TCU football projects to have one of the best defenses in the country over the next three seasons, according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
The Horned Frogs were No. 14 overall in ESPN’s future defense rankings, which attempt to rank teams according to how good they will be on defense for the next three seasons (2018-2020). One of the reasons for optimism regarding TCU’s defense is the talent the Frogs have along the line of scrimmage.
From ESPN Insider:
The Big 12’s stingiest defense last season (19 PPG allowed) loses key pieces like Mat Boesen and Travin Howard but returns a nice core and a coach, Gary Patterson, whose schematic expertise is respected around the country. The line should be the unit’s strength, at least in the short term, as end Ben Banogu (8.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles) passed up the NFL draft to return. Tackles Ross Blacklock and Corey Bethley showed great promise in 2017 and are both only sophomores. “They were really good up front,” a Big 12 coach said. “They’ve got real, real guys on the inside. And they’re so well-coached.”
In addition to Banogu, Blacklock and Bethley, the Frogs also get back former 4-star defensive end Brandon Bowen this year. Bowen missed the 2017 season with a shoulder injury, but has three years of eligibility remaining. In the secondary, TCU signed 4-star safety Atanza Vongor in December.
Patterson is well regarded for his defensive prowess around the Big 12 and across the country. The only Big 12 team ranked ahead of TCU in the ESPN rankings was Texas at No. 10. If the Frogs put together another solid season in 2018 and keep recruiting well on that side of the ball, they could rise up in the rankings even more.