After a few years of telling people that Jalen Pitre is a superstar, it finally appears that all of the Baylor community has been proven correct by yet another media outlet. The Associated Press have just released their postseason awards for the Big 12, and you will be happy to know that it is littered with Baylor players and Dave Aranda receiving the praise that they have worked so hard to earn over the last calendar year.
Let’s take a quick look at who the AP has chosen from your beloved Bears to be represented on their 2021 All-Conference list, shall we?
Dave Aranda Big 12 coach of year and Jalen Pitre defensive player of year by AP.— John Werner (@JohnWernerTrib) December 9, 2021
Big 12 Coach of the Year - Dave Aranda
To the surprise of very few people, Dave Aranda has been selected at the AP Big 12 Coach of the year. The year-over-year turnaround for your Bears by the second year coach is one that will be incredibly hard to replicate. After a disappointing first season weighed down by the lingering effects of covid, Aranda walked into the new season looking to improve on the two wins notched by Baylor in the 2020 season. Boy did he. The Bears, if you didn’t know, finished the regular season with 10 wins, picked up an 11th win and a conference championship against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and have a chance to get a 12th win in the Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss.
Dave Aranda earned this award, and should be in the running for a handful more during his stay in Waco.
Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year - Jalen Pitre
In a storybook ending to one of the most beloved players in the history of Baylor, Jalen Pitre has been named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12. Anyone who watched an ounce of Baylor football this year should understand why. He was a menace all season. Pitre is also a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the best defensive back in college football. There is not a combination of words that can accurately sum up what Jalen has meant to this program over the last 5 years, but it is incredibly satisfying to see him get recognized for his on-field production as an added layer to everything else he has accomplished during his tenure at Baylor.
Other Bears Receiving Well Deserved Honors
First Team All-Conference
Offensive Tackle - Connor Galvin
All-Purpose, Trestan Ebner
Defensive Tackle - Siaki Ika
Linebacker - Terrel Bernard
Safety - Jalen Pitre
Second Team All-Conference
Running Back - Abram Smith
Center - Jacob Gall
Wide Receiver - Tyquan Thornton
What a year for your Baylor Bears! Eight players listed on the All-Conference teams and the Big 12 Coach of the Year is an impressive haul for a team that won just two games last season. The future is bright in Waco.