It's that time of year, when college football preview magazines are published, and two new arrivals have hit the newstands (following Phil Steele's debut earlier this month) - Athlon Sports and Lindy's Sports. Here is a peek at the two previews and what they had to say about Baylor football:
ATHLON SPORTS 2010 COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2010 PREVIEW
Quote: "Briles begins his third year at the school more determined than ever to end a 16-year bowl drought and do his part to make the `Baylor name' even better... While Briles has replaced hype with hope, there was a noticeable spike of optimism in the spring when the 6'2", 210-pound Griffin was back in the saddle."
LINDY'S SPORTS ANNUALS 2010 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW
Quote: "...the Bears are looking for a breakthrough year. But much of Baylor's success will depend on whether Griffin can stay healthy and if the defense can put more pressure on quarterbacks. Baylor's schedule is more favorable with Big 12 home games against Kansas, Kansas State and Texas A&M, and a date against Texas Tech at the Cotton Bowl."
It's been just a little over a week after the Baylor University Board of Regents approved the installation of new wall-to-wall field turf at Floyd Casey Stadium, but the old turf at FCS has been completely removed and preparation has begun for the new field to be laid and ready by mid-July.
The Real Grass Matrix by Hellas Construction is the same product used in the Allison Indoor Practice Facility and Cowboys Stadium. The installation will be wall-to-wall and eliminate the beige surface around the perimeter of the field.
Former Baylor standout linebacker, Pro Football Hall of Fame member and current San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary BBA '83 is scheduled to speak Tue., June 1, to Baylor Alums in Houston. Sponsored by The Baylor Network, Singletary's speaking engagement will be held at The Houstonian (111 North Post Oak Lane) from 7:15 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
The cost is $25 for individuals (in advance), $225 for reserved tables (tables of eight) and $300 for premium seating. Space is limited and reservations are required. Make your reservations now by calling toll-free (866/281-9444) or registering online (all credit cards are accepted).
Last weekend during Spring Commencement ceremonies, nine current and former Baylor football players earned their bachelor's degrees. Congratulations to those Bears, including three returnees - Mikail Baker, Chris Buford and Jay Finley - who will all return for their senior year of eligibility in 2010.
BAYLOR SPRING 2010 GRADUATES
The nine graduates join the 14 current and former football lettermen that graduated during mid-year commencement in December 2009. Jameon Hardeman and Brad Taylor, who both graduated in December, also return in 2010 for their senior seasons.
Phil Steele released his Preseason All-Big 12 Teams that will be appear in his Phil Steele's 2010 College Football Preview, which is scheduled to hit newsstands June 8. Five Bears received preseason accolades from Steele:
Phil Taylor, Defensive Tackle
Antonio Johnson, Linebacker
Last week, Baylor sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin III was named to the University Interscholastic League's All-Century boys' track and field team in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles. A former standout at Copperas Cove, RG3 set state records in both events as a junior and did not compete at the state meet as a senior because he had already enrolled at Baylor.
As a freshman, he earned All-America honors on the track after finishing third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400-meter hurdles. He won a Big 12 gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles with the third-fastest time (49.22) in school history.
Checking in on Baylor's Newest NFLers
We caught up with former All-American center J.D. Walton who was in Waco for a few days this week. "I'm getting ready to head back to Denver for OTAs (optional team activities) and spring conditioning," Walton said. "I'm real excited to get started and to meet all the guys."
Below is a photo, courtesy of the Broncos' Eric Lars Bakke, of Walton and fellow Denver draft pic Zane Beadles at last month's rookie camp.
Meanwhile Baylor's other draft pick, David Gettis (click here for Cat Scratch Reader profile of Gettis), is busy trying to earn a spot on the Panthers' receiving corp. Here's what Observer NFL reporters had to say about Gettis in an online chat last week:
"Gettis is an exceptional athlete with size and speed. In shorts, he looks like a future star. But there's a reason he was a sixth-rounder. However, his potential is immense. He certainly could compete for No. 3 or 4, doubt 2."
