Blue Ribbon College Football Forecast--Baylor
The following is an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Brassey's Inc.'s "Blue Ribbon College Football Forecast" profile for Baylor. We've included an excerpt of our position analyses, as well as of our "Blue Ribbon Analysis" for the upcoming season. For much more detail on your team and the 116 other Division I-A teams, purchase the "Forecast" today--see below for ordering information!
Wide RecieverSenior Reggie Newhouse (6-1, 189) was one of the top receivers in the Big 12 last season, and he could be even more effective in 2002 with the addition of a couple of fast junior college transfers.
"We've helped ourselves," Steele said. "We have two junior college receivers who are extremely fast."
They are junior Vince Copeland (6-3, 180) of Reedley (Calif.) Junior College and J.T. Thompson (5-10, 190) of Kilgore (Texas) Junior College.
Copeland, of Valdosta, Ga., was chosen as his team's most valuable player last season after catching 69 passes for 875 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games. He also returned punts. As a freshman, he caught 30 passes for 400 yards.
Copeland was rated the country's 98th-best junior college prospect by The Insiders.com. As a senior at Lowndes High School, Copeland played for a Class 4A state championship team.
Thompson signed with Kansas out of Kilgore (Texas) High School and caught eight passes for 130 yards in seven games for the Jayhawks. He then went to Kilgore Junior College and had 543 yards and five touchdowns on 48 receptions last season. While at Kilgore High School, Thompson had 52 catches for 1,004 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior year and was rated among the top 100 recruits in Texas by the Dallas Morning News.
"We've kind of stockpiled guys at that position to where we've got some diversity in the corps and we're going to be OK there," Steele said.
Newhouse, who has caught passes in 22 straight games, enters his senior year third in career catches at Baylor with 108, fifth in receiving yardage (1,412) and fifth in touchdown catches with 12.
Last season, Newhouse was on the All-Big 12 second team and finished fifth in the league in catches with 61 and second in touchdown catches with eight. His 12 catches and three touchdown catches against Missouri tied a single-game Baylor record. He had seven catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns against Texas Tech.
Blue Ribbon AnalysisBaylor's defense must improve drastically for it to make a move up the Big 12 standings. Steele went after speed in the secondary in his recruiting effort, and perhaps that will help a pass defense that ranked 11th in the league.
The defensive front is solid and so are the linebackers, but there isn't much depth. Any injury or two to key players would be a blow.
Offensively, the Bears will keep throwing and throwing and throwing. They need to settle on a quarterback early in the preseason; they didn't do it in the spring, though. New offensive coordinator Baldwin takes over this season, and perhaps he could bring some balance to the offense.
Last season, the Bears were 10th in the league in rushing offense and fourth in passing offense, averaging 214.7 yards per game.
Steele likes his players and their approach to the game, but it's time for this team to win some games.
"We need to make a big jump in that category," Steele said. "But this group of guys, they're winners and if you've got players that are winners, then you've got a chance for the team to win."
They'd better do it this season in the Big 12. If they don't, there could be some major changes in Waco.