Baylor Football fans had lots to be excited about following the unprecedented immense success of the 2021-22 season where the team 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. After that inevitable new Year of the Bear, head coach Dave Aranda signed a contract extension through 2029 despite an unbelievable number of open head coaching positions at top schools centered nearly entirely around him, most of the Big 12 Championship-winning starters on both offense and defense announced they’d taken advantage of their extra COVID year for a return to Waco (many of them truly impactful players), and older athletes like DT Siaki Ika were poised for breakout years in the 2022 season. And despite a turn of events that took the Bears from 12-2 to 6-7 with a roster full of immense talent in one year, some players like Ika had legitimately great seasons in a conference as tough as the Big 12. For his success on the field last Fall, Ika was selected in the 2023 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns as pick 98 in the third round!
Ika began his collegiate career at LSU where he spent two years developing over 17 games where he recorded 22 tackles and 1 sack. As a true freshman on the 2019 LSU National Championship squad, Ika played in 13 games and notched 17 tackles. He made his biggest impact on the field with the Bears leading up to his 2023 NFL selection. As a junior at Baylor in 2021, Ika was honored as the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year, All-Big 12 Second Team DL, All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Defensive Lineman of the Year, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football First-Team All-Texas Defensive Line, and AP All-Big 12 First Team DT. In that season he posted 25 tackles with 6.5 for a loss of 36 yards, 4.5 sacks for 30 yards, and 1 pass deflected. In his final season with the Bears prior to his recent professional pick, Ika earned Third Team All-America honors from Phil Steele, was named All-Big 12 First Team by the league coaches, AP, and Phil Steele, and was a finalist for the Polynesian Player of the Year Award. He recorded 24 tackles with 2 for a loss of 4 yards, and 2 passes deflected.