Below is a photo of Gettis (12) and fellow Panther's rookie Armanti Edwards.
One of Baylor's five undrafted free agent signees, receiver Ernest Smith, is trying to earn a spot on the Chargers' roster. Last week he earned mention on the San Diego Union-Tribune blog, where reporter Kevin Acee wrote:
"Two players are the cream of the receivers corps -- Tulane's Jeremy Williams and Fresno State's Seyi Ajirotutu. They're different. Williams is more of a slot guy, while Ajirotutu is 6-4 and adept at catching the high balls. If there is another rookie who has a chance to win that final WR spot, it is probably Baylor product Ernest Smith."
Briles' Bear Blitz Luncheons Set
11:36 A.M., MONDAY, MAY 10, 2010
Head coach Art Briles will be making his annual summer trip across the state of Texas with five "Bear Blitz" Coaches luncheons in July and July. All events are sponsored by The Baylor Sports Network. Here's the "when" and "where" to find Coach Briles this summer:
June 11 (7:30 p.m.)
June 14 (Noon)
July 15 (Noon)
July 26 (7:30 p.m.)
July 27 (11:30 a.m.)
Fans can also catch Assistant Director of Football Operations Beau Trahan and Receivers Coach Kendal Briles at Serranos Cafe in Austin for the "Extra Point" Luncheon on May 21. You can register for any of these events online or call (866) 281-9444.
You still have a few more chances to watch it. The 30-minute special will re-air on FOX Sports Southwest: May 11 (2 p.m.), May 29 (4 p.m.), June 1 (1:30 p.m.), June 4 (4 p.m.) and June 14 (6 p.m.). FOX Sports Southwest is available to cable and satellite TV customers in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and parts of New Mexico. Satellite TV viewers living outside the Southwest region can watch FSSW on DirecTV channel 677 and Dish Network channel 416. You can also watch the Big 12 Showcase's Spring Wrap-Up, which features footage of Baylor's spring drills and the latest on RGIII's road to recovery.
ESPN.com's David Ubben provides three spring answers and three fall questions in his Baylor spring football wrap in his latest Big 12 blog Thursday.
Over the weekend, it was announced that two more former Bears signed NFL free agent contracts. Then, Danny Watkins was drafted fourth overall in the 2010 CFL Draft. Now, here's a media round-up of other former Baylor Bears and senior-to-be offensive tackle Watkins in the news:
WALTON, GETTIS IMPRESSIVE
During the Carolina Panthers' three-day minicamp last weekend, The Charlotte Observer's Charles Chandler commented on WR David Gettis' "extreme speed and quickness".
MEDIA COMMENTING ON SENIOR-TO-BE AND CFL-DRAFTEE, DANNY WATKINS
In the span of less than 13 months, two Baylor left tackles have been drafted with a top-five pick in a professional football draft - Jason Smith (No. 2 overall in 2009 NFL Draft) and now Watkins.
Just like Baylor, Canada believes in Watkins' potential, according to ESPNDallas' David Ubben. Vancouver Sun writer Mike Beamish thinks the B.C. Lions took arguably the best player - and a gamble - in the 2010 CFL Draft with Watkins.
THREE FORMER BEARS ON ARENA FOOTBALL ROSTERS
Nearly a week after the conclusion of the 2010 NFL Draft, two former Baylor football players join Joe Pawelek, Jason Lamb and Ernest Smith as Bears who have signed a contract as an undrafted free agent.
Weeks, who was the special teams captain as a senior in 2007, was offered the free agent deal after a tryout last week with the Texans. The deal is Weeks' first NFL contract. With the Texans not resigning unrestricted free agent, Bryan Pittman, who handled long snapping duties last year for the Texas, Weeks could push Joel Dreessen as the Texans primary deep snapper.
Bryant, who had 80 career tackles for the green and gold at nose tackle, will head to Atlanta as the Falcons signed the 6-2, 315 lb. lineman from Dallas.
UNDRAFTED FREE AGENT SIGNEES:
UNDRAFTED ROOKIES ATTENDING MINICAMPS: