The 2022 Baylor Football season was underwhelming to say the least (finishing with a 30-15 loss against Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl ON MY BIRTHDAY nonetheless was a definitely disappointment), so I—and I’m sure all Baylor fans alike—am/are more than excited for a fresh new year. The Bears have a program-record eight home games this season: Texas State on Saturday, Utah on September 9, Long Island on September 16, Texas on September 23, Texas Tech on October 7 (we’ll be there!!), Iowa State on October 28, Houston on November 4, and West Virginia on November 25. With the season finally beginning in five days, Baylor Football released their first 2023 depth chart! I’m always ecstatic to see the depth chart each season because it offers a glimpse into what the fans can expect to see in the Fall. The Bears lost quite a few talented starters to graduation and transfers to other teams, so it will be interesting to see the returning and new athletes take charge and lead the younger players on the field.
Redshirt junior QB Blake Shapen was once again named starting QB over Mississippi State transfer third-year sophomore Sawyer Robertson after the conclusion of Spring practice. He will be passing to transfer junior Ketron Jackson Jr. from Arkansas, redshirt sophomore Josh Cameron, junior Hal Presley, junior Monaray Baldwin, redshirt sophomore Jonah Burton, and senior TE Drake Dabney. One of last year’s biggest question marks on offense was Shapen’s connection with his receiving corps, so the addition of Jackson Jr. and the maturation of the younger receivers will only benefit the Bears this season. This year’s weakness as of right now is Baylor’s O-line since they lost most of their starters/players with starting experience aside from senior Gavin Byers. BYU transfer brothers Barrington aka junior OL Campbell and fifth-year senior OL Clark earned starting spots at LT and C, respectively, which should be unsurprising due to their experience and talent in a renowned Cougars line. Byers will take LG, redshirt freshman Kaden Sieracki is at RG, and redshirt senior Elijah Ellis will wrestle with redshirt sophomore Tate Williams for RT. Surprisingly, sophomore star RB Richard Reese will (as of this current depth chart) rotate with former Oklahoma State junior star RB Dominic Richardson to carry the ball into the end zone.
I’m undoubtedly most excited about the defense as the Bears hired Matthew Powledge to replace Ron Roberts as Defensive Coordinator after Powledge left the same position at Oregon. Powledge coached at Baylor for the 2020-21 season as Safeties Coach/Special Teams Coordinator when the defense rose to national prominence and produced NFL-caliber talent like Houston Texans S and former Baylor fan favorite Jalen Pitre. Fifth-year senior TJ Franklin and redshirt senior Gabe Hall will play at DE thanks to their years of experience and fantastic performances last season. At NT, redshirt sophomore Cooper Lanz will alternate with redshirt junior Treven Maʻae, the latter of whom transferred to Waco after playing four years at Oregon. We always support Polys playing for Baylor! For the LB positions, we have redshirt freshman Kyler Jordan earning a starting spot at JACK, fifth-year senior Mike Smith Jr. at WILL after arriving at Baylor from L*berty (we do not mention that “University”), and redshirt senior Matt Jones moving over to MIKE (Jones used to play at both JACK and WILL in the past two seasons). Seventh-year(!!!!!) senior Bryson Jackson is taking over/rotating at the aforementioned Pitre’s position of STAR—a hybrid of S and LB—after playing at JACK last season. Jackson will alternate with redshirt freshman Corey Gordon Jr. The STAR position is one of my favorites, so it will be interesting to see how Jackson and Gordon Jr. transfer/use their talents! The secondary was severely lacking in prowess last season, which was a difficult blow after watching the 2021 squad absolutely excel in their respective positions. This depth chart lists redshirt sophomore Tevin Williams III and redshirt junior Chateau Reed playing at CB and redshirt sophomore Devin Lemear and sophomore Devyn Bobby at S. Interestingly, Bobby earned the starting spot over sophomore Alfonzo Allen who boasted quite the hype since he started at Baylor.
Redshirt sophomore Isaiah Hankins will keep his K spot alternating with sophomore Michigan State transfer Jack Stone for field goals and kickoffs. True freshman Palmer Williams is listed as the starter for all punts.