Despite the fall, the Bears still won the Big 12 and posted 11 wins. However, the difference between elite team and national championship contender is defense. Here’s a look at who’s emerging in the spring:
1. DT Andrew Billings
Shawn Oakman may get all the attention, but Andrew Billings may be the biggest linchpin on the defensive line. The true junior was state powerlifting champion as a high schooler and uses his superhuman strength to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. With Oakman and defensive end Jamal Palmer out for the spring, Billings has been essential in developing K.J Smith and a bevy of redshirt freshman defensive linemen.
2. LB Taylor Young
The DeSoto standout was barely recruited, but emerged as a Freshman All-American after taking over starting duties halfway through the season. Many thought he was too small, but Young has proven time and time again that he can succeed anyway. There is plenty of turnover at linebacker next season with Bryce Hager and Collin Brence gone. However, Young is a player that Baylor can slot in and expect to be a major contributor for the next three seasons at the weakside position.
3. S Chance Waz
The high school All-State player surprised many by contributing as a true freshman. If spring is any indication, he may be in contention for an expanded role come 2015. Waz jumped in for the injured Terrell Burt and nabbed two interceptions during the spring game and had consistently great coverage after getting burned on the first play by Corey Coleman. Burt returns at cover safety, but Waz could push him for playing time.