Since last week, we’ve been examining the strongest and weakest positions for each team in the Big 12 going into the fall.
On Tuesday, we continue the series with TCU.
Add spring star Kenny Iloka and TCU could field the best group of safeties in the Big 12 this fall.
Hackett is one of the Big 12’s best safeties. He averaged 7.3 tackles per game while adding three forced fumbles and three interceptions as a sophomore. The Tyler, Texas, native is active and aggressive for Gary Patterson’s defense.
Carter joined Hackett as a second-team All-Big 12 performer in 2013 after recording a team-high five interceptions and adding four sacks. He brings 26 games of starting experience to TCU’s secondary as a senior.
Kindred worked his way into the lineup late last season, starting TCU’s final three games. He had 48 tackles, including 19 total stops in the three games he started.
Iloka joined the program in January and made an immediate impression during spring football. Even though the Horned Frogs return plenty of experience in the secondary, Iloka appears like he will carve himself a role in the defense during his first season in Fort Worth.
TCU’s combination of star power, quality depth and experience at safety is unmatched in the Big 12.
Weakest position: Offensive line
Getting its offensive line in order is one of the keys to TCU’s hopes of an offensive turnaround under new coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie.
Junior tackle Aviante Collins and center Joey Hunt provide a solid foundation, having started a combined 35 games at TCU. Collins has the ability to play right or left tackle but has plenty of room to improve and become more consistent. Hunt is on the Remington Award watch list after starting 11 games at center in 2013 and is likely the lone certain starter among the front five.
The overall depth and quality of TCU’s offensive line is on the rise particularly with the addition of February signees including junior college guard Frank Kee who could end up starting in the interior for the Horned Frogs. Additionally, tackle Tayo Fabuluje, tackle Joseph Noteboom, guard Bobby Thompson and tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai are battling for playing time and should help boost the overall depth and competitiveness among the offensive line.
TCU's offensive line isn't struggling to find talent, but the group as a whole needs to be much more productive and deeper than last year's group if the Horned Frogs hope to return to a bowl game.