The TCU Horned Frogs will be without at least four players due to the freshly-busted Fort Worth drug ring. Three of them are definite major losses while the other looked ready to take on a significant role as a junior. Based on TCU's most recent depth chart (the Poinsettia Bowl), here's a look at who might have to step up.
The easiest loss to tabulate is that of linebacker Tanner Brock, who didn't play much in 2011 due to an injury, but was the team's leading tackler in 2010. Kenny Cain held down the job last year and led the team in tackles, so little should be expected to change there. The loss of senior middle linebackers Tank Carder and Kris Gardner remains the bigger concern, but it might've been nice to see what Brock and Cain could do on the field at the same time.
Replacing defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey might not be as disastrous as it seems. He started every game after being named All-Mountain West in 2010, leading all interior linemen in tackles, and he's backed by rising sophomores Jon Lewis and David Johnson. But the two played an active role in the line rotation combining for 44 tackles. Incoming freshman Chuck Hunter, a 295-pound four-star, could see playing time.
Devin Johnson didn't start the entire year, but finished the year strong, producing 47 tackles. TCU runs a five-DB set as its base defense. This means defensive back depth is important, you see. Big rising sophomore Sam Carter (220 pounds) is listed next on the depth chart at strong safety. He played in bits of 11 games as a redshirt freshman.
Ty Horn was listed as Robert Deck's backup at right tackle, but Deck is a departing senior, one of four seniors listed on the two-deep starting line, including starting left tackle Jeff Olson. Horn wasn't a sure thing to take over one of the two tackle spots, but he'd have to be considered a front-runner. James Dunbar and Nykiren Wellington are the only tackles left on the most recent depth chart. TCU brought in four offensive line signees this class, and they'll probably need at least a couple to suit up.