TCU spring football: QBs Max Duggan, Alex Delton, Justin Rogers
TCU couldn’t stay healthy last season.
Gary Patterson and the coaching staff emptied their notebooks in getting the team bowl eligible.
The Frogs used four quarterbacks after their top two (Shawn Robinson and Mike Collins) were injured. Garret Wallow, in the midst of a solid season at linebacker, switched to safety in the middle of the season to help a depleted secondary. And the list goes on.
Now it’s on to 2019 with Big 12 Media Days starting Monday at AT&T Stadium. Patterson, along with five players, will address a number of questions going into the season.
Here’s five burning questions facing the Frogs heading into 2019:
How’s the quarterback competition shaping up?
Patterson has mentioned multiple times this off-season that he feels better about the quarterback situation going into this season compared to last. It’s hard to envision a scenario where the Frogs could be worse off considering the four QBs combined for just 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season.
K-State graduate transfer Alex Delton appears to be the favorite to open the season as the starter. He impressed in spring practices and has the most experience.
But he’ll be pushed by true freshman Max Duggan, who has made favorable impressions early on, and redshirt freshman Justin Rogers, who continues to make progress from a severe knee injury.
Collins also returns and flashed potential at times last season.
Ohio State transfer Matthew Baldwin could be a candidate, too, but he has yet to file for an immediate eligibility waiver as the NCAA recently adjusted its rules to make it more difficult for players to receive.
At the end of the day, the competition will be dwindled to two at some point in fall camp and a starter would be named by the Aug. 31 opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
What’s the status of running back Sewo Olonilua?
TCU running back Sewo Olonilua finds himself in legal trouble and his status remains uncertain for now.
Olonilua faces a third-degree felony charge for possession of a controlled substance weighing more than or equal to 1 gram and less than 4 grams, as well as a misdemeanor charge for possession of drug paraphernalia, in Walker County, Texas.
This is a complex situation considering the overarching societal stance on marijuana with a number of states legalizing it and/or decriminalizing it. But Texas is not one of those states and a felony charge is a felony charge.
If Olonilua is able to get those charges reduced, TCU officials may have more leniency in potential discipline. Time will tell in how this plays out in the coming weeks.
If cleared, Olonilua has potential to be a significant part of the offense once again. He led the team with 635 yards rushing last year, and earned offensive MVP honors in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Is Jalen Reagor ready for a bigger season?
As stated, TCU struggled at the quarterback position much of last season. But that didn’t stop receiver Jalen Reagor from having a sensational sophomore year.
He finished with a team-leading 72 receptions for 1,061 yards receiving with nine touchdowns. Of his 72 catches, 44 went for either a first down or TD. He also had 170 yards rushing and two TDs.
Now the question is how much better will Reagor be in 2019? He’s projected as a first-round talent for next year’s NFL Draft, and a strong junior season will solidify that.
Defenses will surely design schemes to contain Reagor even more this season, and it’ll be interesting to see how co-offensive coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Curtis Luper design plays to ensure Reagor remains a threat.
Who replaces NFL Draft picks L.J. Collier and Ben Banogu?
Patterson has a long history of grooming top defensive ends over the years.
Those are two big holes to fill for the Frogs, but Patterson has been high on redshirt freshman Ochaun Mathis. Mathis got game experience last season by playing in four games, keeping his redshirt status in tact.
Mathis is listed at the top of the depth chart at left end with South Carolina grad transfer Shameik Blackshear at right end. Blackshear registered just one sack in 17 career games with South Carolina, but the hope is he develops and emerges in Patterson’s system.
TCU brought in other talented pass rushers, as well, in guys such as Adam Plant Jr. and Parker Workman.
Replacing two NFL talents is never easy, but TCU has a track record of success in doing so.
How will players such as Ross Blacklock and Innis Gaines respond from injury-plagued seasons?
Much of TCU’s issues from last season stemmed from the uncharacteristic number of injuries the team sustained. Almost half of the 85-man scholarship roster missed significant time with injuries.
That included defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, who was out all season with an Achilles injury, and safety Innis Gaines, who was in the midst of a stellar season before being injured six games into it.
Blacklock and Gaines return this season and should be impact players, along with other injured regulars such as left guard Cordel Iwuagwu and linebacker Montrel Wilson.