Spring Blitz: Runningbacks

With the Horned Frogs beginning spring ball on Feb. 25th we continue to get an early look at individual position battles and how each position we at HornedFrogBlitz.com feel will turn out. Up next, let's look at the stable of runningbacks the Frogs boast.

DEPTH CHART
1. Ed Wesley | 5-9, 200 | Redshirt senior
2. Matthew Tucker | 6-1, 218 | Senior
3. Waymon James | 5-8, 203 | Redshirt junior
4. Aundre Dean | 6-0, 215 | Redshirt senior
5. Benjamin Catalon | 5-8, 190 | Freshman

Team Stats (2011 season)
James | 121 carries, 875 yards, 6 TD
Wesley | 120 carries, 726 yards, 6 TD
Tucker | 123 carries, 702 yards, 12 TD
Dean | 31 carries, 130 yards, 0 TD

Unit Ranking: A

For any fan that watches a TCU football game, there's no denying that the Frogs' strength lies in their running game. As a unit the Frog backs combined for 208.62 yards per game, ranking them 19th in the nation in rush offense. And who can forget the 390-yard effort on the road at Wyoming that overwhelmed the Cowboy defense all day long? Wesley, Tucker and James all carried the ball over 120 times but it was James who led the squad with 875 yards, which included a season-high 181-yards against Wyoming. Wesley added 726 yards after missing three games and most of the opener against Baylor. Tucker amassed 720 yards while leading the team with 12 rushing scores. In limited duty Aundre Dean rushed for 130 yards on 30 carries. TCU is the only school that returns three 700-yard rushers for the 2012 season.

What to watch: The battle for #1

When you have a nucleus of Wesley, Tucker and James, you can't go wrong with any of them. But, each brings a different strength to the table. Wesley has shown that he has the ability to break tackle after tackle but he has shown to be somewhat injury prone. When Wesley has gone down in the past, it's opened the door for James, and has been very impressive. One could argue that James deserves to be the starter. Most Frog fans feel James should be getting more touches and why not, he averaged 7.2 yards per carry in 2011. James has also shown to be the most reliable receiver of the three, also hauling in 10 catches for 131 yards.

Will we see James get more reps this spring? It's never too early to start preparing for life after the loss of Wesley and Tucker next year.

Dean will have a good spring

For those of us that are lucky enough to watch TCU practices, we see a side of Dean that unfortunately isn't seen as much in games. Imagine the runs fans see late in games from Dean as the Frogs hold big leads and picture those same type of runs in practice. Now, Dean isn't superman every time he touches the ball, but he's the type of back that could very well be the starter at a number of programs around the country. Unfortunately for him, he has three excellent backs in front of him. What's bad news for him if excellent for the Frogs when you have a player of his caliber that sits fourth on the depth chart. Those who get to see him in the spring will be entertained with his runs, mark it down.

Watch for #23:

After watching clips of his highlights, it was very apparent the Frogs got the steal of the class in Houston Westside runningback B.J. Catalon. While everyone was commenting on Johnathan Gray and Trey Williams, Catalon was making a name of his own with 2,300 yards and over 30 scores. He comes to TCU as a prized recruit and all eyes will be watching to see how he progresses in the spring. Unfortunately for Catalon, he's at the position with the most depth but enrolling early and getting to experience his first spring camp will be a huge benefit for him heading into fall. If Patterson's comments about Catalon's speed are any indication, we could also see Catalon on special teams.

Mr. Versatility – Antonio Graves

Although it's not certain what position Graves will play, it's definitely certain that the coaches are trying to find a way to get him on the field. It could be runningback, receiver, safety or even linebacker. It will be interesting to see where Graves lines up on the first day in spring but the scuttlebutt is it could be at runningback and similar to the role Luke Shivers has played. At 6-foot-2, 222-pounds, Graves would be a nightmare for linebackers to cover coming out of the backfield. He's also big enough when the Frogs are in goal line situations. With Wesley, Tucker and Dean all exhausting the eligibility at the conclusion of the 2012 season, Graves move to runningback could make a lot of sense. Spring Predictions: - James will get the most reps and be #1 on the depth chart heading to fall camp - Dean will have people scratching their heads on why he doesn't play more - Graves will see action at RB and LB before spring is done

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