TCU’s Ben Banogu on facing Cal in Cheez-It Bowl: Defensive battles are always fun
The TCU football team might not have had the best 2018 season. The Frogs dealt with a number of injuries, but managed to win four of the final five games to post a winning season.
Part of that is thanks to NFL-caliber talent on the defensive side. Ends L.J. Collier and Ben Banogu were staples throughout the season, something that coach Gary Patterson pointed to as keeping the Frogs in most games.
Linebacker Ty Summers battled an ankle injury much of the season, but made an impact when healthy.
So it’s no surprise that Collier, Banogu and Summers have been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. The 2019 dates are Feb. 26-March 4.
Collier, who will play in the Senior Bowl later this month in Mobile, Alabama, is projected to be the top TCU talent in this year’s draft, shining in his first full season as a starter.
Collier had a career-high six sacks and 11 1/2 tackles for loss. He also had the most pass breakups (four) by a defensive lineman on the team. Collier shined in TCU’s 10-7 overtime victory over Cal in the Cheez-It Bowl, too, with two tackles for loss, including a sack.
Collier’s best game was an eight-tackle performance in TCU’s 14-13 victory over Kansas State.
Banogu, who has also been invited to the Senior Bowl, is looking to boost his stock. He’s set to work at linebacker in the Senior Bowl, and has displayed the athleticism and football instincts to make that transition.
Banogu has been a staple as a pass rusher for TCU since joining the program. He’s started all 27 games for the Frogs the past two seasons.
In 2018, Banogu led TCU with 18 tackles for loss, 8 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries (including one for a touchdown). He had 57 tackles on the year, including a career-best 10 in TCU’s 16-9 win over Baylor that earned him Big 12 defensive player of the week honors.
Summers, meanwhile, finished his college career with the second-most tackles (318) in the Patterson era. He had a frustrating senior season with an injury, but finished the season with 46 tackles, including 5 1/2 for loss and four sacks.
TCU could see more players get Combine invites as well. Linebacker Jawuan Johnson is training for his pro day and hoping to make an impression on NFL scouts this week at the College Gridiron Showcase in Fort Worth.