TCU football: 3 defensive players to watch in 2018

TCU’s defense is predicated around speed and a high football IQ, and there’s plenty of players ready to hit the spotlight for the Horned Frogs in 2018 that fit the role.

No, Nick Orr and Ranthony Texada won’t be patrolling the secondary anymore. And Travin Howard and Mat Boesen aren’t around to harass quarterbacks and stop the run. But TCU still has a talented bunch of returning starters — and, perhaps more importantly, a group of young stars in the making.

Here’s a look at three players on the defensive side of the ball that should make an impact for the Horned Frogs in 2018.

Brandon Bowen, defensive end

Bowen played in two games as a freshman in 2016 before suffering an injury, and didn’t play in 2017 after undergoing surgery. But the rangy defensive end has an undeniable ability to make plays. He was a 4-star recruit coming out of Byron Nelson High School. He’s so athletic that he was the Class 6A state champion as a high jumper his senior year, even though he’s listed at 6-foot-4 and weighs 235 pounds. Look for him to replace Boesen as TCU’s next pass-rushing star, especially if he can put a little more weight on.

Atanza Vongor, safety

In addition to having an awesome name, Vongor can really play. The 4-star freshman is hard-hitting and, at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, a little bit bigger than former safety Orr, who played at 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds. If Vongor can adapt to Gary Patterson’s famously complex 4-2-5 defense and show some of the same speed Orr did, he should see plenty of the field early in his career. He might not start — Innis Gaines looks like a likely candidate to take Orr’s spot — but Vongor will have an impact as a freshman.

Montrel Wilson, linebacker

TCU fans might feel like Wilson’s been around for a while. And he has — this will technically be his fourth year with the Frogs. But it’s been so long that he’s played a full season that he’s ready for another breakout year.

Wilson has been limited by injuries in his last two seasons, but when he’s healthy, he’s TCU’s best option remaining at linebacker. As a freshman, he racked up 60 total tackles and had two sacks. He only played one game in 2016 before taking a medical redshirt, and played seven in 2017 before suffering another injury. But as a junior, he’s ready to fill one of the holes left by Howard and Douglas. Ty Summers will most likely take the other spot, and Arico Evans could push for a starting role, but expect the junior Wilson to become the Frogs’ next stalwart in the middle of the defense.

The post TCU football: 3 defensive players to watch in 2018 appeared first on Diehards.

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