Five Players to Watch: SMU vs. Baylor

Scott breaks down five Baylor Bears to watch vs. SMU on Friday!

WR Corey Coleman

Jr. 5-11, 190 pounds

2014 Stats: 64 rec, 1,119 yds & 11 TDs
Despite missing non-conference play, Coleman (at top) still surpassed 1000 yards in 2014. Named to the Biletnikoff watch list in 2015, Coleman, if he can stay healthy, will be one of the best receivers in the nation. Coleman has a great mixture of electrifying speed, good hands, and he has shown he can adjust to throws once the ball is in the air. He is also a physical wide receiver, which helps him create separation and block when he isn’t being targeted. As long as Coleman can stay healthy, the upperclassman is in for a big 2015, and SMU will have their hands full in Ford.

WR KD Cannon

Soph. 6-0, 180 pounds

2014 Stats: 58 rec, 1,030 yds & 8 TDs
Cannon is another receiver the Mustangs will have to keep an eye on in the opener. In Coleman’s absence, The then freshman receiver had roughly 470 yards plus 5 touchdowns. Now Once Coleman came back, Cannon struggled some during the middle part of the Bears’ season, but the Mount Pleasant product turned it on again late. Cannon is another Baylor receiver who plays physically and runs well. The Bears’ dynamic duo of Cannon and Coleman will make any secondary in the nation work hard to slow them down, and Cannon, as long as he can be consistent, is likely set to emerge as one of the best receivers in the Big 12.

QB Seth Russell

Jr. 6-3, 220 pounds

2014 Stats: 48-85, 804 yds, 8 TDs & 1 INT (saw time in 8 games)
Russell will try and fills the shoes of former Bears’ quarterback and current New York Jet Bryce Petty. Russell is a tremendous athlete and has the talent to be yet another solid Art Briles quarterback, and the fact that he can run brings another dimension to the Bears’ offense that they didn’t really have with Petty. The junior can be inconsistent with his throws however, so they key for him will be to go through his reads and make smart decisions. With a veteran, and talented, offensive line, Russell will likely get all of the time he needs to make the smart throws. The key for SMU will be getting after Russell and seeing if they can disrupt him and get in his head.

DE Shawn Oakman

Sr. 6-9, 275 pounds

2014 Stats: 52 total tackles, 19.5 TFLs, 11 sacks
While Oakman might be known nationally for his intimidating (now illegal) facemask and chiseled 12-pack, the senior transfer from Pennsylvania backs up the hype with stellar play. Most thought Oakman would bolt for the NFL after all the attention he received last season, but he decided to return to school to polish his game. At his size, Oakman is a handful coming off of the edge, and there are few tackles that can dig their feet into the turf and stand tough against him. The senior doesn’t get enough credit for his run defense, and he seals the edge very well. There’s no question Oakman is able to get after the quarterback, but his pass rush comes and goes. Oakman is a Bull rusher, which isn’t surprising given his size and strength, but he struggles some to mix up his moves. Oakman returned to Baylor to work on his speed rush moves, so expect the edge rusher to unveil and test some of those moves against the Mustangs on Friday.

DT Andrew Billings

JR. 6-2, 210 pounds

2014 Stats: 38 total tackles, 12 TFLs, 2.5 sacks
Billings might not get the attention Oakman does, but the upperclassman is an integral part of the Bears’ defense. The 2015 preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year is a force in the middle and solidified himself as one of the best defensive tackles in the Big 12 last year. Billings set all kinds of power lifting records at Waco High School, and his strength allows him to disrupt backfields. Not only is Billings strong, but he’s also deceptively fast for his size. At 310 pounds, he still runs a 4.94 40-yard dash. Billings and Oakman will both test a SMU offensive line that struggled immensely last season.

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