At the end of June I wrote about the collection of Baylor Football players earning spots on the Athlon Sports and Phil Steele Magazine All-Big 12 lists led by sophomore RB Richard Reese and senior DL Gabe Hall who notched first-team awards from Athlon and Phil Steele, respectively. Reese, Hall, and sophomore S Alfonzo Allen all recently snagged spots on prestigious national award watch lists with Reese on the Maxwell Award Watchlist, Hall on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watchlist, and Allen on the Wuerffel Trophy Watchlist. The Maxwell Award is given to the most outstanding player in college football, of which Reese is among 85 candidates for the honor. The Bronko Nagurski trophy is awarded to the national defensive player of the year with Hall joining 96 other defensive athletes eligible. Finally, Allen is one of 110 candidates for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is an honor for a national athlete who’s demonstrated exceptional community service.
Last year, In his first year in the green and gold, Reese easily notched a program record for most rushing yards in a single season by a freshman with 190 carries for 962 yards and 14 TDs—downing former RB Shock Linwood’s record of 881 yards. Because of his incredible performance, the Football Writers Association of America honored Reese as a Freshman All-American. The Football Writers Association of America named only two RBs to their Freshman All-American team with Reese joined by Ole Miss’ Quinshon Judkins, who surpassed national athletes of the same position as the country’s leading rusher. According to Baylor Athletics’ Jerry Hill (papa), “Reese finished the year ranked second in the nation among freshmen in rushing TDs (14) and fifth in rushing yards (972). He led the Bears with 198 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per tote and 74.8 yards per game during his collegiate debut season. His 14 rushing TDs ranked tied for fourth in program single-season history and was the most for a Bear since Shock Linwood had 16 rushing scores in 2014.” Prior to earning the Football Writers Association of America accolade, Reese collected an array of in-season and postseason awards. During the season, Reese was touted as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week twice—firstly after the Bears’ victory over Texas State during the third week of the season and secondly when Baylor dominated Texas Tech in conference play. He was named one of 14 semifinalists for the Maxwell Football Club’s Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award, Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Offensive Freshman of the Year, College Football News Freshman All-American, and Phil Steele All-Big 12 Third Team.
In 2022, Hall amassed 36 tackles with 5.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 fumble returned for a TD, 4 QB hurries, 2 pass break ups, and 1 blocked kick. He was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on October 31 following the Bears’ incredible victory over Texas Tech.
Allen volunteers with No Limitations, which according to Hill is “A Special Needs Sports Ministry and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.” In his lone season with the Bears last year, Allen totaled 3 tackles with 2 for a loss of 8 yards, 1 sack for a loss of 7 yards, and 1 pass deflected.