April 20, 2012

The Baylor Blitz

Within about 25 minutes of each other, Baylor saw two players (OL Danny Watkins and NT Phil Taylor) go in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. Taylor went No. 21 to Cleveland. Watkins went No. 23 Philadelphia.

Now, the Bears will not have that little time between its two likely No. 1 draft choices in quarterback Robert Griffin III and wide receiver Kendall Wright.

However, everything points to them going in the first round of the 2012 NFL that starts on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

As avid draft followers, you're probably seeing where these two could end up. With that in mind, yours truly will offer his mock draft.

QB Robert Griffin - First Round, No. 2, Washington Redskins: Shocking, right? When the Redskins made the deal with the St. Louis Rams to move up to the No. 2 pick in early March, that pretty much solidified the Heisman Trophy Winner's destination.

There was a little scuttlebutt about Indianapolis using the No. 1 overall pick on him, but that was more media driven because there's two months between the combine and draft and it needed something to talk about.

RG3 can make all the throws, his athletic ability speaks for itself and he will be a good ambassador for the franchise. It should be an interesting training camp.

Everything points to him being the starter. Will Mike Shanahan allow him to run like Cam Newton did with Carolina? We'll see.

WR Kendall Wright - First Round, No. 26, Houston Texans: Every mock draft believes K-dub is going in the latter half of the draft but that's about It. Wright could go as high as No. 19 to Chicago and as low as No. 27 to New England.

But my belief is that he would be a really nice fit with Gary Kubiak. Consider this: The Texans leading pass catcher was tight end Owen Daniels with 54 catches. Your leading receiver shouldn't be your tight end. Also, Andre Johnson was nursing hamstring injuries and was limited to 33 receptions. This wide receiver corps needs more depth.

Houston's offense wasn't the same when quarterback Matt Schaub went down with a foot injury and left that team to scramble.

Wright could be a nice compliment to Johnson being lined up in the slot and be a matchup nightmare. His solid performance at Baylor's pro day on March 21 really changed his fortunes.

No. 6 Baylor's baseball team (32-7, 15-0) begins an important three-game weekend series with No. 2 Texas A&M (28-9, 9-3) Friday in College Station and carries with it a program-record 21-game winning streak. Saturday's and Sunday's game are in Waco.

At Olson Field, left-hander Josh Turley (5-0, 2.02 ERA) faces Aggie right-hander Michael Wacha (5-0, 2.42). Saturday at Baylor Ballpark, right-hander Trent Blank (8-0, 2.48) opposes A&M right-hander Ross Stripling (6-1, 2.82). Baylor has not named Sunday's starter. The Aggies are scheduled to pitch right-hander Rafael Pineda (5-1, 2.32).

Our Stephen Cook collected interviews with 1B Dan Evatt and LHP Josh Turley.

Josh Turley trying to stay perfect.

Dan Evatt anchoring the lineup.

As Baylor collected two commits in the last week with Katy athlete Keith Fulks and Mesquite Horn linebacker D.J. Green, the Bears coaching staff is recharging to hit the May evaluation period.

Most Texas high school football coaches are starting their spring football between April 23-30 for several reasons. They get around the TAKS test, the high school baseball regular season and the regional track meets.

About 25 recruits were at last week's controlled scrimmage at the Highers Complex. Several of the players that attended were Dallas Carter defensive backs Richard Conner, Joaquin Tucker and Richardson Pearce running back Kedron Banks.

All three of them are in the 5-7-5-9 range and weigh about 175. But all run about 4.4. Banks is more specific at 4.38. Neither of three has been offered but said he expects the Bears will send a coach by their schools during workouts.

Banks was a natural to come down with signee Corey Coleman. Banks was in the backfield as Coleman was dazzling elsewhere on the field.

"I like Baylor a lot and was impressed,'' Banks said. "I've been hearing a lot from Mississippi State and Michigan State. I'm probably going to go to Mississippi State's junior day at the end of the month. But I like talking to coach [Jim] Gush.''

By now you know Baylor's 2012 opener over the Labor Day weekend will not be held on the traditional Saturday.

The Bears and SMU will renew their old Southwest Conference rivalry and meet for the first time since 2005 when the Bears won at SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium, 28-23. The game was moved to Sunday, Sept. 2 at 5:30 p.m. and will be carried on Fox Sports Net.

This will be the 79th meeting between the two. SMU leads the series, 36-35-7. Keep in mind, these two have a series set up through 2019.

Last year, Baylor opened on Friday against TCU. SMU opened on Sunday at Texas A&M.
Baylor's game at Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 21 will be carried on ESPN or ESPN2. And look for the Sept. 15 game against Sam Houston State to be picked up by the school.

"The success of the program in recent years is yielding us tremendous national exposure and branding exposure,'' Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said. "We are excited that the nation will have chance to see Baylor football twice in September.''

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