When former Baylor Football standout RBs Trestan Ebner and Abram Smith departed the Bears for the NFL last year, fans questioned which up and coming athlete would take their place. All questions were answered at the start of the 2022 season when freshman RB Richard Reese appeared on the field and immediately made his mark on program history. 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.