Although Baylor’s football season hasn’t gone as well as we hoped it would, there have been a few breakout stars who’ve contributed to the team’s progress. Each of the players I selected are within their first couple of years on the collegiate field, which means their skills will only improve as the seasons continue.
Clay Johnston has become a monster on the defense, causing trouble each week for opposing QBs and ball handlers. The sophomore LB shows glimpses of former great Bryce Hager in every tackle and sack he records. On the season, he’s notched 29 solo tackles, 43 total, 8.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and seven total sacks. Within the first four games, he broke his career records for tackles and showed his playmaking abilities on the opposing side of the ball. Johnston will undoubtedly continue to shine as a defensive leader once star LB Taylor Young finishes his final season.
PS: please enjoy these fun clips of Taylor Young sacking Baker Mayfield:
Denzel Mims is one of, if not the key breakout player on offense, almost causing fans to reminisce Corey Coleman’s talent at receiver. Although he doesn’t quite have Coleman’s speed and ability to catch any damn ball in the air, sophomore WR Mims has become QB Zach Smith’s go-to guy for any deep passes. He’s tied for first in the nation with with seven receiving TDs and he’s scored at least one in each game with a career-long 71-yard reception and 70-yard TD. On the season, Mims notes 25 receptions for 533 yards with 7 TDs. Here’s hoping he continues to add points to Baylor’s scoreboard!
Harrison Hand is a true freshman who’s made game-changing plays in his first season. I interviewed Hand before he enrolled at Baylor and he was the sweetest kid, so I knew I would cheer for him as soon as the games began. I’m excited to see him continue to do work at CB as he’s one of the cleanest minimum-contact DBs I’ve seen at Baylor so far. Whereas many of our previous DBs drove me crazy with their penalties and obvious interference with the opposing receivers, Hand consistently breaks up passes in a textbook way. In just the first five games, Hand recorded 24 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss and 4 pass break ups, many of which were game-changing stops.