Baylor FB Names Blake Shapen 2023 Starting QB After Spring

Shapen is 2023 starting QB
Photo credit: LM Otero – Associated Press

Last year at the end of Spring drills in April, Baylor Football head coach Dave Aranda made a shocking (to me) choice to replace starting QB Gerry Bohanon with young backup Blake Shapen. At the time, Shapen was as exciting new blood as one could ask for—stepping in for Bohanon at the end of the regular season and leading the Bears to back-to-back conference victories and the program’s third-ever Big 12 Championship where he was named MVP for his performance in the conference title game. Most fans were understandably thrilled at the news of a new starting QB who boasted a wicked arm thanks to his former baseball career, while others (like me), still yearned for the maturity and leadership qualities of Bohanon. Ultimately Bohanon left Waco to pursue his football career in South Florida, and Shapen had a slightly erratic season with incredible ups and seemingly never-ending downs. And despite the difficulties the Bears faced last season—often due to the uncertainty and inconsistencies of the offense—Aranda reconfirmed Shapen would continue his time at Baylor as the 2023 starting QB in today’s press conference. Shapen—a fourth-year junior—didn’t have as tough a competition for starting QB as he did with Bohanon since his main challenger was new Mississippi State transfer third-year sophomore Sawyer Robertson. Shapen obviously had a leg up in the fight with more experience under OC Jeff Grimes and familiarity with the playbook and schematics. On Shapen’s being named the starting QB, Aranda said “We had a talk with both Blake and Sawyer, I think a week after the spring game. So we named Blake the starter. With Blake, I think his consistency and his overall improvement was way impressive, and then his leadership and the growth there was impressive…I wanted to give him the stage to assert himself completely. He’s the guy and it’s his team to take us into the summer and fall, and gives us the best chance to start it off.” On Robertson, Aranda said, “I thought Sawyer really progressed and got better at the end of spring. Things settled down for him, and I have to imagine he’s going to continue to get better. So talking with Sawyer, ‘Hey man, I’m really impressed with you. Your future here is really bright. It’s a big old thing, so just take it one step at a time, keep your head down, you’re going to be great.’” In the past two seasons of play, Shapen completed 284 of 431 passing attempts (65.8%) for 3,198 yards with 21 TDs and 10 interceptions along with 92 carries for 163 yards and 2 TDs.