Top-10 player spring update: TCU

This week, we continue breaking down the 10 best players at the moment on every team in the Big 12.

These lists won’t include junior college or freshman signees who haven’t arrived on campus yet. Rather, they will include only the players currently on their teams this spring. Some of these rankings might look different after the spring, but this is how we see them now.

Next up, the TCU Horned Frogs:

1. SS Sam Carter: Devonte Fields and Jason Verrett have overshadowed Carter the last two years, but Carter, a second-team All-Big 12 selection the last two seasons with 25 career starts, is an excellent safety and a keystone of the defense. He is sitting out the rest of spring ball with nagging injuries, but the Horned Frogs know what Carter can do.

2. DE Devonte Fields: Fields might be the biggest enigma of the entire league. He was dominant as a true freshman two years ago. Last season, he was basically a non-factor before suffering a season-ending foot injury. When at the top of his game, Fields can be as prolific as any defender in the conference. The reviews so far this spring have been positive, which is an encouraging sign that Fields will bounce back in 2014.

3. DT Chucky Hunter: Though TCU struggled last season, Hunter did not, taking over for Fields as the Horned Frogs’ primary force along the defensive line. Hunter is one of the three-best defensive tackles in the Big 12, if not the very best.

4. CB Kevin White: With Verrett gone, White takes over as TCU’s No. 1 cornerback, and should be up to the task. White was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection as a junior after finishing in the top 10 of the conference in pass breakups and interceptions. The Horned Frogs figure to be difficult to throw on again, and White will be a big a reason why.

5. FS Chris Hackett: Notice a trend here? Yes, TCU is going to be formidable in the defensive backfield yet again. Hackett has started the last two seasons and been stout coming up to help against the run, finishing 10th in the league last season in tackles. Hackett and Carter gives TCU the best safety combination in the league

6. QB Trevone Boykin: Boykin finished out last season at receiver, but so far this spring, he’s been sharp as the No. 1 quarterback in Doug Meacham’s and Sonny Cumbie’s new scheme. Boykin might be a better fit as a receiver, but if he’s the best option at quarterback, that’s where he’ll play.

7. RB B.J. Catalon: The only other offensive player on this list, Catalon has proven to be a solid all-around playmaker for the Horned Frogs. Catalon was second in the Big 12 in kickoff returns, and led TCU with 569 yards rushing and six touchdowns. Catalon will have help in the backfield with Aaron Green and Kyle Hicks, but he will start out as the primary option.

8. DT Davion Pierson: Pierson is an underrated complement to Hunter at tackle. The trio of Fields, Hunter and Pierson along the defensive line has the potential to be as good as any in the Big 12.

9. K Jaden Oberkrom: Oberkrom, who will wind up being a four-year starter barring injury over the next two seasons, gives TCU a huge advantage in field goals. He nailed a 56-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter that almost gave the Horned Frogs the win at Kansas State. That 56-yarder was the longest field goal in the Big 12 during the 2013 season.

10. LB Paul Dawson: Dawson stepped up into a starting role and stabilized the linebacker position last season. He led the Horned Frogs with 91 tackles and teamed with Marcus Mallet to give TCU a solid and reliable one-two punch at linebacker.