FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 19: Niko Small #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs dives for a pass intended for an Oklahoma State Cowboys receiver in the first quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

BEVO BEAT Football

Top opponents for Texas in 2017, No. 82: TCU S Niko Small

Posted June 12th, 2017

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The countdown to kickoff is on. Over the 100 days before Texas takes on Maryland, we’re counting down the 100 best players the Longhorns will face in 2017. This series is all about impressing your friends at pregame tailgates and watch parties, so grab a notepad and buckle up.

Who is he?

Among the bright spots in a disappointing season for TCU was Niko Small’s emergence next to Nick Orr in the defensive backfield. We’ll get to Orr later in this series, but Small earned his merits in 2016 with a team-high nine passes defended and 83 total tackles. The DeSoto product also had a pair of interceptions, including one off Texas quarterback Shane Buechele. The Horned Frogs will expect even more production from the 5-foot-10, 194-pound junior in 2017.

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What should the Longhorns watch for?

Word out of TCU’s camp indicates that Small added speed and size during spring workouts. Add those physical attributes to the experience he gained last season, and there is reason to believe Small will be even better this fall. He got better as last season wore on, earning TCU’s outstanding defensive player honor for a team-high 12 total tackles in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl against Georgia. He also had nine stops in the regular-season finale against Kansas State. Quarterbacks and receivers will have to be wary of the Horned Frogs free safety.

Previous encounters

In addition to his pick on Buechele (in the video above), Small also had four tackles and two passes defended against the Longhorns in 2016. He didn’t record any stats against Texas as a freshman.

Bonus

Here’s a video of Small rapping to attendees of TCU’s Frog Camp last year.

Catch up on the series

No. 100: Joel Lanning

No. 99: Tony Nicholson

No. 98: Da’Leon Ward

No. 97: Taylor Martin

No. 96: Kyler Murray

No. 95: Davion Hall

No. 94: Mike Warren

No. 93: Al-Rasheed Benton

No. 92: Carter Stanley

No. 91: Chris Bradley

No. 90: Justin Holmes

No. 89: Alex Barnes

No. 88: Daniel Wise

No. 87: Jesse Aniebonam

No. 86: Cole Walterscheid

No. 85: Shane Cockerille

No. 84: Martell Pettaway

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