The 2021 Baylor Football team had some of the most prominent talent for a squad that should be touted as one of, if not the best Baylor collective in program history. The team secured a program-high 12 wins, recorded their first-ever Big 12 Championship title game victory, had first and only New Years 6 bowl win in the CFP era, and notched 5 wins over Top 25 opponents for their most top-25 wins in a season since at least 1974! Due to their outstanding collaborative effort throughout the season, the former athletes had immense success heading into the NFL and XFL. In the 2022 NFL Draft there were six Baylor players selected (S Jalen Pitre, WR Tyquan Thornton, S JT Woods, LB Terrel Bernard, RB Trestan Ebner, and CB Kalon Barnes), and the class tied the 2016 corps for the biggest group in program history. Baylor came in at No. 7 in the country for number of athletes drafted (behind only Georgia, LSU, Cincinnati, Penn State, Alabama, and Oklahoma) and led the entire state of Texas. And even though they’re not currently in the NFL, two former Baylor players were named 2023 All-XFL honorees after their first season in the league. RB Abram Smith and LB Jordan Williams both earned spots on the All-XFL team with votes from XFL Coaches and Directors of Player Personnel.
Smith was a phenom at Baylor on both defense and offense, notching 269 carries for 1,647 yards and 13 TDs during his time as a ball carrier. In his spectacular final season, he set a single-season program record at the time for rushes, amassing 257 carries for 1,601 yards and 12 TDs. As a member of the D.C. Defenders, Smith recorded 158 carries for 791 yards as well as 13 catches for 91 yards—leading the league in rushing yards and helping his team to the 2023 XFL Championship this weekend. At Baylor, Williams notched 208 tackles with 19.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. Playing for the San Antonio Brahmas, he followed Smith’s path in leading the league in tackles with 89 total and 12 for a loss along with 1 interception returned 34 yards.