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July 24, 2012

Big 12 Media Days: Second chances

DALLAS -- Bears coach Art Briles had his first opportunity to address the transfer of wide receiver Darryl Stonum from Michigan at Tuesday's Big 12 Media Days, and provided a spirited defense of his new player who at first glance brings a decent amount of baggage because of alcohol-related incidents.

Speaking to a gaggle of reporters at the Westin Galleria, Briles was quick to defend Baylor and Stonum. Stonum didn't play last season for the Wolverines, but it's not for two drunken driving arrests, the second in May 2011, that has been reported by media outlets in Michigan.

Stonum was dismissed from the Wolverines after violating his probation in January for not having his driver's license - days after Michigan beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. And the second arrest in May 2011 was an OWVI (Operating While Visibly Intoxicated) which is a lesser offense than OWI (Operating While Intoxicated).

Briles said he and his football operations guys did their due diligence before adding Stonum to what is already a deep receiving corps.

"The thing about the Michigan kid," Briles said, "He's a Texas kid that went up there and graduated. It's been reported that he's had some DUI issues. That's not really the case. He was actually under age driving a car but not over the limit. It's not a DUI offense. Then he got let go for violating his probation which was driving with an expired license.

"But we're happy to get him. He's a one-hitter quitter. He's right there. He's a free agent. And we've got him from August to December. What he does from that time is up to him."

Briles was asked if Stonum will be motivated by being able to make amends for his dismissal from Michigan.

"Make amends, I don't know?" Briles said. "What somebody views as wrong might not be what somebody else views as wrong. All I know is he went to college. He graduated. He has an opportunity to help Baylor football. He better relish that opportunity or it won't happen for him."

Briles sees the addition of Stonum as low risk. Baylor is deep at wide receiver just beginning with the starting quartet of Terrance Williams, Lanear Sampson, Tevin Reese and Levi Norwood. Stonum caught 76 passes for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons at Michigan (2008-10).

"It's not a situation where we said, 'hey you're going to come in here and play for us,'" Briles said. "It's a situation where we said, 'you can come here. We've got some guys that are pretty darn good.' It's going to be tough to get on the field and he understands that situation."

Any other Penn State players?

It appears Baylor will always be linked to potential Penn State transfers with nose guard Phil Taylor four years ago and defensive end Shawn Oakman this year.

"We've got three coaches that are connected to Penn State - Brian Norwood, Chris Achuff and Cal Lowry," Briles said. "They all coached or played there."

Briles was asked by reporters if Baylor is interested any other potential Penn State transfers, in light of the NCAA punishment that was handed down Thursday.

"Am I supposed to be honest?" Briles said.

He was then asked if that was a yes. "I think so."

Baylor has been said to be looking at Nittany Lions defensive tackle Jordan Hill, though no one on the coaching staff has confirmed that.

Briles said Baylor's first obligation is to respect the victims in the Penn State sage and then to respect the Nittany Lions coaches and players.

After that, it's fair game.

Still don't know about Oakman

Briles also was asked if Penn State transfer Shawn Oakman will be eligible to play this season. The defensive end transferred to Baylor before the Penn State sanctions were announced on Thursday by the NCAA.

"No info on Shawn as of this morning," Briles said. "He has four years left, so it's not critical. It would certainly help if he can play."

Baylor could use depth at defensive end, at the 6-9, 270-pound Oakman certainly fills a need.

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