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More Preseason Hype
2:27 P.M., TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2011


Last Friday, Phil Steele released his preseason all-conference and All-American teams. Eight Bears racked up preseason All-Big 12 honors from Phil Steele. Recently, three more national publications have hit the newsstands. Here's a rundown of how Baylor fared in Athlon Sports, Lindy's and Sporting News preseason college football previews:

Athlon Sports (Ranking: 7th in Big 12, 47th nationally)
Five Bears were named to Athlon's All-Big 12 teams - QB Robert Griffin III was Baylor's lone first-team All-Big 12 representative; DE Tevin Elliott was named to the second team, while IR Kendall Wright, C Philip Blake and OL Cyril Richardson earned third-team recognition.

RG3 was named a third-team All-American and ranked No. 10 on Athlon's "Heisman Watch." Athlon also rated Baylor as the Big 12's top QBs unit (third nationally) and the nation's eighth-best WRs unit.

Athlon on Baylor: "To take the next step, the offense has to find a go-to back, and the defense has to make huge strides in (Phil) Bennett's first year as coordinator...The Bears possess a dangerous offense with the return of QB Robert Griffin III and a deep receiving corps. Although the offense can score with the best in the Big 12, the defense has to show improvement. New coordinator Phil Bennett was a great hire, but it may be a year before results are noticed. But as long as Griffin III stays healthy, the Bears will go bowling in 2011."

Lindy's (Ranking: 7th in Big 12, 34th nationally)
Three Bears earned All-Big 12 second-team recognition by Lindy's: Wright, Blake and Elliott. Yes, no RG3. However, Griffin III was listed as the nation's seventh-best QB; Wright is tabbed as sixth-best WR nationally. RG3 was named the Big 12's "Best Scrambler."

Lindy's on Baylor: "The Bears could have a memorable season since Griffin III is back to lead an explosive offense, especially if the defense improves significantly. Bottom line: Baylor should improve on its breakthrough 7-6 season that ended with a 38-14 loss to Illinois in the Texas Bowl...Griffin III will put up big numbers and the Bears make a second straight bowl appearance."

Sporting News (Ranking: 6th in Big 12)
Elliott was named first-team All-Big 12, while RG3 was tabbed both the Big 12's "Best Athlete" and "Best Running QB."

BAYLOR'S 2011 PRESEASON HONORS

Philip Blake
All-Big 12, second team (Lindy's)
All-Big 12, second team (Phil Steele)
All-Big 12, third team (Athlon)

Chance Casey
All-Big 12, fourth team (Phil Steele)

Josh Gordon
All-Big 12, third team (Phil Steele)

Tevin Elliott
All-Big 12, first team (Sporting News)
All-Big 12, second team (Athlon)
All-Big 12, second team (Lindy's)
All-Big 12, fourth team (Phil Steele)

Robert Griffin III
All-American, third team (Athlon)
All-Big 12, first team (Athlon)
All-Big 12, third team (Phil Steele)
Big 12 "Best Athlete" (Sporting News)
Big 12 "Best Running QB" (Sporting News)
Big 12 "Best Scrambler" (Lindy's)

Robert T. Griffin
All-Big 12, third team (Phil Steele)

Aaron Jones
All-Big 12, third team (Phil Steele)

Cyril Richardson
All-Big 12, third team (Athlon)
All-Spring Team (Rivals.com)

Kendall Wright
All-Big 12, second team (Lindy's)
All-Big 12, second team (Phil Steele)
All-Big 12, third team (Athlon)

For football updates, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Football (@BUFootball).


Eight Bears Land on Phil Steele's All-Big 12 Teams
10:45 A.M., FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011


Robert Griffin III is one of eight Bears listed on Phil Steele's Preseason All-Big 12 teams.

Phil Steele's 2011 College Football Preview hits newsstands Tuesday, June 7, but he announced his preseason all-conference and All-American teams Friday. Eight Baylor Bears were named to one of Steele's four preseason All-Big 12 squads.

While no Bears earned first-team status, seniors Kendall Wright and Philip Blake represented Baylor on the second team. QB Robert Griffin III, WR Josh Gordon, OG Robert T. Griffin and PK Aaron Jones made the third team; DL Tevin Elliott and CB Chance Casey round out Baylor's preseason All-Big 12 picks on the fourth team.

Last season, RG3 and Wright were named to Phil Steele's All-Big 12 second team, while Gordon collected third-team honors. Casey and Blake were both Midseason All-Big 12 third-team selections; Jones (second team) and Elliott (third team) were both named Steele's Freshman All-Americans.

For football updates, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Football (@BUFootball).


Watkins' Lockout Plans? Finish His Degree
11:48 A.M., FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2011


With the lockout still ongoing, Watkins plans to return to Baylor to finish his degree.

Because of the ongoing NFL lockout, Danny Watkins, the 23rd overall selection by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2011 NFL Draft, returned to his hometown of Kelowna, B.C., this month. In an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Watkins says he plans to attend summer school at Baylor to finish up his degree in general studies.

Watkins on finishing his degree: "One day, my kid's gonna ask me if school's important, and I'm gonna say, 'Well, yeah of course.' I don't want him to say, 'Well, you never graduated.' I want to be able to hang something on the wall and explain to him how it's important."

