2014 Spring Blitz: Safeties

With TCU spring ball starting up in just over a week, the staff at HornedFrogBlitz.com continues to break down each unit leading up to day one.

SAFETY ROSTER
The Frogs safety unit might be the best overall unit on TCU's roster with plenty of experience and playmakers led by Sam Carter.
Player
HT
WT
Class
Sam Carter
6-1
220
Senior
Chris Hackett
6-2
200
Junior
Derrick Kindred
5-10
202
Junior
Kenny Iloka
6-2
215
Junior
Denzel Johnson
6-2
205
Sophomore
Geoff Hooker
5-10
180
Senior
Kolby Griffin
6-0
200
Junior
George Baltimore
6-2
205
RS Freshman
Steve Wesley
6-0
175
RS Freshman
Jermaine Antoine
5-11
195
RS Freshman

Returning Statistical Leaders
Tackles: Hackett; 88
INT: Carter; 5
PBU: Hackett; 5
TFL: Carter; 7.5 (4 sacks)

UNIT RANKING: A-

STRENGTHS: Experience, Depth
WEAKNESS: Consistency


Hackett is coming off a huge sophomore season
TCU fans have learned over the years that if Chad Glasgow is leading the safeties, they will be a strong point for the Frogs' defense. Elisha Olabode, who played in 47 games and started 22 in his four years, is the only safety TCU loses from 2013. Sam Carter, Chris Hackett and Derrick Kindred are ready to take over in 2014.

Carter and Hackett bring a lot of experience to the table in 2014, having started a combined 47 games for Gary Patterson's defense. Carter and Hackett are most likely to have two of the three safety spots nailed down, but the third spot is still uncertain. Derrick Kindred played in 12 games as a true freshman and played 12 games last year, getting four starts in the process. Junior college transfer Kenny Iloka was told from the beginning that he would get the chance to compete for a starting job in 2014. Iloka had an incredible season at Tyler JC totaling 126 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 8 pass breakups and an interception. Kindred and Iloka will most likely be battling for that third safety position, but whoever doesn't start will get plenty of time on the field.

Beyond those four safeties, Geoff Hooker and Denzel Johnson are solid backups that have seen the field plenty. George Baltimore is another player who I expect will get some playing time this season as a redshirt freshman.

With the loss of Jason Verrett, Big 12 opponents will see a bigger opportunity to attack the Frogs through the air. At times last season, the safeties had a tough time covering the quicker, slot receivers and the bigger tight ends. If Carter, Hackett and company and improve their coverage of inside receivers, I think that will improve the Frogs' defense tremendously.

Who wins the third starting position?

Kenny Iloka and Derrick Kindred both have the potential to excel in Patterson's 4-2-5 defense as starters, but it is not clear who will get the nod over the other. This battle will be one of the Spring's biggest stories, and it could still be unclear when the Frogs open the season against Samford.

Breakout player: Kenny Iloka


Iloka could be the breakout player
Kenny Iloka is a big hitter. Because he played in the 4-2-5 defense at Tyler JC, he has the ability to jump right in and not miss a beat at TCU. He is good in coverage and stopping the run. His size is also a plus. Iloka will turn some heads in 2014, whether he earns a starting role or not.

Keep an eye on: Denzel Johnson

Another thing to keep an eye on is the progression of Denzel Johnson. He played in every game on special teams as a true freshman, but he could make an impact at safety in 2014, especially if there are any injuries. Patterson really likes Johnson's game and he could give him significant time on the field outside of Special Teams.

Spring predictions
- Carter, Hackett and Iloka earn the starting positions
- Kindred impresses, pushing the three starters
- Johnson and Baltimore show they are ready to play


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