TCU’s Demercado: I’m ready to go if I have to go
But don’t forget about junior Emari Demercado, who is just as valuable to TCU’s success this season as Anderson and Olonilua.
As coach Gary Patterson said, “He plays all of our special teams. He’s our off-returner. He’s on punt team. He runs down kickoffs. He’s about as valuable as anybody we have on the team to be honest with you.”
Demercado is durable, too, as he played in every game and had a significant role late in the season to help TCU become bowl eligible last year.
He was the last running back standing in the Baylor game, rushing for a career-best 60 yards on 15 carries in TCU’s 16-9 victory. He then started in the regular-season finale against Oklahoma State, and got plenty of action in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Demercado finished his first season with the Frogs by rushing for 224 yards on 57 carries (3.9 yards per carry). He also had five receptions.
This all coming from a guy who was lightly recruited out of Downey [California] High School, who spent his freshman season at a JUCO school, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California.
He might not be a household name among TCU fans yet, but he’s certainly not a forgotten man by TCU’s staff. Instead, he’s one of the team’s unsung heroes.
Asked about the running back corps earlier this month, co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie made it a point to mention Demercado.
“Our running backs are really talented,” Cumbie said. “Emari Demercado came on late last year and had a really good spring. He’s a guy who not many people talk about, but he’s a key to that equation.”
Especially because TCU could rely on its running game often this season.
The Frogs ranked seventh among Big 12 schools in rushing offense last season, averaging 156.6 yards a game, but would like to see that improve behind a solid offensive line and talented backs such as Anderson, Olonilua and Demercado.
TCU’s best seasons since joining the Big 12 came when the program averaged at least 200 yards rushing (2014 with 206.8 yards and 2015 with 215.4 yards).
“You can’t turn a blind eye to the running game,” Cumbie said. “When you’re trying to sift through a little bit who the quarterback is going to be, who do you lean on and who are the most experienced and better players you have on your offense? I think you probably try to lean on those guys early on until the quarterback situation comes stable.”