Baylor Football: The Unsung Heroes of the Bears' 2011 Season
No one in the sports world would doubt the fact that Robert Griffin III is the best player Baylor University has ever seen and one of the most outstanding players in the game this season.
Yet, one player does not make a team.
The following is a list of the top players for the Bears and just how each made an impact on Baylor’s record-setting season.
Anyone who only saw the box score for the Alamo Bowl might think to himself that the 67 points were put up by Robert Griffin III launching scarily accurate passes to his wide receiving corps.
However, it was Terrance Ganaway who stole the show.
Rushing for 200 yards, including a momentum-changing 89-yard run, and five touchdowns against Washington, Ganaway was finally able to show his true potential on a national stage.
His season statistics are very impressive as well, racking up a total of 1,547 yards and 21 touchdowns.
He was the perfect complement for the Baylor offense this year.
He is a man that knows what to do with the football in his hands and has the capability of becoming a Jerome Bettis-like star at the next level.
It would be a crime to state that Kendall Wright is a backup or sidekick to Robert Griffin III, however, that is how he was viewed for most of this season.
Even after he threw a critical first-down pass to beat TCU, the nation just did not know this star wide receiver.
Even so, Wright did not falter in his play.
He was the go-to guy for Griffin and he rarely, if ever, dropped a touchdown pass.
It has since become a common sight to see Wright blowing past the opponent’s secondary with outstretched arms to catch the deep ball for a touchdown.
Piling up 1,663 yards this season and 14 touchdowns, Baylor’s best receiver in history placed in at an astounding No. 3 position in the nation for overall receiving yards.
With play similar to Pittsburgh Steelers star Mike Wallace, any NFL team in need of a speedy wide receiver should see the same benefits that helped Baylor win multiple games this season.
Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese
Behind Kendall Wright sat two explosive receivers who were critical to the Bears’ ability to win.
With a combined total of 1,834 yards this season, Terrance Williams (957 yards) and Tevin Reese (877 yards) were there for Baylor when Wright was double- or triple-covered.
These two very talented players placed in at a respective No. 5 and No. 7 ranking in the Big 12 for receiving yards and Williams can be found at No. 10 for receptions per game.
Any college football fan should remember when Baylor knocked off Oklahoma this season with the Heisman-worthy pass from Robert Griffin III with seconds left in the game.
Nevertheless, such an accomplishment would not have been possible without Williams’ reliable hands waiting in the end zone.
No, Ahmad Dixon was not a part of an elite defense and he did not rack up the most impressive statistics for Baylor this year. He was only the fourth-leading tackler for the team at 89.
That being said, the pure athletic ability of this sophomore and the leadership that he brought to the team were indisputable.
This safety did his best to pick up the slack for a rather poor secondary and was always there to make a big play for Baylor when he had the opportunity.
As this defense continues to improve, Dixon’s role will only continue to increase as he gets better with age.
If Dixon is the leader of the secondary, Coffey is the leader of the frontline and arguably the entire defense.
Coffey entered this season as a fourth-year senior and continued to put up huge numbers for this struggling defense. He brought in 114 total tackles and brought down two key interceptions.
Losing this young man will undoubtedly hurt the Bears next season, however, the impact that he has had on this team should last for a while.
When a player decides to become a nose tackle, he accepts the fact that he will not receive very much media attention.
With that comes the fact that excellent nose tackles can be very hard to come by.
Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, a former walk-on, is one of those excellent tackles.
Even though Baylor struggles against the run, this man puts his very best on the field at all times, recording 36 total tackles and four sacks.
His play has not gone unnoticed by all though, as he will be representing Baylor and the Big 12 in the 2012 Senior Bowl.