TCU coach Gary Patterson said safety Kenny Iloka is the only player among a group of six notable names who missed all or most of last season with injuries who has not gotten back to full speed in his rehabilitation work.
Iloka, listed in Tuesday’s depth chart as the backup to Nick Orr at weak safety, projects to play primarily on special teams in Saturday’s opener against South Dakota State as he continues to recover from a knee injury sustained while covering a kickoff in TCU’s second game last season. Iloka, who received a medical redshirt for the 2015 season, was a starter at the time of his injury.
“Kenny Iloka hasn’t got as far back as we want him to. Hopefully, some time during the season, he’ll get there,” Patterson said during Tuesday’s news conference.
Five other players coming off season-ending injuries are “back to 100 percent,” Patterson said. Three of the five are listed as starters: cornerback Ranthony Texada, receiver Ty Slanina and defensive end James McFarland. Linebacker Sammy Douglas and receiver Deante Gray are listed as backups but Patterson envisions them being significant contributors when No. 13 TCU meets South Dakota State in Amon G. Carter Stadium (7 p.m. FSN).
“All … of them will have an impact,” Patterson said. “Sammy Douglas really is full back. He will definitely give us depth at linebacker. Ranthony Texada is back full speed. And we’ve been very carful with Ty.”
Patterson said Slanina, who made 12 starts and caught 32 passes during the 2014 season, has not taken part in live drills during fall camp.