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TCU Notebook: Key transfer arrives, running back battle update

The TCU Horned Frogs are approaching the midway point of training camp after wrapping up practice No. 9 on Saturday.

The biggest news from practice was the arrival of transfer receiver Dylan Wright. The former Minnesota receiver was finally cleared academically Friday and able to take the practice field.

Wright was a top-100 recruit in the Class of 2019 out of Mesquite. He signed with Texas A&M before playing two seasons at Minnesota. With the Golden Gophers, Wright had 35 receptions, 645 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons.

Wright didn’t participate in 11-on-11 during the open media portion of practice, but went through offensive installs and one-on-one drills. At 6-foot-3, Wright certainly looks the part and the expectation is he could potentially start the ‘Z’ receiver position with Savion Williams at the ‘X’ and JP Richardson at the slot.

Here’s a few more quick takeaways from this week’s practice:

Bailey gaining separation?

The running back battle is far from settled, but Emani Bailey had a solid week of practice while Trey Sanders missed roughly three practices for load management. Bailey continued to show his burst and excellent vision during the team portion of practice.

Bailey had at least three runs of 10 yards or more this week during the open part of practice and sources say he was just as impressive behind closed doors. After being behind two NFL running backs last year, Bailey has come out motivated to seize the starting running back spot.

“I think I’ve been performing pretty well,” Bailey said Saturday. “Just trying to stack days and listen to Coach (Anthony) Jones. Just taking it one day at a time trying to be a better teammate, better player.”

Bailey’s relationship with his position coach has only grown stronger through the spring and now training camp. Jones helped develop Kendre Miller and Emari Demercado into NFL backs and Bailey knows that could be in his future too as long as he listens and remains coachable.

“Listening to him everyday, it’s been helpful to me to become better,” Bailey said. “I want to be the best version of myself. The intensity he coaches with, he doesn’t just talk football he talks about life. He’s turning me into a man and everything Coach Jones does is everything that I need.”

Bailey seems to have taken that next step in his development as a player and a person, which should only help the Horned Frogs during the season.

Quarterbacks sharp

Chandler Morris and Josh Hoover collectively had one of their better days of fall camp. During 11-on-11 Morris completed all three of his passes included a 15-plus yard strike to JP Richardson.

Hoover also completed all of his attempts while leading the second team offense and hooked up with JoJo Earle for a 10-plus yard completion as well. There’s been steady improvement from both as they continue to get more comfortable with Kendal Briles’ system.

Update on new faces

The 2023 class could be a special one for TCU as the freshmen continue to make their presence felt at camp. On Saturday once again freshman tackle Ben Taylor-Whitfield was impressive and has moved up to start working with the second-team offense. With Brandon Coleman looking like he could play some guard for TCU, that’s created a potential opening for Whitfield to crack the two deep.

Jonathan Bax remains a safe bet to be in the two deep at linebacker and had a number of good stops on Saturday. At safety, Randon Fontenette has taken a lot of reps with the second team defense and could have the first chance to see the field out of three four-star safeties TCU signed.

Cordale Russell is out of a red no-contact jersey and figures to battle Wright and Warren Thompson for reps. At cornerback, Mason White has begun to string some good practices together and is earning the trust of cornerbacks coach Carlton Buckels.

East Carolina transfer Rick D’Abreu has been solid at defensive end, with sources around the program being impressed with his strength at the point of attack. He’s been rotating with the second-team defensive line.

Scrimmage Sunday

The Horned Frogs will have their first scrimmage of training camp on Sunday. TCU has done some situational work, but this will be the first time the team is in a true game-like scenario.

“I’m ready to hit someone,” Brandon Coleman said. “Just being in a live-setting and going out there to play, that’s what we’ve been looking forward to this whole camp.”

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