Fans of Baylor Football should be excited to witness an impressive off season coming off of their most spectacular season where they 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! The Bears made headlines when head coach Dave Aranda announced backup QB Blake Shapen would replace former starter Gerry Bohanon early into the spring (Bohanon almost immediately transferred to South Florida following the news) and have continued their news-worthy cycle with an ongoing collection of recruits committing to playing for Aranda and co. in the next couple of years. Shortly after five current Bears were named to the 2022 Preseason All-Big 12 Team (far more than last year’s two choices), two of the five—C Jacob Gall and TE Ben Sims earned Rimington and John Mackey watch list honors. Today, even more Bears were added to watch lists with DL Siaki Ika and LB Dillon Doyle making the Nagurski list while Ika, OL Connor Galvin, and Gall were named to the Outland one.
Ika—a Baylor favorite—dealt blows to O-lines across the Big 12 despite being double-covered in every game. In his first year with the Bears (he was previously an LSU Tiger), Ika recorded 25 tackles with 6.5 for a loss of 36 yards, 4.5 sacks for a loss of 30 yards, 4 QB hurries, and 1 pass deflected, earning him the 2021 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year title. Being named to both the Outland and Nagurski watch lists is a huge feat. Doyle joins Ika on the Nagurski list as he’s been used as a rusher, receiver, and defensive freak in his two years at Baylor. He’s totaled 3 carries for 7 yards and 1 TD, 1 catch for 2 yards and 1 TD, 145 tackles with 11 for a loss of 30 yards, 2 sacks for a loss of 14 yards, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 QB hurries, and 2 passes deflected.
Gall was a contender for the 2021 Big 12’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year in only his first season as a Bear (he was a transfer from Buffalo) and his sixth season playing. Galvin and Gall were two of the main reasons why Baylor’s OL was a top-10 corps in the country allowing only 18 sacks on the season (let it be known that Baylor’s OL was never a shining star until OL coach Eric Mateos arrived on scene).
Let the watch list honors keep coming for Baylor Football’s fantastic returning athletes!