ARLINGTON, Texas — When you ask TCU cornerback Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson about his one-on-one battles with receiver Quentin Johnston in practice, he chuckles a little bit.
"People call it the show," he said. "It's what people come to practice for. They want to see me and Q go at it."
Their competition goes back to high school. Hodges-Tomlinson played for Midway High School in Hewitt, while Johnston went to Temple. The two schools shared a district from 2018-19.
Now, the two are teammates, but their competitive fire still burns bright. They each chose to wear the No. 1 jersey.
"His best quality is his competitive nature and how much he hate to lose," TCU Head Coach Sonny Dykes said of Hodges-Tomlinson.
In 2021, both players experienced breakout seasons. Johnston caught six touchdowns, including a crucial one during the second half of TCU's upset win over Baylor. Hodges-Tomlinson forced four turnovers to help lead the Frog's defense.
"You have two guys who, in my opinion, are both going to play on Sundays that are very competitive people, and they're competing against each other [in practice] at a very high level," Dykes said. "It's the old adage: iron sharpens iron."
Dykes said he has been pushing the rest of his team to watch them compete during practice, hoping their hard work and dedication will rub off on them.
"It's fun to watch those guys," he said. "They make each other better, and they compete at a high level. And what it does is everybody else watches and gets to learn from how competitive they are and how they make each other better."
Hodges-Tomlinson said this year's TCU team reminds him of the 2017 Midway Panthers, who finished the year as state runners-up.
"I know what a championship team looks like and feels like. And the way that we have come together as a team, it's starting to look like and feel like it was my Junior year at Midway," he said.
TCU went just 5-7 in 2021. This year, they are picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 Conference.
If they want to ascend to a championship level, they may have to turn their attention to the two No. 1s sitting on their roster.
"As long as Im having a great practice with Q, the games aren't gonna be hard at all," Hodges-Tomlinson said.