TCU football loses key assistant to USC

TCU head football coach Sonny Dykes needs to find a new running backs coach as Anthony Jones has accepted an offer from Lincoln Riley to be the University of Southern California’s next running backs coach.

The Star-Telegram confirmed the news Monday morning. Jones wasn’t in Fort Worth long, but still made a lasting impact in two seasons.

He helped produce two NFL running backs during TCU’s run to the national championship game as Kendre Miller was a third-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 2023 NFL Draft and Emari Demercado was an undrafted signee for the Arizona Cardinals. Demercado was second on the Cardinals in rushing and scored two touchdowns in his rookie season.

With those two in the pros, TCU’s running game didn’t fall off as Emani Bailey rushed for 1,209 yards and eight touchdowns in his lone season as a starter. Bailey is a potential day three NFL Draft pick and was one of the standouts at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

When Bailey hears his name called in April, he’ll be the eighth running back Jones has helped develop into a pro going back to his stint at Memphis from 2018-21. Dykes got a chance to see Jones’ work up close during numerous battles between SMU and Memphis and it was a big reason why he brought Jones to Fort Worth.

Jones’ departure isn’t considered surprising as he attracted a lot of interest from both the pros and college. Jones interviewed for the Middle Tennessee State opening and also had head coaching interest from a number of FCS programs. The Los Angeles Chargers heavily pursued Jones earlier in February, but Jones turned new head coach Jim Harbaugh down.

The Memphis native’s ultimate goal is to become a head coach of a FBS program and is hopeful working under another offensive guru in Riley will continue to help him reach that goal.

Even though Jones is departing, the running back position is in good shape for the future. Sophomore Cam Cook is expected to take over as the potential starter with Jones stating numerous times he believes Cook is a pro. Jones also helped the Horned Frogs sign two of the top running backs in Texas this past cycles with commitments from Jeremy Payne and Nate Palmer.