Baylor End of Season Awards

A memorable season is in the book for the 2013 Baylor Bears. Just one more game is left to be played, at the Fiesta Bowl New Year's day against UCF. So, with a few weeks to kill, let us give out some of the Best of Baylor awards.

Offensive Player of the Year – Quarterback Bryce Petty, Jr.

Could it be anyone else for the Bears offensively? Petty was brilliant to start the year, but ended it merely good as the injuries, competition and weather made things a little more difficult. His season ending stats are mind-boggling. 30 touchdowns compared to just 2 interceptions. Over 4,000 total yards from scrimmage and another 11 touchdowns on the ground? Coming into the year, quarterback was a question mark mainly because we had not seen Petty as the MAN. We didn't know about his decision making, ability to handle pressure or even lead a team. Well, all he did was lead a record setting offense to an 11-1 victory, its first ever Big 12 championship and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl with a top 5 ranking on the line. Not a bad year for the junior. Can't wait was he has in store for us next year.

Honorable Mention – Antwan Goodley, Cyril Richardson,

Defense Player of the Year – Linebacker Eddie Lackey, Sr.

The senior junior college transfer has shot to the top of the list of diamond finds for Art Briles in his staff. Coming out of high school, all Lackey could do was go to Northwood University in Michigan. After a successful freshman season there, Lackey transferred to Riverside Community College where he caught the eye of the Bears. After a good junior year at the outside linebacker position, Lackey exploded this year to lead the Bears in tackles with 97 at both the inside and outside linebacker position. Lackey also added 4.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss finishing in the top 10 in the Big 12 in all three statistics.

Honorable Mention – Ahmad Dixon, K. J. Morton, Chris McAllister

Offensive Freshman of the Year – Running back Shock Linwood, Fr.

With the Bears starting two running backs on the sideline against Oklahoma, all Linwood did was rush for 182 yards and get the Bears going on the ground. The third string running back had 862 yards on the year, and had four 100 yard rushing games on the year in addition to 8 touchdowns. Linwood displayed tremendous balance and more than filled his role while the guys above him were out of the lineup.

Honorable Mention – Corey Coleman

Defensive Freshman of the Year – Defensive Tackle Andrew Billings, Fr.

Billings started the year off of the 2-deep depth chart, but he ended it getting almost half of the snaps against Texas to close the year. Billings displayed tremendous strength in the running game helping the Bears improve their run defense drastically though the year. He ended up with just 14 tackles, but 3.5 of those were for loss, and he added 3 quarterback hurries. Billings did a tremendous job all year of occupying lineman and allowing the linebackers behind him to make plays.

Honorable Mention – DL Byron Bonds, LB Aiavion Edwards, S Orion Stewart

Special Teams Player of the Year – PR Levi Norwood

The third year punt returner finally showed off those game breaking skills that tantalized the last few years. His first two seasons as the primary punt returner saw him do a solid job. He made quite a few fair catches and took the easy yards. He didn't turn the ball over and rarely took chances. Those 26 punt returns yielded no touchdowns and 9.65 yards per return. This year though, Norwood averaged 10.04 yards per return and had two touchdowns, including a game changing one against Texas Tech in his breakout performance.

Honorable Mention – P Spencer Roth, DB Kiante Griffin

Position Coach of the Year – Defensive Line coach Chris Achuff

What more can be said about a coach that had its best returning player leave the team right before the first game, and had multiple injuries ravage the depth while still maintaining great play for the entire season. With the entire defensive tackle depth chart filled with freshman and sophomores, Achuff developed his new talents quickly and put them into great positions to succeed. The defensive ends also played terrific, with two seniors leading the way and two younger players also getting quite a bit of playing time. The defensive line, long considered a weakness for the Bears, proved to be a big time asset for the Baylor defense in 2013.

Game of the Year – Baylor vs. Oklahoma

Sure, the easy choice would be Baylor's win over Texas, but the circumstances around that game will elevate it for the Baylor faithful. My choice is the breaking out party of the Bears. After playing a soft schedule to open the 2013 season, many "experts" still had questions about whether these bears were real, or just better than the bad teams they had beaten. A 41-12 victory over 10th ranked Oklahoma changed everything for the Bears. Despite a slow start that saw Baylor trail 5-3 halfway through the 2nd quarter, the Bears still racked up over 40 points and 459 total yards of offense.

Honorable Mention – Baylor vs. Texas

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