Baylor Football: Art Briles Developing Legitimate NFL Talent With Bears

By Jeff Kubiszyn

The Baylor Bears have been quietly building an impressive program the last five years. The evidence came to fruition during last weekend’s NFL Draft.

Cyril Richardson, Lache Seastrunk, Demetri Goodson, Tevin Reese and Ahmad Dixon were all selected in the draft.

Many schools have players drafted. That is not the point. The fact that athletes from a small school in the nondescript town of Waco, Tex. are being developed into NFL talent is.

Baylor has been playing football since 1898. The program has a win-loss record of 560-545-44. In its 115 years, the Bears have won just eight conference titles. The team has appeared in 20 bowl games, winning half of them. Mike Singletary was the only alum of note for many years.

By comparison, the Texas Longhorns’ program has 875 wins, 52 bowl game appearances, 32 conference titles and four national championships. Ex-Longhorns Earl Campbell, Kenneth Sims, Ricky Williams, Vince Young and Jamaal Charles are just few players who went on to star in the NFL.

When comparing the two programs, it looks like David vs. Goliath.

This makes the draft results all the more shocking. The final tally was Baylor five, Texas zero. Not a single Longhorn was drafted. College football fans should be just as impressed with Baylor’s success as they are dismayed with Texas’ goose egg.

One thing is for sure – athletes around the country have Baylor on their radar. High school players with NFL aspirations will give the program a second look. It seems head coach Art Briles has something good brewing in Waco.

The success of Robert Griffin III has been the catalyst for the program’s metamorphosis. Griffin followed Briles from the Houston Cougars to Baylor in 2008. It was here that Griffin excelled as a dual-threat quarterback and won the Heisman Trophy in 2011. His success suddenly made the long-time Southwest and Big 12 conference doormat relevant. Recruits are now coming to Baylor. The Bears have been trending up the national recruiting rankings, finishing 45th in 2012, 31st in 2013 and 35th in 2014. Griffin’s accomplishments, coupled with rising NFL stars Josh Gordon, Kendall Wright and Terrence Williams will continue to drive recruits to the Baylor program.

The defending Big 12 champs are the early favorites to repeat in 2014. Bryce Petty, Shock Linwood and an improving defense are ready to stake their claim as a perennial Big 12 powerhouse. And if things couldn’t look any rosier for Bears fans, the team will play in a new stadium this season. All of these recent achievements make Baylor a program on the rise.

The NFL has certainly taken notice.

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