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Baylor 2016 Pre-Fall Depth Chart

With the purge of names from the Bears roster over the past few months, the starting lineup should look similar to what most Baylor fans expected. 2017 and beyond is where the questions come into play.

With just a few weeks until Fall Camp starts in preperation for the 2016 football season, the Bears depth chart has changed quite a bit since the last release in May.  Gone are several key starters, most of the 2016 freshman class and several junior college players.  In the big picture, the Bears lost just 6 players that were listed on the 2-deep after spring (2nd string WR Tren Dickson, 2nd string left guard B.J. Autry, 3rd string WR Chris Johnson, Co-Starter at QB Jarrett Stidham, starting DE Brian Nance, and starting NT Jeremy Faulk). Those are 2 starters, a co-starter at QB and 3 backups.  

2016 Baylor Offense

1st String
2nd String
3rd String
Ishmael Zamora (SO.) Pooh Stricklin (FR.) Jared Atkinson (FR.)
Lynx Hawthorne (SR.) Blake Lynch (RFR.) Tony Nicholson (SO.)
Patrick Lawrence (SO.) Mo Porter (JR.) Riley Daniel (RFR.)
Rami Hammad (JR.) Tanner Thrift (JR.)
Kyle Fuller (SR.) Blake Blackmar (SO.)
Blake Blackmar (SO.)
Dom DeSouza (JR.) Ishmail Wilson (JR.)
Jordan Feurbacher (JR.) Sam Tecklenburg (RFR.) Jayson Clements (JR.)
Chris Platt (SO.) Blake Lynch (RFR.)
K.D. Cannon (JR.) Quan Jones (JR.) Denzel Mims (FR.)
Seth Russell (SR.) Zach Smith (FR.) Zach Bennema (RFR.)
Shock Linwood (SR.) Johnny Jefferson (JR.)
Terence Williams (SO.) JaMycal Hasty (RFR.)

On offense the Bears starters breakout to be 4 seniors, 4 juniors, and 5 sophomores.  Baylor was hit heaviest on the offensive side of the ball with the attrition in the 2016 recruiting class, so the depth is not what the Baylor staff would want on the offensive line or at wide receiver.  

Running back is still a loaded position for the Bears, even without Kameron Martin.  They have a variety of skills with the pure speed and agility of Hasty (who could play in the slot as well, where the Bears lack some depth options), the power of Terence Williams, and the overall playmaking of Linwood and Jefferson. 

The offensive line as a whole is older, with 3 juniors and a senior leading the way.  Center Kyle Fuller is the only one with starting experience, but Hammad, Wilson and Blackmar played quite a bit last year.  

Wide receiver was hit the hardest on the offensive side of the ball, with the losses of Duvernay and Dickson.  There is still quite a bit of talent on the roster though, led by All-American KD Cannon.  Platt and Zamora are post-hype guys that were highlights in the 2015 fall practices, but with Corey Coleman and Jay Lee in front of them, the opportunities were limited.  Now is their time to shine.  

The biggest question mark though will be backup quarterback.  Seth Russell will be the starter, and a star...if he can stay healthy.  He has proven that he can lead his offense to elite performance.  If he gets injured though, the Bears will have to lean on a redshirt freshman walkon, or a true freshman in Zach Smith. 

2016 Baylor Defense

First String
Second String
Third String
Greg Roberts (SO.) Xavier Jones (RFR.) Michael Johnson (FR.)
Ira Lewis (SO.) Andrew Morris (SO.) Bravvion Roy (FR.)
Byron Bonds (SR.) Tyrone Hunt (RFR.) Josh Malin (SO.)
K.J. Smith (JR.) Jamie Jacobs (RFR.)
Taylor Young (JR.) Clay Johnston (RFR.) Jordan Williams (RFR.)
Aiavion Edwards (SR.) Raaquan Davis (JR.) Deonte Williams (FR.)
Travon Blancard (JR.) Pat Levels (SR.) Eric Ogor (RFR.)
Jameson Houston (RFR.) Verkedric Vaughns (SO.) Grayland Arnold (FR.)
Orion Stewart (SR.) Davion Hall (JR.) Henry Black (RFR.)
Chanze Wax (JR.) Taion Sells (SR.) Jourdan Blake (SO.)
Ryan Reid (SR.) Tion Wright (SR.) Jordan Tolbert (RFR.)

The Baylor defense is very young on the defensive line, but has good experience at linebacker and in the secondary. Four senior starters lead the way, with 5 juniors, 3 sophomores and a freshman.  The backups are primarily freshmen and sophomores.  Depth is still a concern at defensive tackle, mainly due to the loss of the two junior college transfers expected to give the Bears top-line depth.  Bravvion Roy will need to step in quickly and could easily rise up this depth chart in a few weeks. Tyrone Hunt has put on quite a bit of weight and will be looked at both on the inside of a 4-man front, but also on the outside when the Bears go to a 3-man look.  

Linebacker is their best position, with two All-Big 12 caliber players in Taylor Young and Travon Blanchard.  Both are proven stars in this defense and will lead the Bears in 2016.  There is young depth all over this position.  Raaquan Davis and Aiavion Edwards will be in a battle for the middle linebacker spot, but both could see the field quite a bit when the Bears go to a 3-4 look. 

Three of the four starting defensive backs have extensive starting history, with redshirt freshman Jameson Houston the only one lacking that experience. Orion Stewart is one of the best safeties in the Big 12, and if he can get fully healthy, could be a big difference maker for Baylor.  

2016 Baylor Specialists

Position First String Second String
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.

The Bears will have their kicker and punter return for 2016, with Galitz also taking over the kickoff duties.  Both were solid in 2015 and hopefully will take a step forward this year. 

The return team will be led by Hasty, a dynamic redshirt freshman who will hopefully provide a spark that the kickoff return team has been lacking the past few years.  Punt returns will once again be done by Lynx Hawthorne, who struggled at times in 2015 with muffs.  He is not a dynamic return specialist, but the Bears really just need a guy to catch the ball and make sure the offense has possession. 

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