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2016 Baylor Depth Chart Preview - Defense

The Bears will be losing at least five starters, with one more big name yet to decide in Andrew Billings. How will the new defense look after losing quite a bit of experience along the line.

The 2015 Baylor defense returned 10 starters and tremendous depth at several key positions.  With 6-starters gone from that team, the 2016 Bears defense will have quite a bit different look.  This will be a younger defense, one that was recruited between a Heisman and during two Big 12 title runs.  Baylor will lean on a taltend and expereinced linebacker unit, as well as three returning defensive backs.  With an entirely new defensive line, several true freshman possibly pushing up the depth chart. 


First String

Second String

Third String

Brian Nance, JR Brandon Bowen, FR Tyrone Hunt, rsFR
Bryon Bonds, SR Andrew Morris, SO Ira Lewis, SO
Jeremy Faulk, JR Josh Malin, SO Bravvion Roy, FR
KJ Smith, JR Xavier Jones, SO Greg Roberts, SO
Taylor Young, JR Raaquan Davis, JR Clay Johnston, rsFR
Aiavion Edwards, SR Kendall Ehrlich, SR Lenoy Jones Jr, rsFR
Travon Blanchard, JR Pat Levels, SR Eric Ogor, rsFR
Tion Wright, SR Verkedric Vaughns, SO Jordan Tolbert, rsFR
Orion Stewart, SR Taion Sells, SR Alfred Pullom, JR
Chance Waz, SO Terrence Singleton, SR
Ryan Reid, SR Jourdan Blake, SO Jameson Houston, rsFR

Defensive End

With starters Jamal Palmer and Shawn Oakman graduated, the Bears will turn to some new faces on the edges in 2016.  KJ Smith, who played extensively as a backup in 2015 and starter in 2014, is expected to be the leader for the Baylor front-4.  Brian Nance was a primary reserve who will looked at to take on a much larger role in his junior year.  Baylor has quite a bit of young and promising depth, but not a lot of experience.  Greg Roberts,  Xavier Jones, Tyrone Hunt, and Jamie Jacobs are all still very young in their careers, while 2016 commitment Brandon Bowen could make an immediate impact this fall.  

Defensive Tackle

The loss of Andrew Billings to the NFL draft changes the outlook of this position drastically.  A case could easily be made that he was the most important player for the Bears going into 2016, due to his aiblities but also the lack of depth and experience behind him.  JuCo signee Jeremy Faulk will need to step into the starting lineup alongside Byron Bonds, who has quite a bit of experience so far.  Andrew Morris played as a key reserve in 2015, and even started for the injured Beau Blackshear late in this season.  Commit Bravvion Roy could also make an early impact for the Bears, similar to how Billings did in his true freshman year.  


For the second year in a row, the Bears will be losing their starting middle linebacker.  Grant Campbell, who had an inconsistent senior year, his lone as a starter, will graduate leaving Aiavion Edwards to take the spot in the middle of the defense.  Baylor will return two young playmakers around him, with Taylor Young and Travon Blanchard both taking on starring roles for the Bears in 2015.  Young had a strong freshman campaign in'14 taking over at the weakside spot when Edwards was injured.  He followed that up with another good year in 2015. Blanchard is a blooming star, and proved a huge impact player in his first year as a starter.  The Bears have a lot of unproven depth behind them, but coaches rave about Raaquan Davis, who will likely be the top reserve off of the bench. 

Corner Back

Most Baylor fans expected to have both primary starters the past two years back for one more go, with Ryan Reid and Xavien Howard. However, after an All-Big 12 caliber season, Howard declared for the NFL draft.  Reid was a solid corner at times, but did struggle with the deep ball.  Baylor will struggle to replace Howard, who was truly a shutdown corner for them in 2015.  Tion Wright has been the top backup the past two seasons, but is around 5 inches shorter than Howard.  The Bears coaching staff has started to recruit taller corner the past few seasons, so could Jourdan Blake, Jordan Tolbert, or Jameson Houston be a better fit on the strong side of the formation?


All-Big 12 safety Orion Stewart will look to anchor the defensive backfield once again after an injury marred junior campaign.  Stewart is one of the better safeties in the Big 12, with an all-around game.  Next to him will be Chance Waz, who stepped up into the starting lineup after Terrell Burt was ineffective in coverage. Waz is a strong cover safety, and gives the Bears better speed in the defensive backfield.  Backups Taion Sells, Alfred Pullom, and Terrence Singleton have quite a bit of experience.  Could 2016 #1 safety Brandon Jones make an immediate splash in 2016?  Absolutely.  He just has to commit and sign first.  

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