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Baylor Leads League with Seven on Preseason All-Big 12 Team

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Baylor Leads League with Seven on Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Bears place four offensive players and three defensive standouts on team.

IRVING, Texas - Headlined by preseason Defensive Player of the Year Shawn Oakman, the Baylor football team placed a conference-best seven players on the 2015 Preseason All-Big 12 Team, the league office announced Wednesday.

Media representatives who cover the league chose a school-record tying four offensive players and a program-record three defensive players from Baylor's squad for the 30-man conference preseason team. The seven total selections tie the 2014 school record as well, surpassing the three selections BU had in 2009 and 2013.

Oakman enters 2015 as a returning All-American. Last season, he started all 13 games, while setting a BU single-season record with 11.0 sacks and he ranked 15th nationally (second in Big 12) at 0.85 sacks per-game. Oakman ranked top 10 nationally in tackles-for-loss (1.5 per-game, 10th) and fumbles recovered (three, 10th).

He tallied consensus first-team All-Big 12 honors by totaling 51 tackles (38 solo), 19.5 tackles for loss (-89 yards), 11.0 sacks (-73 yards), nine QB hurries, three PBUs, three forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered on season.

The Philadelphia product has already been recognized on three preseason watch lists, including the Bednarik, Rotary Lombardi and Nagurski Trophy lists.

This is the first year that a Baylor player has earned the preseason Defensive Player of the Year accolade. 

On the offensive side, tight end Tre’Von Armstead, wide receiver Corey Coleman, offensive lineman Spencer Drango and running back Shock Linwood give BU a quartet of players on the preseason team for a second straight year.

Armstead was the starting tight end in 2014, playing in all 13 games with six starts. He tallied 2014 All-Big 12 honorable mention accolades from the league’s coaches, after totaling five receptions for 62 yards and one TD on the season. The junior from Port Arthur, Texas, was a key blocker for Baylor’s top-ranked offensive unit.

Coleman played in the final 10 games, and started six, in his sophomore season. He garnered All-American honorable mention accolades and consensus All-Big 12 honors, while being a semifinalist for the 2014 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. In 2014, Coleman posted 1,119 yards and 11 TDs on 64 receptions. He ranked seventh nationally (second in Big 12) with 111.9 receiving yards/game, 12th nationally (first in Big 12) with 11 receiving TDs and 19th nationally (third in Big 12) with 1,119 receiving yards. He ranked third in the NCAA in receptions of 40 yards or longer (10) and fourth in 30 yards or longer (13). The Richardson, Texas, native accomplished all of the above, while sitting out the season’s first three games recovering from a hamstring injury. He is one of two Baylor receivers on the Biletnikoff preseason watch list.

Drango is a returning All-American and a two-time first team All-Big 12 honoree. He is slated to be a fourth-year starter at left tackle and has a team-high 35 career starts entering the 2015 season. A year ago, Drango, from Cedar Park, Texas, started all 13 games at left tackle to earn consensus 2014 All-America and unanimous first-team All-Big 12 honors. He was named the Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of Year, after leading an offensive line that powered BU’s running game to 215.5 yards per game (second in Big 12) and ranked fourth in the league with 1.85 average sacks allowed. Drango is already on three preseason watch lists, including the Outland, Rotary Lombardi and Wuerffel Trophy. He was also on the preseason All-Big 12 team a year ago.

Linwood, a running back, played in all 13 games and started 12 as a sophomore in 2014. He was recognized as an All-Big 12 performer, after tallying 1,252 yards and 16 TDs on 251 rushes (5.0 per-carry average). He also had seven receptions for 90 yards on the season. Linwood set a new BU record for rushing yards by a sophomore with 1,252 and ranked 16th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 16 rushing TDs. The Linden, Texas, native is on the preseason Maxwell list and All-Big 12 team for a second-straight season.

Joining Oakman on the defensive side, defensive tackle Andrew Billings and safety Orion Stewart give BU three defensive honorees for the first time in school history.

Billings, a returning All-Big 12 lineman, was the starting nose tackle for all 13 games during 2014. He totaled 37 tackles (26 solo, 11.5 for loss of 38 yards), 2.0 sacks, nine hurries and one forced fumble on the season. The Waco, Texas, product ranked 12th in the Big 12 (third on team) with 11.5 tackles for loss and led BU with nine QB hurries. In the lead up to the 2015 season, Billings has already been named to watch lists for the Bednarik Award, Rotary Lombardi Award, Nagurski and Outland trophies.

Stewart, a junior, started 12 of 13 games at down safety in 2014. He was named first team All-Big 12 by the Associated Press and Athlon, second team by Phil Steele and San Antonio Express News and honorable mention by the league’s coaches. Stewart tied for third in the Big 12 in interceptions with four and ranked 22nd in the league (sixth among DBs) in tackles-per-game (6.3). During his 2014 sophomore campaign, the Waco, Texas, native totaled 82 tackles (53 solo), four interceptions (68 return yards) and three PBUs on the season.

The media Preseason Big 12 Poll will be released on Thursday, followed by the annual Big 12 Football Media Days to be conducted in Dallas on Monday and Tuesday. Baylor will participate in Tuesday's portion of media days.

Baylor opens its 2015 season against SMU on Sept. 4 in Dallas.

Keep up with the Bears all season long by following @BUFootball on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

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