For football updates, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Football (@BUFootball).


10 Football Players Set to Graduate Saturday
10:49 A.M., FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2011


2011 NFL draft pick Phil Taylor one of 10 Bears set to graduate Saturday.

Fifty-three (53) Baylor student-athletes are scheduled to graduate this weekend during Spring Commencement exercises at the Ferrell Center...and 10 of them are current or former football players: Krys Buerck, Elliot Coffey, Hunter Hightower, Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, Ahmad Jenkins, Byron Landor, Clifton Odom, Zac Scotton, Phil Taylor and Stacey Williams.

Three of the 10 - Coffey, Jean-Baptise and Scotton - will be seniors athletically for the 2011 season, anchoring Baylor's defense. The defensive trio joins December 2010 graduates, QB Robert Griffin III and RB Terrance Ganaway. The biggest graduate of all is Taylor, who was selected 21st overall in last month's NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.

Congratulations to all the graduates this weekend and thanks for representing the green and gold so well!

Sic 'Em, Graduates!

For football updates, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Football (@BUFootball).


Richardson Named to Rivals.com All-Spring Team
12:10 P.M., TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011

With the conclusion of spring football, Rivals.com's Tom Dienhart unveiled his annual All-Spring Team Tuesday. Sophomore OL Cyril Richardson was named to the Rivals.com's All-Spring Offense and was one of four Big 12 players to make the 24-player team.

At 6-5 and 315 pounds, Richardson moved from guard to left tackle to replace NFL first-round pick Danny Watkins, who went 23rd overall to Philadelphia in last month's NFL Draft. Fourth-year Baylor head coach Art Briles says Richardson can be as good as Jason Smith - the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft - and Watkins.

A third-year sophomore offensive lineman, Richardson was awarded 2010 Big 12 All-Freshman honors as a redshirt freshman. He was also a fifth-team Postseason All-Freshman selection by Phil Steele. He played in 12 of 13 games, making four starts at guard. He totaled 63 knockdowns and averaged a coach's grade of 80.5. Baylor's offensive line ranked third in the Big 12 and 24th nationally in rushing (194.6 ypg) and fourth in the conference in sacks allowed (1.54 per game).

For football updates, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Football (@BUFootball).


Baker, Finley Selected On Final Day of NFL Draft
11:11 A.M., SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Central  |  All-Time Baylor NFL Draft Picks Get Acrobat Reader

On the final day of 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall, two more Baylor Bears heard their name called Saturday, bringing to four the total number of Bears drafted in 2011. DB Mikail Baker and RB Jay Finley were both selected in the seventh round - Baker went No. 216 overall to the St. Louis Rams, while Finley went 246 to the Cincinnati Bengals. Baker and Finley join Phil Taylor and Danny Watkins who were both drafted during Round 1 Thursday.

Baker rejoins former Baylor teammate Jason Smith, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. Baker was one of three defensive players taken by the Rams during the final day of the Draft. The Baylor grad spent six seasons in Waco, including two injury-plagued campaigns. However, Baker, who runs a 4.3 40-yard dash, is best known as the school's career leader in kick return yards. St. Louis head coach Steve Spagnuolo found Baker's size and speed intriguing:

"He was a receiver and returner early in his career and this year he kind of blossomed coming off a knee injury as a cornerback and a little of safety...I think it's all ahead of him, in front of him. Hopefully, there's a lot of potential there and we'll tap into it and get a good player."

Baker was also asked about being teammates with Smith:

"Me and Jason have been playing for a lot of years, before we even got to Baylor. We were both raised in Dallas and we were in the same district for four years. I mean for three years, I played against him. He played for W.T. White and I played for Skyline, so I've known Jason for a long time....He's also a converted player. When I first got (to Baylor), we were both on the offensive side of the ball. He played tight end, I played receiver, but Jason couldn't catch a cold so that's why he played tackle."

Baker is the 16th Baylor player drafted by the Cleveland/Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams.

During Baylor's record-setting 2010 season, Finley set the school's single-season rushing record with 1,218 yards and tearing off 6.2 yards-per-carry. He also set the school's single-game rushing mark with 250 yards in Baylor's 47-42 Homecoming win over Kansas State. Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis was very complimentary of Finley:

"He really has been productive. He's got the ability to catch and run with the ball. Really what we were looking for was a guy that would show some versatility and abilities out of the backfield that we thought would be a good complement in our offense going forward."

Finley is the fifth Baylor player drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, joining Bill Glass (1980), Andrew Melontree (1980), Gary Don Johnson (1980) and James Francis (1990).

The four Baylor draft picks are the most since 1996 when five Bears were drafted - Daryl Gardener (Round 1, Miami), LaCurtis Jones (Round 4, Miami), Fred Miller (Round 5, St. Louis), Gary Bandy (Round 5, Atlanta) and Adrian Robinson (Round 7, Indianapolis).

MORE ON WATKINS, TAYLOR
Draft Photo Gallery | Watkins Visits Museum | Reaction: Phil Taylor | Reaction: Danny Watkins

Danny Watkins
and Phil Taylor made their debuts with their respective NFL teams Friday. Both have made good first impressions on their new cities.

For football updates, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Football (@BUFootball).

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