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February 20, 2013

Spring Practice Position Preview: Running Back

The days are ticking down until TCU starts spring practice March 1, so we've decided to preview the Horned Frogs' position outlooks.

Trey assessed the quarterback position yesterday -- you can check that out through the link to the right. Today, I took a look at running back, a position that returns leading rusher B.J. Catalon, but lost seniors Matthew Tucker and Aundre Dean.

Fortunately, for TCU, starter Waymon James will be back after missing most of last season with a knee injury. Transfer Aaron Green also steps in the picture after sitting out a year. And, in August, signees Kyle Hicks and Trevorris Johnson will join the fold.

First, let's take a look at last year's production at the position.



2012 Recap

B.J. Catalon: 123 attempts, 582 yards, 4.7 yards per carry, 0 touchdowns.

Matthew Tucker: 118 attempts, 515 yards, 4.4 yards per carry, six touchdowns.

Aundre Dean: 63 attempts, 278 yards, 4.4 yards per carry, 0 touchdowns.

Waymon James: 17 attempts, 168 yards, 9.9 yards per carry, one touchdown.

Fresh Face

Aaron Green: Green was a four-star recruit out of San Antonio Madison in 2011. Ranked No. 61 overall, he originally signed with Nebraska and appeared in all 12 games as a true freshman before transferring to TCU last year. B.J. Catalon appears entrenched in a playing time role after a successful first year, and Waymon James will likely move back into the starting role after his ACL recovery, but Green has a huge opportunity in spring ball to show TCU coaches what he can do. He certainly was no slouch in high school, and, if anything, he should at least add to TCU's depth at the position. Signees Kyle Hicks and Trevorris Johnson were great pickups for the Frogs, but Green should be viewed as TCU's top running back recruit. And with Hicks and Johnson not being early enrollees, spring practice will be Green's opportunity to get a step ahead on the freshmen.

Things To Look For

Here are a few things I'll be keeping my eye on…

1)What has B.J. Catalon been working on? Catalon led TCU in rushing as a true freshman, burdening a huge load after James went out with an injury. Still, Catalon failed to rush for a touchdown, which really wasn't his fault - TCU often opted for Matthew Tucker in goal line situations. But with Tucker gone, one would think Catalon would have to step at least a little bit more into a scoring role. He made huge strides last January and February as an early enrollee. Patterson raved last spring about his strength. Has he made similar strides the past month? If he has, then he'll become an even more complete back, something TCU will need him to be, despite the return of James and the addition of others.

2) Will there be any newcomers to the position? TCU will be pretty thin at running back this spring. Aside from James, who is likely still recovering from injury, Catalon, Aaron Green and walk-on Leekus Green are the only running backs listed on the Frogs' current roster. Patterson has been known to switch guys around, flipping them from one side of the ball to the other, so it'll be interesting to see if he plugs a new face into running back, even if its temporarily.

The Bottom Line

As usual, TCU should be loaded at running back in 2013. James will be back, Catalon will be experienced and Aaron Green will have had a year and a half in the program. Throw Johnson and Hicks into the mix, and the unit should be both talented and deep. The problem is, we just won't see much of that this spring. Catalon and Aaron Green will be the main (and, really, only) guys to keep an eye on during practice, and there will be plenty to watch for there, but the real show won't begin until August.


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