2014 Preview: Carter Leads Safety Group

Aug. 12, 2014

FORT WORTH, Texas -- GoFrogs.com continues its preview of the 2014 TCU football team with a look at the safety position.

Returning All-Big 12 selections Sam Carter (6-1, 215, Sr.) and Chris Hackett (6-2, 195, Jr.) key the safety position for the Horned Frogs.

A preseason All-American, Carter appears on 2014 watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award.

Carter, who came to TCU as a quarterback, is a two-time all-conference honoree at strong safety. His five interceptions last year led TCU and tied for second in the Big 12. His nine picks over the last two seasons are the most among returning players in the conference.

Carter tied for second on the Horned Frogs with four sacks. His 49 tackles, which included 7 1/2 for loss, placed sixth on the team.

Carter was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the 48-17 win over SMU. He had two interceptions, including one returned 66 yards for a touchdown. He also totaled five tackles, including 1 1/2 for loss, with a sack and forced fumble.

A New Orleans native, Carter received his TCU degree in May and will play this season as a graduate student.

Denzel Johnson (6-2, 205, So.), who impressed as a true freshman last season, entered fall camp behind Carter on the depth chart. Johnson was a major contributor on special teams a year ago.

George Baltimore (6-0, 205, RFr.), who redshirted last season, will push for playing time at strong safety.

Hackett, at weak safety, placed second on TCU with 88 tackles while taking part in a takeaway in five of 12 contests. He had a team-best three forced fumbles to go with three interceptions, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. His three picks came in consecutive games against Southeastern Louisiana, Texas Tech and SMU.

Hackett reached double figures in tackles in five games, including a career-best 12 stops in the season finale with Baylor. His 149 career tackles in just two seasons are the most among active Horned Frogs.

Behind Hackett is Tyler Junior College transfer Kenny Iloka (6-2, 209, Jr.). Ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 1 junior college safety, Iloka was an early enrollee and went through spring practice. He is the younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals' starting safety George Iloka.

After an impressive sophomore season, Derrick Kindred (5-10, 210, Jr.) entered the fall atop the depth chart at free safety.

Kindred started the final three contests a year ago. He had two starts at free safety and one at weak safety. He placed seventh on TCU with 48 tackles, including season-best totals of nine and eight stops versus Iowa State and Kansas State, respectively. He had interceptions at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

Geoff Hooker (5-10, 186, Sr.), a former walk-on who earned a scholarship last season, is behind Kindred on the depth chart. An engineering major, Hooker made his first career start last season in the SMU game. He also recorded his first career interception with a pick against West Virginia.

2013 redshirt Steve Wesley (6-0, 175, RFr.) will also compete for playing time at free safety.

Travin Howard (6-1, 190, Fr.) and Ridwan Issahaku (6-1, 180, Fr.) are true freshmen looking to impress in fall camp.

Howard was the District 12-5A Defensive Most Valuable Player at Longview High School last season when he had eight interceptions. Issahaku, a former quarterback, did not play on defense until his senior year at Norcross (Ga.) High School.


1 - Graduate students (Sam Carter) in the starting lineup at safety for TCU

6 - Non-offensive touchdowns (4 defensive, 2 special teams) scored by Travin Howard at Longview High School last season

18 - All-conference selections at safety coached by Chad Glasgow in his 12 seasons as TCU's safeties coach

26 - Career starts by Sam Carter, ranking second on TCU among active players (Kevin White, 27)

149 - Career tackles by Chris Hackett, the most among active Horned Frogs



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