Historically, defensive back has not been an area of strength for TCU, but certainly the last ten years or so has exhibited some of the best cornerback play in the school’s history. Most pre-WWII, two-way “halfbacks” have been included here.
1 – Quincy Butler (’06): Hard-hitting and ball-hawking, this junior-college transfer absolutely shut down opponents’ deep threats, teaming with Drew Coleman on the other side on TCU’s first MWC champion in 2005. He was a first-team All-MWC that year. He’s best remembered for his dazzling, 99-yard interception return against Southern Miss in ‘04. Boy, he was good. He had 109 tackles and seven picks in just 20 starts!
2 -- Rafael Priest (’10): It’s hard to put him second to anyone. You could watch an entire game with Priest at CB and never hear his name mentioned once. Why? Quarterbacks hardly ever threw in his direction. For four years. That’s respect. He was a three-time, All-MWC pick, of course, and a Sporting News third-team All-American. He started 50 games (47 straight) in his career with five interceptions.
3 -- Lindy Berry (’50): The last great quarterback/defensive back for the Horned Frogs, Berry held a handful of defensive records when he graduated. Twice All-SWC (1948-1949), he tallied eight interceptions for a whopping 185 return yards. As a freshman DB, he led the 1-5-1 Frogs to a shocking, 14-0 upset of No. 6 Texas. However, the 1949 All-American from Wichita Falls is probably best known on defense for his famous goal-line interception against the No. 13 Longhorns to preserve a 14-13 upset victory in the ‘49 game.
4 -- Ron Fraley (’54): An All-SWC pick as a junior in 1952 on Hall-of-Fame Coach Dutch Meyer’s last team, he holds TCU records for interceptions in a game (three, tied), season (eight, tied) and career (18). He also led the Frogs in receiving with 15 catches for 209 yards in 1951 as a sophomore. The Frogs won the SWC that year, too.
5 -- Nick Sanders (’10): A four-year starter along with Priest, they provided a prolonged, one-two punch of excellence unequalled in the school’s history. He was an honorable-mention Freshman All-American and two times All-MWC (first team in ’09). He started 42 consecutive games during his four years, highlighted by a two-pick effort against No. 9 BYU in 2008, ending BYU’s 16-game win streak in a 32-7 win. He had six in his career.
6 -- Drew Coleman (’06): Like Butler, a juco transfer, he was second-team All-MWC as a senior, capped off by a stellar performance in the ’05 Houston Bowl. The duo combined to have one of the best seasons a pair of TCU CBs ever had in 2005. He finished with 49 tackles and five interceptions, four in ’05, in just 15 starts. Joined Butler in the NFL and became a longtime New York Jet.
7 – Tony Rand (’93): All-SWC and team MVP in 1992, Rand had a knack for making game-changing plays. His blocked punt recovered for a TD helped upset No. 21 Arkansas in 1990 (he also had an interception in that game). And he sealed a 23-14 upset over No. 20 Texas with a fourth-quarter, 58-yard interception in ’92, ending Texas’ 24-game winning streak over the Frogs. No. 1 also held the TCU record (until broken by Tank Carder) with two interception returns for touchdowns. He finished his career with 191 tackles and eight picks.
8 -- Sean Thomas (’85): It seemed like every time TCU needed a big defensive play, Thomas provided it, highjacking a school-record-tying eight passes for the “unbelieeeeevable” 1984 team. He had fourth-quarter, game-icing picks against both Baylor and Houston that season. Rightfully so, he was named All-Southwest Conference.
9 -- Jason Teague (’11): It has become very apparent how good he was now that it is no longer 2010. A two-year starter on two undefeated regular-season teams, he was a second-team All-Mountain West selection in 2010. The Frogs led the nation in pass defense his senior year. Fabulous in one-on-one coverage, he could give a lick, too.
10 -- Davey O’Brien (’39): Tallied 16 interceptions in his amazing, College Football Hall-of-Fame career. He played nearly every down on the ’38 national champs – running, passing, kicking, punting, returning kicks and, oh yeah, defending (although he played safety primarily). He played all but 14 minutes in 1937! Twice an All-American and All-SWC, his No. 8 joins Baugh’s 45 as TCU’s only two retired numbers.
Honorable Mention – Gene Hernandez (’75), Jason Goss (’03), Mark Walker (’05), Larry Brown (’91), Greg Walls (’01)