The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 45: Baylor’s Blake Lynch
AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.
The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team or in a unit is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2017 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.
It wasn’t that long ago that Blake Lynch was a member of one of the most dominant Texas high school football offenses this decade. Lynch accounted for 2,220 total yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior at Gilmer, leading the Buckeyes offense to an average of nearly 60 points per game and a 2014 Class 4A DII state championship. He was in Gilmer for less than a year after transferring in from Troup, but Lynch certainly left his mark. After winning the state championship, he opted to enroll in Baylor early and joined the Bears in January of 2015.
Lynch ended up redshirting his first year on campus, but caught touchdown passes in each of his first two appearances as a redshirt freshman last season – one against Northwestern State and one against rival SMU. He finished the year with 34 catches for 404 yards and three touchdowns before being forced to the sideline by a broken finger that required surgery.
In high school, Lynch was a dynamic athlete who could make his presence felt just about anywhere on the field. He saw time in the backfield at both quarterback and running back, as well as wide receiver and safety. That versatility paid off with the Bears, as Lynch was able to fill in at running back against Oklahoma last year and averaged just fewer than 10 yards per carry. As a receiver – where he’ll see the majority of his time as a sophomore this year – Lynch has the speed to make plays down the field, but also the size (6-foot-4) to be a reliable weapon in the red-zone.
Baylor has had some truly dynamic weapons on the perimeter of its offense ever since Lynch joined the program. Corey Coleman hauled in 1,363 yards and caught 20 touchdown passes to lead the Bears passing attack before being drafted No. 15 overall to the Cleveland Browns in 2015. Last year, it was KD Cannon (1,215 yards, 13 TDs) taking over the lead role with Ish Zamora (809 yards, 8 TDs) not far behind. Both of those players declared for the NFL draft, leaving a big hole in the spread attack. That’s where Lynch comes in. He’s waited patiently behind the stars for each of the last two seasons, and Chris Platt is the only other returning receiver that saw significant time last season. Lynch will have to be explosive and step up as the next big thing in Matt Rhule’s first season at Baylor.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.