The player for TCU that wants to take pressure off of Jalen Reagor, exploit 1-on-1s

TCU WR TreVontae Hights shines in opener

TCU WR TreVontae Hights had a career night in the 2019 opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Hights topped the 100-yard mark for the first time in a game.
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TCU WR TreVontae Hights had a career night in the 2019 opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Hights topped the 100-yard mark for the first time in a game.

TCU coach Gary Patterson feels his best seasons come when a number of relatively unknown veteran players step up. They transition from a nobody to a somebody.

Maybe fifth-year senior TreVontae Hights follows that formula this season. The early signs were promising in the season-opening 39-7 victory over Arkansas- Pine Bluff on Saturday.

Hights finished the game with a team-leading eight catches for 108 yards on 10 targets. This is a guy who entered the season with six career catches and had yet to have a 100-yard receiving game in his college career.

With opposing defenses expected to put most of their attention on TCU standouts such as Jalen Reagor and Taye Barber, Hights knows he’ll have an opportunity for a breakout season.

“You know Reag’s going to get a lot of attention, Taye’s going to get a lot of attention, so it’s up to me to take advantage of the one-on-ones,” said Hights, a three-star prospect coming out of Yoakum High School.

“I’ve got to give the quarterback some breathing room and take some pressure off Reagor too.”

Hights has flashed early on in seasons before. He had a 56-yard touchdown reception against Jackson State in the 2017 opener, and had a 57-yard TD against Southern in the 2018 opener. He also had a 51-yard TD against Ohio State last season.

But the next step is staying healthy and productive to have sustained success the entire season.

“I feel like the opportunity is definitely there,” Hights said. “I’ve just got to take advantage of it.”

Hights almost made it a three-peat for 50-plus yard TD receptions in openers against UAPB. He caught a deep post route midway through the first quarter, and sprinted toward the end zone.

At the UAPB 5, though, Hights fumbled the ball away trying to breakaway from defenders. If he would’ve scored, it would’ve been a 52-yard TD.

“Aside from the fumble and another play, a little hitch route I should’ve got up the field, I feel I executed really well,” Hights said.

Hights then smiled and said: “A 100-yard game? I didn’t know I had 100 yards. I didn’t know the fumble play counted to be honest.”

Outside of the fumble, Hights couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. He was the Frogs’ most sure-handed receiver on the night. Quarterback Alex Delton and Hights completed TCU’s first pass play of the season for 2 yards.

True freshman Max Duggan went to Hights to convert a third-and-7, connecting for a 15-yard gain in the second quarter. Duggan went right back to Hights the next play for a 7-yard gain in that series.

Hights had good things to say about each quarterback.

“To me, they have pretty similar styles,” Hights said. “Delton, on the run, he can make some plays, get outside the pocket and make some plays.

“Max … I don’t see him as a freshman. He’s real composed as a freshman. He’s out there throwing balls like he’s a junior or senior.”

Each used Hights as a security blanket on the night, to say the least.

Hights continued to be a special teams ace, too, with two tackles on kickoff return. He had three for the night, as he got credit for a tackle following his fumble.

On the opening kickoff, Hights made a nice play on the returner, forcing UAPB to start on its own 12. After TCU had taken a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter, Hights had another tackle on kickoff return that forced UAPB to start on its own 21.

That builds off last season when Hights tied for third on the team with four tackles on special teams. He had five tackles on special teams in 2017.

All in all, it came as no surprise when TCU named Hights as the player with the “FrogFactor” in the season-opening victory.

As the team posted to its Twitter account, “Senior @Trehights racked up a career high in receiving yards and supplied the hits on special teams!”

TCU’s next game is at Purdue on Sept. 14.

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