Five best college football futures bets to make, including our Syracuse Orange, who return 80% of their starters this season. Devin Neal, who played 13 games last year, is also in the hunt. This is a tough one. Hes got new ideas and new ways to look at things that are going to improve all of us.. Besides Alabama or Georgia, I dont know whos got a better front scheme-wise than Baylor.. Breakdown: McWilliams time on the turf was limited, as he played behind two NFL running backs in Trestan Ebner and Abram Smith. Bohanons passing numbers were solid in nonconference play (66.6 percent completion rate, 626 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in three games) but his yardage and completion rate dipped in Big 12 games. Were winning every day. Lost in last years rough season: the Cyclones had quite a bit of young talent that took its lumps and probably needed another year to come together. Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew Named Coach Wooden Keys to Life Award Winner, Iowa States Ashley Joens, Oklahomas Madi Williams Named Finalists for the Cheryl Miller Award, Niners GM John Lynch Updates Brock Purdys Status, Surgery Timeline, Oklahoma TE Brayden Willis Announces 2022 Return, K-State Promotes Collin Klein to Offensive Coordinator. Returning starters (5): DT Cole Maxwell, NT Siaki Ika, WLB Matt Jones, MLB Dillon Doyle, S Christian Morgan. One of the most important factors in a team's success in college football is its returning experience. The Big 12 may look wide open but Baylor proved themselves last year and could come back as sharp as ever with a higher ceiling at quarterback and a defense capable of holding down whatever offense they face. The top three tight ends on the 2021 depth chart return. Sam Khan Jr. is a senior writer for The Athletic covering college football and recruiting primarily in Texas. Studying what Oklahoma and Kansas State did to them will be instructive. Its a big gamble, the second coach said. Following that group is a young trio: redshirt freshman Cisco Caston, true freshman Devyn Bobby and third-year sophomore Mike Harris. A veteran leader on the back end, Baylor will rely on Morgan to make an impact in 2022. 2021 stats: 62-86 passes for 596 yards and five TDs (six games, two starts). A better, and more cohesive showing on defense would both be a welcome sign and would allow either Card or Ewers a bit more cushion to get comfortable. Redshirt freshman Kyron Drones was thrust into the backup role after Bohanons November hamstring injury. The Bears have a three-headed running back group comprised of two scatbacks and one power runner. 247Sports writer Kevin Flaherty joined Athlon Sports The Longhorns could go as far as the quarterback position will take them this year, whether thats Hudson Card, who started two games last year, or Quinn Ewers, the former top-ranked overall prospect in the 2021 247Sports Composite. You just dont typically see that kind of shift within a season. Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards will take over a lot of the running duties with the potential to really be successful as a one-two punch. 2021 stats: Six sacks (second most), 7.0 TFL, 17 total tackles. #Baylor RB @TayeMcwilliams on what its like behind a good O-line that returned so much talent:[Its] way easier, it makes life super easy. If youre talking about which team is the Big 12 favorite, Im going with Baylor because of what they have up front, the coach said. Ive watched them go through stretches where theyre utterly dominated by aggressive corner and nickel play. To replace receivers coach Chansi Stuckey, who joined Marcus Freemans staff at Notre Dame, Aranda hired former Buffalo and Marshall receivers coach Dallas Baker. Jun 16, 2022 7:08 PM EDT The Baylor Bears offense had some serious turnover this spring, with quarterback Gerry Bohanon hitting the NCAA Transfer Portal in The biggest piece were moving through right now is probably just immaturity, Aranda told The Athletic. With a solid crop of returning players, the question will be whether that talent can start delivering results on the field. Max Duggan is a returning starter at quarterback, but must hold off last years backup in Chandler Morris. Will the unproven receivers step up? Ika made an immediate impact as a transfer from LSU, earning the 2021 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year Award. This year it could be the playoff by avoiding another loss like that pesky one against TCU. And the unit got a boost in the offseason, when Baylor landed Tulsa defensive tackle transfer Jaxon Player, a Waco, Texas, native and two-time All-AAC selection. The sample sizes are small, but also very promising for Morris. Leading receiver Tyquan Thornton is off to the NFL and No. Kansas hasnt won more than three games in a season since 2009, Mark Manginos final season with the program. Subscribe to The Athletic for in-depth coverage of your favorite players, teams, leagues and clubs. Expect Baylor to give Texas a wake-up call in the regular season finale but settle for a 9-3 campaign. But at its core, the team is younger. Build your customFanSided Daily email newsletter with news and analysis onFanSided.com and all your favorite sports teams, TV shows, and more. The Bears do lose starting left guard Xavier Newman-Johnson, who had 36 career starts and earned Pro Football Network First-Team All-American Honors in 2021. Baylor ranked 10th in the country and first in the Big 12 in rushing offense in 2021, averaging 219.3 yards per game, leading the way to a Big 12 Championship. That could make picking the 14-team Big 12 an absolute madhouse with so many variables. Ten of Kansas 11 offensive starters are back from a team that ranked in the top 10 in Offensive SP+; the lone exit comes at left tackle, where Kansas signed a former five-star recruit in Wisconsins Logan Brown. LSUs Josh White will try to bolster the linebacker corps, which does return middle linebacker Dillon Doyle. Now that hes gotten to the top, he needs to figure out to how keep Baylor there. The Jayhawks may still be a year off; there a number of those projected starters still have more eligibility after this year. The Bears O-line was the most improved unit in 2021, becoming a true strength as the Bears led the Big 12 in rushing and allowed the third-fewest sacks. The Bears enter the season ranked No. Everything theyre doing, I feel good about it, Roberts said. Sophomore Monaray Baldwin starred in the Sugar Bowl with a 48-yard second-half touchdown run. A year ago, Grimes found his running back by moving linebacker Abram Smith, a former running back recruit, back to the position. Dave Aranda can flat out coach defense, but 2021s elite unit was gutted by the NFL draft and theyre currently in a transitional phase. But he questions the quarterback depth. The Big 12 Conference lays claim to two of the top five small forwards in the country. With both coordinators back and all the returnees on the line of scrimmage, Baylor can figure it out. It wont be a big one, but itll be enough for the Cowboys to close the gap. Although Baylor lost four key defenders via the NFL Draft and five starters total, theres a lot to like about the unit, starting with the defensive line. They may not have won that award in 2021, that distinction belongs to Michigan. Four of five starters return on the offensive line, and the entire defensive line two-deep is back. 14. By far, this is the most depth weve had since Ive been here, Roberts said. There was a point in spring where you say, Hes one of the top guys on our team, just based on production, Aranda said. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER. But Oklahoma would tell you that some of the departures arent the worst thing in the world, and Brent Venables upset the apple cart a bit in the offseason by going guns blazing into the transfer portal. 2005-2023 CBS INTERACTIVE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Run blocking has improved, Aranda said. The Mountaineers will be leaning fairly heavily on the transfer portal after bringing back six offensive starters and three defensive starters from last years team. Cornerback Al Walcott and safety Christian Morgan, both returning starters, will also see time at star, Roberts said. He joins an elite group of established, veteran O-lineman that are hoping to pound the rock en route to another successful season. The nucleus of the 2021 team is largely gone, with six players chosen in the NFL Draft. The 2021 second-team All-AAC selection should thrive being back in his hometown of Waco. The wild card at linebacker is LSU transfer Josh White, who just arrived on campus this month. Everybodys going to talk about Apu Ika, and rightfully so, but Gabe Hall is the real deal, he said. Its rare to see a combination of strength, speed and agility for someone with Halls frame. Big gamble, the Big 12 is a returning starter at quarterback, but his improved maturity preparation! 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