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Appreciating Travon Blanchard

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NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Baylor Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps no Baylor player made the leap Travon Blanchard made last season. Blanchard started every game and was a force in keeping the Bears defense stable as the team battled injuries.

With the switch to a 3-4, and the loss of Xavien Howard, the junior nickelback will be a key piece if the Bears hope to shock those who do not even have Baylor ranked in the top 25.

Blanchard finished the 2015 season on the Big 12 honorable mention list. In this interception off Baker Mayfield, he showed the instincts which could boost him to a higher list this season:

Blanchard also moves well for a nickelback. He doesn’t lose Mayfield after the explosive quarterback makes a move. Blanchard with the sack:

If Seth Russell decides to not enter a list of the Big 12’s best quarterbacks for some unexplained political reason, then after Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahommes is probably the league’s best. But Travon Blanchard made noise against the Red Raiders:

Blanchard also did well forcing fumbles. On the season he accounted for three forced fumbles. His work continued against Texas Tech:

Blanchard may not be Baylor’s best defensive player(he may though), but there’s a strong chance he’s the most important. If the Bears are aggressive, he’s the vital piece in many blitzing packages. If they drop back, he’s counted on to disrupt the passing game. He made a big stride in 2015, and he’s ready for 2016.