New redshirt rule gives players more opportunities for success

Photo credit: MJ Routh

By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer

The NCAA Division I Council of football announced a new redshirt rule in June that allows a player to play in four games and still have the ability to be redshirted, maintaining a year of eligibility. In the past, players were allowed no more than one game before losing their redshirt status.

This new rule could change the way coaches determine lineups for games, where recruits choose to commit to, all while giving younger players more experience to prove themselves without burning their redshirt freshman year.

According to the NCAA , college football players are able to participate in four games in a season without using a season of competition. The athletes are alotted five years to play in up to four seasons. The new exception will also allow players to “preserve a season of competition if, for example, injuries or other factors result in them competing in a small number of games.”

When it comes to Baylor, the team acquired many freshmen of whom the coaches have talked about proving themselves in camp. Notable offensive freshmen include several offensive players such as wide receivers Josh Fleeks, Tyquan Thornton, Kalon Barnes and Jackson Gleeson, as well as quarterback Gerry Bohanon.

Wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson said he is excited to have this young group of receivers and with the new redshirt rule, he can play them multiple games in order to gain experience, without causing them to lose a year of eligibility.

“Tyquan, he’s going to be a special player to develop. He does everything that we ask him to do, just all those guys: Kalon, Jackson, Fleeks – all these guys are fast and explosive,” Jackson said. “This is the fastest young group of guys I’ve ever had in my coaching career.”

With the depth at wide receiver as well, just about all of the players could get playing time to show the coaching staff how good they truly are.

Head coach Matt Rhule said setting up the depth chart could be an interesting conversation this season due to the new rule since no one’s spot was secured and the new rule could result in discussions on who would play.

“We have a standard of how we’re going to play and if you’re not, in terms of the effort and preparation, you’re not doing that, you won’t start no matter what you did last year,” Rhule said. “As you guys know the new redshirt rule and all that, I think it will be unique. We’ll have a lot of interesting conversations.”

When it comes to recruiting, freshmen might choose a different school than they normally would knowing they could get some valuable experience and games on tape early on. In the past, that would rarely occur and if they did not play, then transferring would be an option if they didn’t want to wait.

Defensive secondary coach Evan Cooper said this redshirt rule change could benefit the Bears’ younger players, help them gain more knowledge about the game and would also help the entire squad.

“You get four games no matter where the games are. Some guys will be starters in some of those games,” Cooper said. “Some guys can just contribute early in the season. I don’t know how much it will affect recruiting, but it will help our team, help them to gain some experience and also redshirt, so it will help.”

Baylor is working out their depth chart right now before their season opener on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. when the Bears take on ACU at McLane Stadium.