Looking around the country, not many schools play better offense than the Baylor Bears. I like them for that, but the reason I have them rated fairly low at #13 is because of the usual lack of defense.
The Bears did win their first Big 12 title last season and Art Briles is not going anywhere, so they should be competitive from here on out.
Bryce Petty (6-3,230) is back for his senior season and had a brilliant junior year. He threw 403 passes and completed 250 for 4200 yards and 32 TDs. He only threw 3 interceptions. Think about that for a minute.
3 interceptions is pretty incredible.
Sophomore Seth Russell (6-3,200) is being groomed to take Petty’s spot and he threw for 427 yards and he also had 3 interceptions. Petty threw 403 times and Russell threw 43 and they both had 3 interceptions. Pretty incredible stat in my book. I think I threw that many interceptions in our last family Thanksgiving football game.
Petty is not too terribly mobile, but he’s not that bad either and rushed for 209 yards last season.
Plus, he reminds me of Matt Damon when he puts his helmet on.
QB position is in great shape at Baylor. Frankly, I have been following Head Coach Art Briles since he was at Stephenville, Texas high school and he will always have a good QB. He seems to develop them pretty well.
RB Lache Seastrunk declared for the NFL draft and leaves with his 1177 rushing yards. Like QB, the beat goes on and sophomore Shock Linwood (5-8,200) will move up to starter and he had 881 yards a year ago.
Devin Chafin (6-0,215) is also a sophomore and had just under 300 yards rushing last season.
Anthony Webb (6-0,195) will be a junior and he added 150 yards.
4 star recruit Terence Williams (6-2,220) will bring a bigger body type to the RB position at Baylor.
Antwon Goodley (5-10,220) returns for his senior season and had 71 catches for 1339 yards and 13 TDs. Phenomenal year for Goodley.
Levi Norwood (6-1,185) is also a senior and caught 47 passes and Clay Fuller (6-1,205) is yet another senior and added 32 catches.
As if those guys aren’t enough, they also have Jay Lee (6-3,210) who had 23 catches.
Up and comer Robbie Rhodes (6-0,185) could get more playing time here.
Incoming 4 star recruits KD Cannon (6-0,165), Ishmael Zamora (6-4,200) and Chris Platt (5-10,155) will more than likely redshirt their first season in Waco.
Baylor does have a TE and they lost their top two from last season. Gus Penning (6-5,250) would appear to be the only option until recruits Jordan Feuebacher (6-4,240) and Blake Mahon (6-5,225) can help out. Top 2 TEs a year ago only caught 12 passes and that’s probably not going to change.
Baylor lost 3 starters up front. RG Desmond Hilliard (6-4,330) is a monster and back for his junior year.
Troy Baker (6-6,315) returns at the tackle spot next to Hilliard.
Spring will tell us more about the other OL positions and Kyle Fuller (6-4,295) should move into the center spot. LG should be LaQuan McGowan (6-7,375) an absolute monster of a man from Amarillo. At the LT Pat Colbert (6-5,295) or Spencer Drango (6-6,315) should step forward.
Baylor defense did make some improvements in 2013, but they were absolutely horrible in 2012 so any improvement is something.
Adding Andrew Billings (6-1,300) to it’s defense was a great move by Baylor and he played really well last season as a true freshman. Beau Blackshear (6-4,300) was solid at the other DT position.
Suleiman Masumbuko (6-2,290) and Byron Bonds (6-1,280) are others that will play at these spots.
Shawn Oakman (6-9,270) and Jamal Palmer (6-3,245) should start at the DE spots. Oakman played last year and had 2 sacks and was 11th on the team in tackles. Palmer had 5 sacks and was 10th in tackles a year ago. Oakman is one of the larger DEs in the country.
Linebacking core lost top tackler Eddie Lackey. But, they do return Bryce Hager (6-2,235) in the middle. He missed some games due to injury but still managed to finish third on the team in total tackles.
Kendall Ehrlich (6-1,225) should start on the weak side. Aiavian Edwards (6-1,225) could play at either LB spot for the Bears.
Baylor defensive backfield will be really young. They lost best defender Ahmad Dixon and most everyone else.
Only returning starter is Terrell Burt (5-10,185) at safety. He had 2 interceptions and was 5th on the team in tackles in 2013.
Looks like Ryan Reid (5-9,195) and Xavien Howard (6-2,200) will be the CBs in 2014. Both are young but they played a little last season.
Orion Stewart (6-2,190) should step into Ahmad Dixon’s spot.
Kiante Griffin (6-0,215) will be the nickel back.
2014 looks to be a good season for the Baylor Bears, but only if the defense comes around. Offense will be awesome as always but there could be a number of shootouts involving Baylor this season.
Target will be on their backs.