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A look at the current Scholarship situation for Baylor football

An early look at the scholarship situation for 2017 Baylor football.

The 2016 season's end is in sight, with less than 2-weeks away from the Cactus Bowl against Boise State.  Baylor will be saying goodbye to a group of Seniors that has taken this program to new heights, including all-time leading rusher Shock Linwood, and quarterback Seth Russell.  WIth roughly 70 scholarship players on the roster entering the year, the Bears are hopeful they can get some players back in the fold.  Injured players like Byron Bonds, Josh Pelzel and Taion Sells.  Ineligible players like Brian Nance, or even players that left the team for personal reasons like Johnny Jefferson.  

Not all of those players will make it back, but a few are likely.  Here is a quick look at the current scholarship situation for 2017, obviously before any attrition is known.  There will be losses from this group, with key players making decisions on the NFL (such as Ish Zamora and KD Cannon), or players looking at transferring out of Baylor after the challenges of the past year.  

Right now, Baylor has 60 scholarship players breaking down as:

  • 29 seniors (11 on offense, 8 on defense)
  • 18 Juniors
  • 20 sophomores
  • 3 redshirt freshman
  • 1 signed freshman

The 2017 class is loaded with seniors, with the bulk of next year starters coming from the junior and senior classes in a year that is the last slated to have the bulk of the Art Briles led teams of the past few years.  Key starters along both offensive and defensive lines are returning, but most of those players will be seniors in 2017.  

2017 Baylor Football Scholarship Chart - Offense








QB 1 Zach Smith
RB 2 JaMycal Hasty Terence Williams

WR 7

Pooh Stricklin

Blake Lynch

Jared Atkinson

Denzel Mims

Ishmael Zamora

Quan Jones

KD Cannon

IR 2

Chris Platt

Tony Nicholson

TE 2 Sam Tecklenburg

Josh Malin

Jordan Feuebacher
OT 6 Riley Daniel

Patrick Lawrence

Dom Desouza

Mo Porter

Ishmael Wilson

Tyrae Simmons

OG 3

Blake Blackmar

Josh Pelzel

Tanner Thrift
C 1 Sean Muir
Kicker 1 Chris Callahan

The offense is losing key starters in Seth Russell, Shock Linwood, and Kyle Fuller.  Everyone else is back, pending decisions by Cannon, Zamora and others.  The offensive line will be very top heavy in terms of class, with just 1 player that is a sophomore or below.  

2017 Baylor Football Scholarship Chart - Defense








DT 6

Will Jones

Bravvion Roy

Ira Lewis

Andrew Morris

Byron Bonds
DE 7

Tyrone Hunt

Michael Johnson

Jamie Jacobs

Greg Roberts

Xavier Jones

KJ Smith

Brian Nance


Deonte Williams

Lenoy Jones Jr.

Clay Johnston

Jordan Williams

Taylor Young

Thomas Cletcher

Raaquan Davis
NB 2 Eric Ogor Travon Blanchard
CB 5

Raleigh Texada

Henry Black

Jameson Houston

Grayland Arnold

Verkedric Vaughns

S 6

Jalen Pitre

Chris Miller

Rajah Precadio

Jourdan Blake

Chance Waz

Taion Sells

Davion Hall

Punter 1 Drew Galitz

Baylor will be replacing Orion Stewart, Ryan Reid and Aiavion Edwards from the starting lineup.  The defense has much better spread of experience, and the only three redshirt freshman on the roster.  Getting former starter Byron Bonds back at defensive tackle would be a big plus for a team that struggled with depth on the inside of the line.  

There is good depth at most other spots, minus corner back, though it is all depth that will be around for a while.  Blanchard is the only player on defense that might look at the NFL, though he is probably still a year away.  

Final Thoughts

There is still quite a bit of talent on the 2017 Baylor Bears (as it stands right now).  All but 6 starters are back, with losing three on each side of the ball.  Baylor will need to bring in a full class of 25-recruits for 2017, but expect a few transfers and maybe early enrollees to count backwards towards the 2016 class.  More depth on both lines, at the quarterback position, and at corner back.  

Baylor will have all-big 12 caliber players in Terence Williams, KD Cannon and Ish Zamora at WR, and defenders Taylor Young, KJ Smith and Travon Blanchard.  There is a good amount of talent on both sides of the ball, and really a good starting lineup on offense.  The questions become what is behind them, and what happens with injuries?  A healthy version of this Baylor team (supplemented by the 2017 recruiting class) could still be very good.  

However, attrition could hit hard in critical areas, and the Bears will have to improve their QB position around Zach Smith.  If Baylor can avoid a mass exodus of players, get some quick contributors via recruiting or transfers, and stay healthy, there is reason for optimism in 2017. 

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