With just 1 returning starter in the Baylor secondary, there is bound to be a few questions. We have already previewed the cornerback position, so now we get to the other members of the defensive backfield; the safeties. Ahmad Dixon is gone off to the NFL to try and earn a spot with the Dallas Cowboys, but his partner in the backfield is back to lead a young and talented group of safeties.
CURRENT STARTERS – 7
|13-game starter, 61 tackles, 2 interceptions, 6 pbu||Appeared in 9 games, 6 tackles, 1 int, 2 pbu||Primary backup last year, appeared in all 13 games, 39 tackles, 1 int, 5pbu||Redshirt Freshman|
Terrell Burt is the lone returning starter in the back four of the defense for the Bears. The 13-game starter from 2013 made some big plays for the Bears, including the game-clinching interception against TCU, but struggled badly in the final game of the year against UCF. However, with his closing speed, and ability to just be around the ball, Burt is a key player for the Bears, and one fans hope will take another step forward into being an All-Conference type of player.
Joining Burt in the defensive backfield will be Orion Stewart, who played quite a bit last year as the backup to Dixon, and even started the Big 12 clinching win against Texas due to Dixon's first half suspension. Stewart finished 9th on the team in total tackles with 39, and had a 82 yard touchdown off of an interception. With a larger role ahead of him, Stewart could take a big step into proving his 2-star recruiting ranking was a big mistake.
POSITIONAL DEPTH - 8
Without a single scholarship senior on the roster, the Bears depth is quite young. They have just one junior and then a gaggle of sophomores and freshman. Sophomores Taion Sells and Stewart received quite a bit of time as reserves last year, and Sells has shown quite well in practices. Alfred Pullom is the primary backup at the strong safety spot, but could be pushed by Travon Blanchard, if he does not move down to nickel back with the recent personnel losses there.
Cordell Dorsey, Chance Waz and Jourdan Blake all are exceptional athletes with a chance to push into the rotation and avoid a redshirt year, like Sells did in 2013. The biggest young name on this list though is 4-star athlete Blake Lynch. The current QB of Gilmer High School, Lynch has several positions that he could play at Baylor, including safety, linebacker, wide receiver or even quarterback. Here we have him listed as a safety. One of the best athletes in the 2015 class, the Bears coaching staff will sure have a battle for who will get this talented recruit.
CLASS BALANCE – 7
The balance for this class really starts with the younger players. With no seniors and just one junior, there is not a large supply of upperclassmen to lean on for the Bears coaching staff. However, they have made safety a priority the last three recruiting classes, and brought in possibly three solid recruits in the 2014 class. Current commit Blake Lynch could be joined by at least one more safety, as the Bears are looking to bring in two more guys to compete for playing time.
NEXT YEAR – 8
With Burt going into his senior year and Stewart with hopefully a full year of starting going into his junior campaign, the Bears should be quite expereinced in the safety spots. Baylor could feature two eventual 3-year starters at either safety spot, or one of the younger recruits could move ahead, giving the Bears tremendous depth and upside at the position. The safety position appears to have a very strong immdediate and father out future.
FUTURE YEARS – 4
Again, with the massive amounts of young talent coming to campus this fall and next year, the future is quite bright for the Bears safeties. Orion Stewart should be around for 3 more seasons to help usher in a new era for Baylor safeties. Jourdan Blake is one of the best pure athletes the Bears have recruited, and could make a quick impact at safety or even corner. Then of course is Blake Lynch (pictured above) and his professional potential to maximize.
This is a key position for the Bears, as shown by the move of Ahmad Dixon to the strong safety spot last year, after 2 years at the nickel back position. The Bears did not recruit very heavily at either safety spot for several years, due to the presence of multi-year starters in Sam Holl and Mike Hicks. Also, with a 4-star recruit in Ahmad Dixon hanging around, the Bears could spread those spots to other positions. It also doesn't hurt that the Bears hit on under-recruited guys like Terrell Burt, Orion Stewart and Taion Sells. But the 2014 and 2015 classes have seen an influx in talent for the Bears coaching staff, and perhaps a focus on getting bigger and better athletes to be the last line of defense.
TOTAL – 38
This position is setup quite well currently, especially if Terrell Burt can continue to develop and Stewart can bring the same level of play to many more snaps and games than he did in limited tiem last year. There is a big difference between being asked to make 5 plays a game and 25. With several true freshman making their way to campus, and a possible 4-star headed to Waco next year, the future is very bright for the Bears deep secondary.