TCU Horned Frogs’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Bud Clark, Josh Hoover

    Sonny Dykes and the TCU Horned Frogs look to bounce back in 2024, and the top 10 returning players put them in good shape to make it happen.

    It seems like ages since the TCU Horned Frogs made it to the College Football Playoff, but that was just two years ago. An expected step back turned into a considerable reverse leap, and now they’re looking to get back to the Big 12 Championship Game.

    From the current roster to transfer portal additions, TCU’s top 10 returning players for Sonny Dykes’ squad make it likely that we see a much better Horned Frogs team this year.

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    TCU Horned Frogs’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal era. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes on each team’s roster page to open spring camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.

    10) LaMareon James, CB

    Sometimes, it’s about capitalizing on your opportunities, and no one understood that more than LaMareon James. A first-team College Football Network All-Sun Belt selection, the former Monarch was a highlight on an Old Dominion defense that struggled to stop the pass last year.

    He comes to Fort Worth with 86 tackles, 10 passes defended, and two interceptions in his career and joins a secondary with plenty of talent returning in 2024. The new TCU talent also bolsters the Horned Frogs’ special teams unit as a potent return man.

    9) Trey Sanders, RB

    What will the Horned Frogs’ rushing attack look like this year? Will they be able to replace Emani Bailey? The returning running backs don’t have the experience that would calm a fanbase, but they have the talent. Trey Sanders has played college football for a while, but we’re still waiting to see him play a full season.

    At 6’0″ and 215 pounds, he has the size and power to handle life in the trenches, but injuries have limited him over the past four seasons. With the quarterback situation set (for now), the passing attack should be fine. If Sanders can emerge as the go-to guy, the offense will be explosive.

    8) Drake Dabney, TE

    Jared Wiley proved to be a huge target for the Horned Frogs over the years, and not just because of his frame. With his departure to the NFL, the offense needed to find someone who could potentially fill his shoes. They didn’t have to look far, as they snagged former Baylor Bears tight end Drake Dabney out of the transfer portal.

    At 6’5″ and 248 pounds, Dabney gives the offense another big target at tight end, and he’s ready to join an offense that can get him more opportunities to make plays. He produced his best season in 2023 with 552 yards on just 33 catches, and he could beat those numbers this year.

    7) Eric McAlister, WR

    Boise State had quite an interesting year in 2023, and the passing attack took multiple hits due to injuries. Fortunately, they had Eric McAlister, but a good year for the junior led him to enter the transfer portal. TCU head coach Dykes didn’t waste any time bringing him to Fort Worth, adding to a potentially lethal Horned Frogs’ passing attack.

    McAlister averaged 23.5 yards per catch in 2022 on just 11 catches, and last year, he was able to stretch that into a full season. He caught 47 passes for 873 yards and five touchdowns, giving the Horned Frogs offense a dangerous vertical threat.

    6) Devean Deal, LB

    Dykes and his staff aren’t strangers to the transfer portal. Despite watching talent depart, they’ve done a great job reloading at certain positions and adding depth at others. With their defense losing a couple of big names, they knew exactly what they needed this offseason.

    MORE: 2024 Big 12 Wide Receiver Rankings

    Devean Deal stood out on a defense loaded with talent at Tulane. He broke out with 13 tackles for loss and four sacks last year and now hopes to do something similar with his new team. He’s an explosive player on the edge, and getting to the quarterback should help the Horned Frogs immensely this year.

    5) Savion Williams, WR

    It was probably unfair to think anyone could replace Quentin Johnston and his production for this offense, but Savion Williams still got put in that box. To be fair, Williams showed flashes of what Johnston did for the Horned Frogs, and last year was his first in a more prominent role.

    Now that he understands what’s asked of him, Williams should feel more comfortable in his new role. Throw in that there’s still plenty of depth and competition around him, and we could see him elevate his game. He led the team with 573 yards last year, and more consistency from the quarterback position could help him improve those numbers.

    4) Josh Hoover, QB

    Dykes’ quarterback situation has been up in the air for the past few years, so you can excuse Horned Frogs fans if they have some hesitancy when it comes to the preseason starter. Max Duggan and Chandler Morris held the role at times the last two years, but now it’s Josh Hoover’s turn.

    Hoover took over for Morris last year and finished the year with 2,205 yards and 15 touchdowns in his 10 games of experience. With the weapons he has returning around him, 2024 has the potential to be a big year for this group. If he can improve upon the nine interceptions he threw last year, watch out.

    3) Damonic Williams, NT

    If you look purely at box scores and see that Damonic Williams has just 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in his career, you might think he’s not an elite player. However, eye-popping production isn’t in the nature of the position.

    Williams, on film, can eat up double teams, but he’s also good at getting into the opposing team’s backfield to disrupt a play. The Horned Frogs defense took a step back in disruptive plays last year, but their nose tackle is back to correct that regression.

    2) Namdi Obiazor, LB

    While the Horned Frogs don’t have the best defense in the country, they do return key players that can help them improve from last year. They finished 103rd in total defense in 2023, but guys like Namdi Obiazor can lead the charge towards a better season.

    He led the team in tackles while adding six tackles for loss and four sacks on his way to a College Football Network second-team All-Big 12 selection. If he, like Williams above, can be more disruptive, this defense will improve substantially.

    1) Bud Clark, S

    If the defense needs a play, they turn to Bud Clark. All this kid has done for the past two years is make plays for the Horned Frogs. He hasn’t received the attention he deserves, but that should change heading into this year.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Big 12 Power Rankings

    Clark picked off eight passes in the past two seasons, including a huge interception against an alleged top quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft during the 2022-23 College Football Playoff. Through multiple departures over the same period, Clark remains a consistent player for this team, which is huge with the front seven going through some significant changes too.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!


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