Graduation erodes at every position of a college football team...or at least at schools that actually make their players go to class. But no position was hit harder at TCU this year than safety, and maybe not another position in recent memory. Tejay Johnson, Colin Jones, Alex Ibiloye and Tyler Lutrell were all seniors last fall, and in addition Jurell Thompson has left the program.
The players listed above combined for 217 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 6 INT's, 24 passes defended and 8 forced fumbles in 2010. What's left behind for the spring practices that will start on Friday is a roster heavy on youth and light on experience.
Tekerrein Cuba, who will be a senior this fall, is far and away the most experienced safety on the roster- having started 5 games at weak safety in 2010 and ranking as the team's 5th-leading tackler. Johnny Fobbs, also a senior-to-be, spent last year as Tejay Johnson's backup at free safety. These two will probably enter spring practice pencilled in at the #1 slots at those positions.
Strong safety, though, as well as the #2 & #3 slots at the other safety positions are pretty much up in the air...at least as far as we can tell. Battling for those spots will be a stable of young and/or inexperienced players. We haven't seen much from junior Chris Scott or sophomore Trenton Thomas, but they are the only other safeties who've played in games. Three very athletic redshirt freshmen (Jonathan Anderson, Antonio Graves and Danny Heiss) figure to be in the mix. Then there are five true freshmen: James Bailey, Trevosky Garrett, Quincy Aldridge, Jamie Byrd and Chris Hackett- as well as JUCO transfer walk-on Chris Yeakey.
This is where you, the readers, come in. Safety will be THE position on defense to watch this spring, and by the end of it we should have a much better idea of what the rotation will look like in 2011. Until then, though, all we have is our ill-informed opinions. So who do you think will be the starters next year? Which younger guys will step up, and will any of them switch to corner or offense? Let's hear it in the comments section.