Seniors’ marks etched in Bears’ history

Danny Watkins, No. 59 OT | Offense
Could be third BU OL chosen in NFL draft in last three years
Jay Finley No. 23 RB | Offense
1155 rush yards, needs 33 to set BU single-season record

By Tyler Alley

Baylor’s seniors will have one last game to wear the green and gold; they will have one last chance to showcase their abilities on the field and possibly earn their eighth win of this season.

Here is a recap a just few of the seniors who have made an impact.

Byron Landor transferred from Blinn Junior College two years ago. He started all 12 games at strong safety for the Bears this season. He had 115 total tackles, three being for loss. He also had an interception, a fumble recovery, five pass breakups and a forced fumble. At Sunday’s press conference Landor spoke on the meaning of the seniors finally notching a bowl victory.

Byron Landor, No. 14 S |Defense
Team-high 115 total tackles
1st team AP All-Big 12 pick
Derek Epperson, No. 38 P | Special Teams
Averaged 44.2 yards per punt
Honorable mention AP All-Big 12

“I know those guys have always talked to me and told me about all the things they have been through with different coaches and different transitions they have had to make,” Landor said.

Antonio Johnson started all 12 games this year at outside linebacker for the Bears. The Waco product has 41 solo tackles with 21 more assisted, five of those tackles being for loss. He also earned three sacks, an interception and a fumble forced this year. He was named a Coaches’ and AP Honorable Mention All-Big 12 for his efforts.

Jay Finley started all 12 games at tailback for the Baylor Bears this season, marking the first season he started the whole season. He has gained 1,155 yards on 183 attempts with 11 touchdowns this year, along with 76 yards on nine receptions. He earned an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 by the coaches and AP, and the Kansas City Star named him second team All-Big 12.

Phil Taylor, No. 98 DT | Defense
52 total tackles, seven for loss
2nd team AP All-Big 12 pick
Antonio Johnson, No. 7 LB | Defense
62 total tackles led all BU LBs

Finley has played in 45 games for the Bears while starting 22. He has amassed 2,597 yards and 21 touchdowns on 466 rushes, along with 416 yards and three touchdowns on 40 receptions. He nursed an ankle injury his junior year that limited him to only three starts in nine games. Finley is also a two-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’ Honor Roll. He graduated in May with a degree in general studies.

Phil Taylor transferred from Penn State in September 2008 and has started all 12 games for Baylor this season. He has 52 total tackles on the year, seven tackles for loss and two sacks. He also forced a fumble. Taylor was named second-team All-Big 12 by the AP, Coaches, and multiple news outlets. He is also projected by to be a second-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Danny Watkins, a native Canadian, transferred from Butte College, a junior college in California. He has started all 24 games as a Baylor Bear, and he has done very well after taking NFL draft pick Jason Smith’s position. Baylor’s offensive line this season ranks second in the Big 12 in fewest sacks allowed and third in rushing offense. Watkins has recorded 122 knockdowns on the season.

Watkins was named first team All-Big 12 by the AP and the Kansas City Star, and is a Coaches’ second team All-Big 12 pick. He is currently projected to be drafted in the late-second or early-third round by

Derek Epperson, from Southlake, has been Baylor’s punter for every game of his collegiate career. This season he ranks 21st in punting in the nation with a 44.2 yard average. He is a Ray Guy Award candidate and an All-American candidate. The Dallas Morning News also named him second-team All-Big 12, and he has earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 by the coaches and the Associated Press. Epperson could eventually join former Baylor punter Daniel Sepulveda in the NFL.