TCU will be tasked with replacing former running back B.J. Catalon in 2015 after he decided to forgo his senior season following a string of injuries that forced him to miss the final five games of the 2014 season. Catalon lead the Horned Frogs with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Despite Catalon’s departure, the Frogs still have plenty of talent in the backfield.
Headlining what could be TCU’s deepest positional group is senior Aaron Green. Green, who saw an increase in touches after Catalon went down, lead the team with 922 rush yards. Perhaps more impressively, Green averaged 7.1 yards per carry and totaled four 100-yard games despite sharing the ball with Catalon early in the season.
Heading into the 2015 season, Green has been named to the preseason watch list for both the Doak Walker award and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
When asked about his running backs, Gary Patterson was quick to talk about Green’s character and leadership off the field.
"He's a better person than I am," Patterson said. "Aaron Green's one of our strongest FCA - I mean he's unbelievable."
The potential for impact runners does not stop with Green. Patterson has said “All four [running backs] are ones.”
Hicks, a sophomore from Arlington, is a former four-star recruit. He totaled 278 all-purpose yards while appearing in all 13 games for the 2014 Horned Frogs. At the time of his commitment, Hicks held offers from Texas, Baylor, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Michigan. He eventually flipped his commitment from Texas to TCU.
Johnson averaged 5.7 yards per carry in 2014 while rushing for 302 yards and four touchdowns. The redshirt-sophomore wowed fans with his physical style including a vicious stiff arm during the Peach Bowl victory. At 5-feet 11-inches and 221 pounds, Johnson is TCU’s biggest back.
Nixon is another former four-star recruit in the Frogs’ backfield. The Austin, Texas native was forced to receive a medical redshirt before the 2014 season after suffering a knee injury in fall camp. He was a key recruit in the 2014 recruiting class after flipping his commitment from Texas A&M just before signing day.
“He was looking great,” Patterson had said at the time of the injury. “Sometimes things happen for a reason.”
Patterson has expressed the importance of depth at a position like running back as the 2015 season draws near. Horned Frog fans witnessed that depth first hand when Catalon’s 2014 campaign was cut short.
“Usually every time we do everybody says we have too many," Patterson said. "And by about the fourth game we’re on our third one.”