TCU's Ed Wesley May Be Frogs' Best RB Since LaDainian Tomlinson

Pete MisthaufenAnalyst ISeptember 20, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 04:  Tailback Ed Wesley #34 of the TCU Horned Frogs runs the ball against the Oregon State Beavers at Cowboys Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

At the time of the Southwest Conference's death, TCU was among the worst teams in college football and had fallen from its lofty history and tradition.

Since then, TCU has climbed to the pinnacle of college football based upon a number of crucial factors.

Left behind by Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Baylor, TCU's administration decided to make a huge commitment to football and improving the university.

TCU brought in Dennis Franchione and Gary Patterson.  While Franchione had success and soon moved on, Patterson has crafted TCU into the blue-collar, hard-hitting, and hard-working team it is today.

But just as importantly, TCU had one young player with enormous potential.

LaDainian Tomlinson played only one full year in high school at running back, and while he scored 39 touchdowns, he was not recruited by many top-tier programs.

LT led TCU to three consecutive bowl games and helped transform the Frogs from a perennial loser to a good program. 

Individually, LT won the Doak Walker Award and was a Heisman finalist.

Since being drafted fifth overall in the 2001, LT has been one of the NFL's most powerful running backs.

And LT's legacy has helped TCU recruit speedy talent throughout Texas.

TCU now lives in the world of speed on both sides of the ball, which it uses to be one of the top programs in college football.

Until recently, TCU coach Gary Patterson would take some of his fastest players and transform them into defensive stars, Colts first round draft pick Jerry Hughes among them.

With TCU's recent success, its recruiting pool has gotten deeper, so Patterson no longer needs to take all his speedy young players for his defense.

As such, TCU's offensive talent has improved greatly at the skill positions over the last several years.

One of the brightest young talents for TCU is sophomore running back Ed Wesley.

Last season, Wesley was the third player of TCU's running back by committee, behind Joseph Turner and Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Matthew Tucker.

Sharing the ball and sharing time, Wesley's best game last season was a 137-yard performance on a mere 12 carries against Utah.

This season, Wesley has taken over as TCU's featured back.  Through three games, Wesley has averaged 128 yards per game and 8.2 yards per carry, up from 6.3 yards per carry last season.

TCU has not had to utilize Wesley's receiving ability yet, but last season Wesley had eight receptions, three touchdowns, and 170 yards, an average of 21.2 yards per reception.

Wesley does benefit from running behind one the nation's best offensive lines, loaded with future NFL stars, as well as having the benefit of QB Andy Dalton's great skill and leadership.

Even so, Wesley has the tools and talent to lead TCU's powerful ground assault.  Wesley is already among the top 10 rushers in the country and will help TCU roll up its opponents.

Unfortunately for TCU's opponents, the only thing that will slow down Wesley is Gary Patterson trying to avoid scoring more touchdowns to avoid style points, something Patterson has already done in TCU's first three games.

So be warned, Doak Walker candidate Ed Wesley is going to carry TCU to new heights and help take the Frogs to the top.