Baylor football released its spring depth chart on Tuesday afternoon. Most positions were all but decided, but there are a few surprises along the way.
Here are five winners from the spring depth chart.
CB Jameson Houston, RFr.
We knew that there would be a competition for cornerback after Xavien Howard left, but almost no one expected Houston to be the guy to step up and earn the job. Tion Wright has actually started games and played significant snaps for Baylor, but Houston set himself apart as a redshirt freshman. He has size that matches Howard (6-2, 200 pounds) and comparable speed. The Austin product won the TAPPS 200-meter meet with a 21.51-second time. Art Briles says this could be the fastest defense he's fielded, and Houston will need to play a big part in that.
Starting offensive line
Baylor lost four of its five starters on the offensive line from last season and all four positions had battles for the spot. Rami Hammad was probably the most likely to win his job at right guard, and appeared to do it with relative ease. Almost every other spot is somewhat of a surprise. Dom Desouza won the left tackle position, beating out Ish Wilson and Mo Porter. We projected him as a right tackle earlier this spring. At right tackle, Patrick Lawrence was lightly recruited by power schools, but won the right tackle spot over Porter. At the other guard, Blake Blackmar edged out talented JUCO B.J Autry. The Bears do have the option to redshirt Autry, as he should take over when Blackmar likely moves over to center next season.
WR KD Cannon, Jr.
It isn't exactly a surprise, but Cannon took hold of the wide receiver position that opened up after Corey Coleman left for the NFL. The junior came into college as an inside receiver, but he set himself apart with the ability to run routes and compete physically on the outside without elite size. Baylor usually has a featured wide receiver in its rotation -- think Corey Coleman, Terrance Williams or Kendall Wright. Cannon is that guy next season. Expectations should easily be for him to compete for All-America and Biletnikoff honors.
TE Sam Tecklenburg, RFr.
Few expected Tecklenburg to be an early contributor at tight end, but necessity has pushed him into a potential featured role. The Plano product came in as an athlete with the ability to play either offensive or defensive line. However, he kept much of his athleticism and could be a special blocking tight end in the mold of Tre'Von Armstead. Jordan Feuerbacher will probably play more snaps at tight end, but Tecklenburg will find a place in the rotation, especially considering that it does not appear Rico Gathers will get into the tight end rotation at Baylor next season.
RB/KR JaMycal Hasty, RFr.
Baylor has often gotten criticized for not putting its best athletes back at kick returning positions. That will change next season. JaMycal Hasty is an absolute physical specimen out of Longview, and proved it during the spring game. Since he will likely be No. 5 on the running back depth chart, he will have an opportunity to try and be a game-changing player at kick returner. Last season, most players just let the ball bounce out of the back of the end zone or fair catch it. That will not be a problem with Hasty, one of the most explosive athletes on the roster. Depending on his wide receiver responsibilities, also keep an eye on whether Pooh Stricklin can snatch the punt returning duties from Lynx Hawthorne.
FULL DEPTH CHART --
|Wide receiver||Ishmael Zamora (So.)|
|Pooh Stricklin (RFr.)|
|Inside receiver||Lynx Hawthorne (Sr.)|
|Tren'Davian Dickson (Fr.)|
|Right tackle||Patrick Lawrence (So.)|
|Mo Porter (Jr.)|
|Right guard||Rami Hammad (Jr.)|
|Tanner Thrift (Jr.)|
|Center||Kyle Fuller (Sr.)|
|Black Blackmar (So.)|
|Left guard||Blake Blackmar (So.)|
|B.J Autry (Jr.)|
|Left tackle||Dom Desouza (Jr.)|
|Ishmael Wilson (Jr.)|
|Tight end||Jordan Feuerbacher (Jr.) OR|
|Sam Tecklenburg (RFr.)|
|Inside receiver||Chris Platt (So.) OR|
|Blake Lynch (RFr.)|
|Wide receiver||KD Cannon (Jr.)|
|Quan Jones (Jr.) OR|
|Chris Johnson (Jr.)|
|Quarterback||Seth Russell (Sr.) OR|
|Jarrett Stidham (So.)|
|Running back||Johnny Jefferson (Jr.) OR|
|Shock Linwood (Sr.)|
|Right end||Brian Nance (Jr.)|
|Greg Roberts (So.)|
|Nose tackle||Jeremy Faulk (Jr.)|
|Ira Lewis (So.) OR|
|Andrew Morris (So.)|
|Defensive tackle||Byron Bonds (Sr.)|
|Tyrone Hunt (RFr.)|
|Left end||K.J Smith (Jr.)|
|Jamie Jacobs (So.) OR|
|Xavier Jones (So.)|
|Weakside LB||Taylor Young (Jr.)|
|Clay Johnston (RFr.) OR|
|Jordan Williams (RFr.)|
|Middle LB||Aiavion Edwards (Sr.)|
|Raaquan Davis (Jr.)|
|Nickelback||Travon Blanchard (Jr.)|
|Pat Levels (Sr.)|
|Cornerback||Jameson Houston (RFr.)|
|Verkedric Vaughns (So.)|
|Deep safety||Orion Stewart (Sr.)|
|Davion Hall (Jr.) OR|
|Henry Black (RFr.)|
|Cover safety||Chance Waz (Jr.) OR|
|Taion Sells (Sr.)|
|Cornerback||Ryan Reid (Sr.)|
|Tion Wright (Sr.)|
|FG kicker||Chris Callahan (Jr.)|
|Drew Galitz (So.)|
|Kickoff||Drew Galitz (So.)|
|Chris Callahan (Jr.)|
|Punter||Drew Galitz (So.)|
|Kick returner||JaMycal Hasty (RFr.)|
|Trevor White (So.)|
|Punt returner||Lynx Hawthorne (Sr.)|
|Pooh Stricklin (RFr.)|
|Long snapper||Chris Lutzel (RFr.)|
|Ross Matiscik (RFr.)|
|Holder||Cole Edmiston (Jr.)|