Saturday’s home game against Texas Tech will mark the last time several Baylor players take the field in McLane Stadium. It’s a group that has had to endure changes within the coaching staff, schemes, and culture. A group that has been near the bottom of the conference and has competed for Big 12 titles. Obviously, each of the seniors deserve appreciate from the Baylor fanbase, but lets be honest, Jalen Pitre is arguably the most popular senior of all time.
I don’t keep up with recruiting as much as others, but after the Bears lost all of the 2017 class except Pitre, I remember naively thinking that he must have stayed committed to Baylor because it was likely the only P5 opportunity he would have. The implication being that he was not good enough to be a star at a P5 program. I could not have been more wrong. Pitre has been a solid contributor since arriving at Baylor, but it’s been the last two seasons where he has really become a legend.
Jalen had a total of 60 tackles after completing his first three years as a Bear. The crazy thing is his true-freshman season was arguably his best during that time. He only started 1 game in 2018 and was of course red-shirted in 2019, making the maximum 4 appearances. I remember thinking that the 2020 defensive depth chart looked pretty bleak, and wrote about how I thought the experience of Pitre could possibly help patch together a respectable defense. I had no idea how well he would excel in Ron Roberts scheme. Coach Roberts is making good use of his versatility by allowing him to play at all three levels of the defense. And the statistics are incredible. The past two seasons Jalen has racked up 117 tackles, eighteen TFLS, four INTs, and over a dozen pass deflections. It’s been a joy for fans to watch.
Pitre has one more chance to ball out in front of the home crowd on Saturday afternoon. There is potentially a lot more football to play in 2021, but no matter what happens the rest of the year, us fans will always remember him as someone who was an important part of not just one, but two rebuilds at Baylor.