ARLINGTON — One of the players that TCU brought to Big 12 media days on Monday was making up for lost time.
TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, who missed the 2018 season with an Achilles injury, started 14 times as a freshman in 2017. He had two sacks that season, including one that was recorded in a 24-7 win over Texas.
That takedown of Shane Buechele, though, may not be why Blacklock’s name sounds familiar to UT fans. He’s the son of Jimmy Blacklock, who was the second black letterman and first black star on the men’s basketball team at Texas. He was inducted into UT’s Hall of Honor in 2016.
On Monday, Blacklock chatted about his return to the field, his father’s UT legacy and who’s the Kawhi Leonard of TCU’s defense:
After sitting out last year, how ready are you for the season?
It’s definitely a good feeling. Unfortunately, the injury and everything — I see it as a blessing, though, and not something bad that happened. I took it as a way to level up my game mentally. It helped me a lot going through this process and I think I’m a better athlete even though I didn’t go through a season. I’m just ready; “ready” is an understatement.
What was the rehab process like?
It was a lot. You’ve got to get up early in the morning, you’ve got to go do therapy and then you’ve got to do your regular workout and then you’ve got to go back and do more therapy. It was a lot. It got annoying each and every day kind of doing the same thing, just wishing you could go play. It’s just a process. If anybody is going through an injury or a major injury, I’d say just trust the process. It’s going to be long, but it’s going to be worth it.
What are the expectations for TCU in 2019?
Be the best team we can possible be.
Play each game 1-0.
Win each game and the big games will take care of themselves. If we’re meant to be here in December, we’re going to be here.
You lost two members from your defensive line to the NFL draft. How do you replace that talent?
We’ve got a lot of good guys that are stepping up like Terrell Cooper, George Ellis, Izaih Filikitonga, guys like those. They’re going to step up and play that role. As far as ends on the outside, we’ve got a lot of good guys coming in, grad transfers. I think we’re going to be in a pretty good position (defensively).
Earlier, Gary Patterson said redshirt freshman Ochaun Mathis is somebody ‘nobody knows about.’ What’s to know about the Manor product?
He acts just like Kawhi (Leonard). He’s like a silent assassin. He’s a real good guy. He’s developed a lot better and a lot quicker. I’m really excited to see what he’s got to offer for this year (on the defensive line). He has a lot of shoes to fill, obviously, so I think that he can take the pressure.
What do you know about father’s legacy at Texas?
He paved the way for a lot of athletes, and I give all my respect to him. I’m not just saying that just because that’s my father. He does so much and he doesn’t really talk about it, I usually talk more about it than he does. He’s just inspiring to me. I try to do everything as hard as he works, I try to do everything to mirror him. He taught me how to play sports, he taught me everything, so he’s a great mentor, a great father.