By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Baylor football’s sophomore running back Richard Reese said he “learned that no matter what happens, I just have to keep pushing,” in 2022, his true freshman season.
“I didn’t know that I was going to come in as a freshman and start like that,” Reese said. “But in my head, I’m like, ‘I’m here, so I’m just going to do it and stick with it because it’s something that I love since I was little.'”
Reese took the field by storm last year. He racked up 972 yards, grabbing the Baylor record for most yards from a freshman on his way to winning the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.
Reese said he’s far from satisfied with the results of last year and the overall performance from him and the team, which went 6-7. He said he’s bulked up a bit since the beginning of the offseason, and is committed to grinding out spring ball.
“This year, I’m just working on getting bigger in size and just focusing on getting better as a team and as a whole, just working on the little things that matter,” Reese said. “It’s been good, it made a big difference. I was in the weight room and [it] made me eat more than I usually eat. I believed in it so I just stuck with the process and it came out good.”
Reese said he believes he knows what went wrong last season. The Bellville native said the squad wasn’t together and may have not always played as a unit. This year, he said he’s focused on playing the right way, starting with the running back room that he thinks is going to produce big in 2023.
“We’re going to be pretty good,” Reese said. “I’m the smallest, but it is what it is and I feel like we’re going to have a good outcome. [Qualan Jones and Dominic Richardson] have the size of our team, we’re going to be good.”
Junior running back Dominic Richardson, a transfer from Oklahoma State University, said he chose to come to Baylor because of the competition that he’d have with Reese for the starting role.
“I love competition, I love competing against the best,” Richardson said. “I know I had to come here and compete, be a teammate and learn from him because he has a lot of skills I don’t have. He’s really elite with his speed and his vision.”
This season, Reese will be under a new running backs coach, AJ Steward who was hired earlier this year as an assistant head coach. Steward and Reese said they have enjoyed working together and are excited to continue doing so.
“[Steward]’s a good coach,” Reese said. “He [is] teaching us the little things that matter in the plays and we’re just listening to him and he’s getting us better each day.”
Steward said Reese is “special” and he’s a down to earth guy. Steward said the potential for Reese is through the roof moving forward.
“If you just met him [Reese] on the street, you wouldn’t know he was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, [that almost] rushed for 1,000 yards,” Steward said. “His work ethic [and] his humility is unreal. It’s really encouraging working with him, it seems like I’m working with a guy who’s still trying to prove themselves, and I’m really excited about his future because of that.”