Risers and Fallers

Spring practice is all wrapped up and way too much time to waste until the fall arrives and football is fully back in our lives. Which players took advantage of the spring, and which might have taken a step back?

Baylor wrapped up its spring practice on Saturday with their annual spring game, with the 1s going up against the 2s. We take a look at the players that helped themselves the most this spring and a few that might didn't live up to expectations.

Risers

Clay Fuller, WR – Not only did Fuller answer some questions about the outside receiver position; he might have even earned himself a scholarship with his play. He was excellent all spring, catching vertical passes and doing a good job of blocking on those key receiver screens. He runs a bit like Lanear Sampson as he is extremely fast in regards to straight line speed, but he is not as explosive with quick cuts. He is acceleration isn't the greatest, so it takes him a while to get up to full speed. But when he hits that 5th gear, wow. He also is showing a much better knowledge of the offense and what he needs to do.

Suleiman Masumbuko, Defensive Tackle – the highest ranked tackle from 3 recruiting classes ago, the soon to be sophomore received minimal snaps last year. This spring though, he exploded on the scene from the start of the first scrimmage.

Terrell Burt, Safety – The undersized defensive back is not a physical specimen especially for a safety. However what he does bring to the field is speed. Pure speed. He has solidified the free safety position after the graduation of Mike Hicks, one of the Bears leaders on defense last year. He showed off great playmaking skills and along with new strong safety Ahmad Dixon, the Bears hope to have more impact from their safeties in the passing game in 2013.

Kelvin Palmer, Center/Tackle – Early in the spring, he earned the starting spot at the center position. While he struggled with snaps a bit, he was the best option inside. With an injury to Troy Baker, Palmer was moved out to right tackle, probably a better spot for him long term. Palmer has more experience at the tackle spot, and will be asked to fill that role until Baker can come back.

Shock Linwood – Running Back – The Bears deepest position is running back, but Linwood turned some heads all spring as he is easily the third running back on the depth chart. He could be in a role similar to Jared Salubi late in the year, coming in for pass plays and change of pace situations where the two starters just need a break. Linwood showed great speed and agility all year, though he did drop a big pass in the spring game. He might not contribute much this year unless injuries happen, but he announced himself as a guy to watch for the future.

Fallers

Seth Russell, QB – Some were thinking that Russell might usurp Petty as the starting quarterback. However, Russell struggled with command all spring and threw quite a few interceptions. He was inaccurate all over the field, and simply looked a little over matched in the spring game against the Bears #1 defense. Now, the main question is will he hold off true freshman Chris Johnson for the #2 spot?

Brian Nance, LB/DE – I put him on here mainly due to the coaching staff really no figuring out what to do with this talented freshman. He comes to Baylor as a prototypical linebacker but the Bears defensive staff moved him to defensive end and then back to linebacker and then back to end. Most assumed he would be in position to start or at least get quite a bit of playing time as a freshman after spending last year at a prep school. Right now though, he is probably 3rd string and didn't make much of an impact in the scrimmages. Will the coaches find a role for him or will he have to redshirt to grow into a defensive end?

Jay Lee, WR – He wasn't bad, but he wasn't that great either. Yes, he showed flashes of what made him a 4-star recruit. But it was not consistent and at times he appeared to not be going full speed. Can he put it all together and give the Bears that physical presence the Bears need on the outside?

Corey Coleman, WR – Injuries. And then more injuries. That hamstring is just not right, after forcing him into a redshirt year last year after fighting the pulled hamstring all fall, hopes were high for the star recruit to take a big step forward in 2013. However, the hamstring issue came back and held him out of most of the spring practices this year. Quite simply, he just needs to get healthy and start getting consistent reps.

LaQuan McGowan, Guard – with a gaping hole at right guard, some were hoping the giant of a man McGowan would grabs the spot and make it his own. However, his play in the spring has not been strong enough, and he is still listed as the backup at left guard. Jason Osei, a player who has barely any experience on the offensive line is probably ahead of him in the pecking order for the guard spots.


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