This year, thanks to the hiring of new offensive coordinators Sonnie Cumbie and Doug Meacham, TCU’s running backs will have a more versatile role. The backs will still be seen in the backfield, but they will frequently line up or motion to the slot receiver position and run passing routes, or have designated screen passes come their way. This will better utilize the immense athletic ability that TCU’s running backs feature and contribute to the overall success of the offense.
Running Back: #23 B.J. Catalon
Coming off of a breakout season in 2013, B.J. Catalon will be the Frogs primary ball carrier for the upcoming year. He took over this roll late last year after the team dismissed senior Waymon James. Catalon’s best performance of the season came in the team’s last game against Baylor when he rushed for 93 yards on just 11 carries. His impact as a kick returner was felt all year, especially in the first game of the season against LSU when he had a 100 yard kick return touchdown. He finished the year averaging 26.5 yards per return, which ranked him 16th nationally and second in the Big 12. His versatility as a kick returner, running back and receiver will be evident this year, and Catalon will be a great weapon for the offense.
Running Back: #22 Aaron Green
Green‘s second year at TCU after transferring from Nebraska will be an important one. Last year, Green played sparingly because of a crowded backfield. He totaled 232 yards, with an average of 3.22 yards per carry. Green, a five-star recruit out of high school, will look to have a more productive 2014 season. The new offense should spread out the field, which will greatly benefit Green. The open field will allow him to display his athleticism, which was hard to do in last year’s offense. He was one of the most prized recruits back in 2011, and if he can return to the level of production that he featured back in high school, Green could be the MVP of the offense.
Running Back: #21 Kyle Hicks
When a four-star running back recruit flipped his commitment from Texas to TCU back in 2012, many Frog fans rejoiced that TCU stole a talented player from the Longhorns. Now, these fans will be able to see this talented player exhibit his skills for the Frogs. Hicks, a first-year redshirt, saw his first collegiate action against Samford when he had nine rushes for 33 yards. He will see a lot of playing time this year as a running back, as well as kick returner along with Catalon. Hicks may be the best pure runner that TCU has in the backfield. If he is able to show this ability early on this season, he could rise to the number two spot on the depth chart above Green.
Running Back: #24 Trevorris Johnson
Like Hicks, Johnson redshirted his first year on campus for TCU. He didn’t accumulate the same accolades as Hicks did in high school, but Johnson was still heavily recruited and ranked highly. Because TCU only has four players on the depth chart at running back, Johnson will see the field a lot this year. Another reason why Frog fans will see Johnson on the field this year in key situations is because of his size. Listed at 221 pounds, Johnson is by far the Frogs’ biggest back. In the case that TCU doesn’t try to spread it out on a short yardage situation, expect to see Johnson come in and force his way to a first down.
TCU’s backfield will feature seasoned veterans in B.J. Catalon and Aaron Green, as well as raw, unproven talent in Kyle Hicks and Trevorris Johnson. Because of the nature of the new air raid offense, all four running backs will see playing time this year and will all have the opportunity to display their talents. Look for B.J. Catalon to yield the most production for this position, whether it be rushing out of the backfield, returning kicks, or catching passes in the slot. Hicks will break onto the scene and become a difference maker for the offense. The unit overall will be solid and will thrive with the new, more versatile role in the air raid offense.