production of departed seniors Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar.
Parker signed with Washington out of Los Angeles as the No. 6 defensive back prospect in the nation and the No. 16 overall Pac-12 recruit in 2010. Touted as a future leader, he didn’t disappoint as a freshman, playing in nine games before missing the final four due to injury. He entered full-time starting duty as only a sophomore, and after a 91-tackle season, is the leading returning tackler for Washington. He also led the team with four interceptions. Undoubtedly, the new defensive coaches on Steve Sarkisian’s staff will be looking to the Husky Fever 12th Man Award winner for leadership and discipline in 2012.
Husky fans should be able to remember the last time they signed a superstar in-state sure-fire tight end prospect. His name was Kavario Middleton and he turned out to be anything but sure-fire. Seferian-Jenkins inked with Washington as the No. 3 tight end in the nation and the No. 3 overall Pac-12 recruit in 2011. And in one year, the 6-foot-6, 258-pound Fox Island native has proven his recruiting hype was completely justified. He started 10 of his 13 games and finished No. 2 in Washington true freshman history with 538 yards receiving. His efforts, which include 41 receptions and six touchdowns, earned him honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors a year ago and he enters only his sophomore year as a preseason first-team all-conference player.
In only one season as the starter, Price has already begun to cement his legacy as one of the top Husky signal callers in the long and storied history of Washington football. He still has lots of winning (and passing) to do to be compared with historic names like Hobert, Moon or Tuiasosopo, but in one short year, Price set single-season UW records for touchdown passes (33), completion percentage (66.9%) and passer efficiency (161.09). Additionally, his 3,063 yards were No. 2 all-time in school history and his 242 completions were third. After leading Washington to its first winning season since 2002, Price now enters his junior season with sights set much higher than the Alamo Bowl.