Baylor football has been blessed with a legacy of outstanding quarterbacks over the years. From RGIII to Nick Florence and Bryce Petty, our range of pass-happy, dual threat QBs have taken the Bears from the bottom of the CFB pool to the very top. Last season, starting QB Seth Russell led the Bears to a 7-0 start with 2,506 total yards and 35 TDs before breaking his neck against Iowa State. Russell was a Davey O’Brien award semi-finalist and earned an All-Big honorable mention in 2015. Not only does Russell have a canon for an arm, but he’s also extremely quick on his feet. Dual-threat is in his description as he’s often able to gain yardage by keeping the ball. The most successful QBs are the versatile ones and Russell is the best of the best. Even a broken neck couldn’t hold him back as Russell has continued to keep the ball and speed his way out of danger. Russell has followed in the footsteps of former Baylor QB Bryce Petty in his community work. His laid-back and humble personality makes him the best spokesman for Baylor football. Russell spent a few weeks in Brazil on a mission trip this past summer and has continued to speak highly of his teammates and coaches through all of the trials this offseason has presented.
After Russell, true freshman Zach Smith is number two. Smith is a massive kid- measuring in at 6-4 and 235 pounds. He was a top 300 recruit out of high school where his 10,217 passing yards and 113 TDs rank among the top 10 in Texas high school football history. ESPN named him the number 10 QB nationally and he has collected high school football honors all throughout his career. Smith made his college debut during the Northwestern State game where he completed five of seven pass attempts for 60 yards and one TD. He collected a few snaps against SMU and Rice, but hasn’t yet had the chance to showcase his talent and natural abilities. Keep your eye on Smith over the rest of the season as he will indeed be the ‘next man up’ in 2017.
RS FR Zack Bennema and true freshman Preston Heard are mostly unknown but are not unimportant as we’ve learned from last year. After the Iowa State game in 2015, my friend Stephanie asked me who would be our QB other than Seth. I noted that Jarrett Stidham was next and then Chris Johnson (both of whom departed during the offseason) and Zack Bennema. After the first two went down in injury, I had no idea what the coaches were going to do. Luckily their brains were smarter than mine and the Wildbear was the new love child. Hopefully we won’t have to use that formation too often, but it’s still important to keep tabs on who’s under center next. I’m hoping for a full healthy season for Seth but if there’s a need for the second (or third, or fourth…), these are the men!