Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Even though they were left out of the college football playoffs the 2014 season was still a success for the TCU Horned Frogs. The team not only won a share of the Big 12 Conference Championship with the Baylor Bears, but the conference acknowledged the accomplishments of its players as TCU was well represented in the Big 12 Post-Season Awards.
In addition to head coach Gary Patterson being named conference Coach of the Year — the fourth time he has been awarded the recognition by a conference — four players were named to the All-Big 12 First Team including offensive and defensive players of the year quarterback Trevone Boykin and linebacker Paul Dawson. Seven others were named to the All Big-12 Second Team and six others garnered All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.
With a successful 2014 campaign Patterson regained his spot on the list of best coaches in the nation, after struggling the first two seasons in the tougher Big-12. And while he is the one getting the award, some of the credit has to go to his staff — specifically offensive co-coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie — who were brought in to jumpstart a Horned Frogs offense. The season before the team was ranked 87th in scoring and 104th in total offense but this year it finished the season second in scoring and fifth in total offense nationally due in part to the changes the duo made in the scheme of the offense.
As the star pupil of the offensive turnaround Boykin — who was also named to the AP All-American second team — went from wondering if he was ever going to play quarterback full time again to finishing fourth in the Heisman voting. In 2014 Boykin re-wrote the entire TCU passing record book by throwing for over 3,700 yards and 30 touchdowns. But he did not do it alone. Despite only having three games with over 15 carries junior running back Aaron Green — a Nebraska transfer — was only 146 yards away from rushing for 1,000 yards in the regular season as he filled in for starter BJ Cantelon who missed the final four games of the season due to injury.
Boykin had his choice of receivers as four TCU wide-outs caught over 30 balls including 59 from junior receiver Josh Doctson. Doctson, a Wyoming transfer, finished the regular season with 959 yards and nine touchdowns.
Not to be left out the defense had its share of stars as well. Building on a successful 2013 season that saw him lead the team in tackles with 91 Dawson took it to another level in 2014. He finished the year with 128 tackles — including 18.5 for loss, five sacks and four interceptions — and was the only player in the nation to post those gaudy numbers.
This was the second consecutive defensive POY award for the Horned Frogs — in 2013 cornerback Jason Verrett shared the award with Jackson Jeffcoat of Texas.
Joining Dawson as a first team honoree was safety Chris Hackett. The junior defensive back led the team in interceptions (6) and was second in pass deflections (12) and fourth in tackles (73)
While the defense will miss the production and leadership of Dawson — who was also recognized as a first-team AP, Walter Camp and USA Today All-American — there is enough talent, and most important a coach with a contract extension, returning to Forth Worth in 2015 to make this team one of the favorites to contend for an outright Big-12 championship and a guaranteed spot in the college football playoffs.
PLAYERS RECOGNIZED BY THE BIG 12
First Team All-Big 12:
Trevone Boykin Jr. Quarterback
Jaden Oberkrom Jr. Placekicker
Phil Dawson Sr. Linebacker
Chris Hackett Jr. Defensive back
Second Team All-Big 12
Aaron Green Jr. Running Back
Josh Doctson Jr. Wide Receiver
Joey Hunt Jr. Offensive Line
Halapoulivaati Vaitai Jr. Offensive Line
Chucky Hunter Sr. Defensive Line
Sam Carter Sr. Defensive Back
Kevin White Sr. Defensive Back
Honorable Mention All-Big 12
B.J. Catalon K/PR
Cameron Echols-Luper K/PR
Tayo Fabuluje OL
Derrick Kindred DB
Kolby Listenbee WR
Davion Pierson DL