Is there a better time to be Baylor Athletics supporters? Students, alumni, and fans are still being rewarded by witnessing 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. 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 a few days later. Sims increased his watch list credentials by being named to the Wuerffel trophy list released by the All Sports Association. Ika and Galvin were named to the Chuck Bednarik and Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List by the Maxwell Football Club and Rotary Club of Houston, respectively. And most recently, Shapen was named to the Earl Tyler Campbell Rose award watch list!
The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose honor, according to Baylor Athletics’ Jerry Hill (papa), “recognizes the top offensive player in Division I football who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity to persist as well as determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals.” The athlete must also have childhood, high school, or college ties to the state of Texas. Leading the Bears to back-to-back conference victories and the program’s third-ever Big 12 Championship, Shapen was named MVP for his performance in the conference title game. Over the course of six games last year with three of them being in garbage time, Shapen completed 62 of 86 passing attempts (72% completion rate) for 596 yards and 5 TDs. He also added 21 carries for 59 yards. In the Big 12 title game against Oklahoma State alone, he notched a collegiate-high 17 consecutive completions for 180 yards and 3 scores.