Most college football teams have their share of “fan favorite “players. Whether because of a recruiting backstory or just a gritty player that everyone can relate to, each school has their individual players that are more celebrated than others. This year, Baylor will have two candidates worthy of that kind of attention.
Jalen Pitre’s story is well known. He was the only player a part of the 2017 recruiting class that decided to stick with Baylor, even amidst a coaching regime change. And although he wasn’t the highest recruited player, he has looked solid his first 3 years with the Bears, He has recorded 60 tackles throughout his career, including during his 2019 redshirt campaign. In 2020, the Bears will need him to be even better. And with the losses of Clay Johnston, Jordan Williams, and Blake Lynch, Jalen Pitre will suddenly be one of the more experienced guys on the defense. He will most certainly have to take on a more leadership role.
Joining Jalen as a fan favorite will be wide receiver Gavin Holmes. One of the few bright spots of the 2017 season was watching the young freshman make big plays throughout the year. Unfortunately, the momentum has been postponed due to severe injuries, but that hasn’t made Holmes stop working. It’s pretty incredible that he now finds himself as a starter for the season opener. To come back from two season ending injuries and battle it out with some stiff competition is not as easy task. As a freshman he showed speed, toughness, and the ability to make the tough catch. He earned a single digit and I personally can’t wait to see what his encore season will look like.
In today’s college football landscape, players like Jalen Pitre and Gavin Holmes are rare. Neither one is playing for the coach that recruited them. There’s been multiple season- ending injuries, red-shirt years, coaching changes, and of course a 1-win season. A lot of players would just transfer in hopes that a new scenery could rejuvenate a career. But on Saturday afternoon (hopefully) two players who have never had it easy will get a chance to remind fans of what they are capable of.