Who to watch: TCU

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    After a 4-8 record in the 2013 season, TCU will begin their 2014 campaign eager to make amends for what many considered a lackluster season a year ago. Here are three players to watch as they look to make a big impact in the season opener against Samford on Saturday night.

    Trevone Boykin, Junior, Quarterback

    The scapegoat of a 2013 Horned Frogs offense that never seemed to click, Trevone Boykin has taken the criticism in stride, and worked hard during the offseason. With the arrival of transfer Matt Joeckel from Texas A&M last spring, many assumed Boykin would fall in the depth chart, and likely see more time at wide receiver as opposed to quarterback. This preseason has proven that Boykin isn’t prepared to simply take a back seat to the graduate transfer. Boykin and Joeckel have produced one of the most intriguing position battles of the preseason.

    Coach Gary Patterson has suggested that both Joeckel and Boykin will play against Samford, and has not revealed who will get the nod as the starter. Boykin’s versatility only serves to benefit new offensive coordinator Doug Meacham. Combine his athleticsim with his experience in the program, and Boykin seems primed to start this season over Joeckel. Look for Boykin to make a statement, at quarterback, on Saturday night.

    Paul Dawson, Linebacker, Junior

    Devonte Fields’s dismissal from the program this summer has left many TCU fans wondering who will step forward and lead the defense in 2014. Look no further than junior linebacker Paul Dawson, who led the Horned Frogs with 91 tackles in 2013. Dawson starts the 2014 season on the shortlist to win the Butkus Award, given to the nations best college linebacker. Dawson ranked eighth in the Big 12 with 7.6 tackles per game in 2013, playing in all 12 games and starting in 7 of them. Gary Patterson’s defense has been TCU’s biggest asset in recent years. Despite the loss of a standout like Fields, expect the same defensive intensity and excellence in 2014 from emerging leaders such as Paul Dawson.

    Ranthony Texada, Cornerback, RS Freshman

    Losing an All American starter on defense would be detrimental to any college football program, and TCU is no exception. Jason Verrett served as a defensive stalwart for the last 3 seasons, and TCU fans grew accustomed to watching him shut down the opposition’s passing game. Redshirt freshman Ranthony Texada has big shoes to fill in 2014, as he will be replacing Verrett at the corner position. Texada was ranked the fifth best cornerback in the state of Texas out of high school, so the expectations for the redshirt freshman are sky high. Since he arrived at TCU last August, Texada has impressed with how quickly he has adjusted to the college game. Kevin White, the senior corner opposite Texada in the starting lineup, has experience and prior Big 12 competition on his side. Look for White and Texada to form a formidable pairing for TCU this season.