Kenny Cain and Ross Forrest sat on the TCU bench Saturday night against Grambling State, the numbers on their jerseys lined up the same way they were three years ago in the Horned Frogs’ old locker room.
“I was locker No. 51, and he was locker No. 52," said Cain, a starting linebacker on the TCU defense. "Ross Forrest was one of my first friends when I walked in. He used to give me stuff every day. Every time I got in the shower I got out, and he used to take my clothes.”
Forrest, a senior defensive end, will likely miss the rest of the season after injuring his knee early in Saturday night’s game, coach Gary Patterson said Tuesday. Forrest had been nursing the same injury most of August.
“We tried to get his knee back, he just never got to that point,” Patterson said.
Forrest suffered a season-ending injury in the 2009 opener at Virginia and received a medical redshirt. Now, with that option unavailable, Forrest's TCU career is likely over.
Hearing that was “very sad,” Cain said.
“If you watch the game, I sat with him the whole time once I found out,” Cain said. “Ross and I, we’re friends. It’s not an act.”
Cain and Forrest both come from football factories.
Forrest played at Odessa Permian, the West Texas school made famous in the book and movie, and Cain was a star running back and linebacker at John Curtis Christian, the perennially nationally-ranked private school just outside New Orleans.
Forrest walked on to TCU in 2008, found playing time as a true freshman then earned a scholarship after the season. Cain, a year younger than Forrest, was a three-star recruit out of high school but, at 200 pounds, was probably built more for running back.
Both have made an impact the past two seasons on the Frogs’ defense .
Cain led the team in tackles, and Forrest made eight starts, his biggest play perhaps coming at Boise State when he recovered a fumble late in the game that set up the TCU offense for the eventual game-winning drive.
Between the two, a friendship has grown, Cain said.
“We call each other every day,” Cain said. “We text each other, have fun, go out to eat and everything. I know his girlfriend, he knows mine.”
With Forrest likely gone, the Frogs have now lost five potential returning starters on defense since last season.
Linebacker Tanner Brock, defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey and safety Devin Johnson left the team in February, and Deryck Gildon, who likely would have replaced Brock, left in May.
But even with him on the sideline, Forrest’s presence in the program won’t be changing, Cain said.
“When we’re in, when I’m in, he’s going to be the guy getting them all riled up,” Cain said. “Ross is going to lead whether he’s on the field or off the field.”
Dawson will likely return punts, Patterson said
Senior receiver Skye Dawson will likely start at punt returner one week after serving a single-game suspension, Patterson said Tuesday.
True freshman Deante' Gray returned punts last week against Grambling State, setting a school record with 160 return yards on five attempts.
Dawson's suspension resulted from an "institutional policy and football policy" issue, Patterson said.