We’re taking a closer look this week at 10 Big 12 players who have been on the spot this spring. Some are coming back from injury or in the middle of a key position battle. Others have a lot to prove after their 2016 season did not meet expectations. For these guys, this offseason is a big deal.
Player on the spot: TCU WR KaVontae Turpin
Going into last season, Turpin looked as if he would be one of the top offensive players in the league after a sterling true freshman campaign in 2015.
Instead, he played in only eight games while battling injuries. And then to begin this spring, Turpin was away from the squad to work on academics.
But TCU coach Gary Patterson allowed Turpin to rejoin the Horned Frogs for the last few spring practices, which was a welcome sign for one of the Big 12's top playmakers in the open field.
"He’s earned his right to come back out here for a little bit, and he’s a welcome addition to this group," Patterson said recently, when revealing Turpin's return. "He just needs to keep doing what he’s supposed to do. We have standards here on and off the field."
The Horned Frogs need Turpin to meet those standards.
Turpin can be electrifying in space, and, if healthy, is a game-changer as a returner. He was still voted the team's special teams MVP for last season, despite being limited.
But Turpin can be far more than a special teams threat.
Two years ago, he had 45 receptions, 649 receiving yards and five touchdown catches while operating out of the slot. The Horned Frogs missed his big-play ability last season, as they were seventh in the league in pass plays of 20 or more yards -- one year after finishing second in the same category.
Turpin can help transform the Horned Frogs back into being one of the Big 12's most dynamic offenses. But first, he must stay healthy. And take care of business off the field.