Depleted TCU defense could turn to walk-on to start at safety

Gary Patterson is down to a walk-on sophomore to fill out his defensive backfield. 

With two converted safeties filling emergency duty at the depleted linebacker position, and safety Kenny Iloka gone with a knee injury last week, Michael Downing, a walk-on, is on top of the depth chart as the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs welcome SMU on Saturday.

Downing played so well filling last week, which included his first career interception. But maybe his emergence under pressure shouldn’t be a surprise. He was given TCU’s Y.Q. McCammon Outstanding Squadman Award after last season, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

TCU had two losses in the defensive backfield it wasn’t entirely expecting with safety Chris Hackett choosing to pursue the NFL and medical reasons forcing George Baltimore to leave the program.

Patterson is hoping to find a cornerback to emerge opposite of Ranthony Texada so Nick Orr, who has moved to cornerback, can return to safety. 

"We need to get to where he can do one or the other," Patterson said of Orr. "We need to have some guys improving to where we can trust them."

Patterson said freshman Arico Evans, slowed by a knee injury, is close to filling a role on defense.

(h/t Star-Telegram)

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