ARLINGTON, Texas — In the months since being named Baylor's starting quarterback, Blake Shapen has developed into a strong leader, Head Coach Dave Aranda said Wednesday at Big 12 Media Days.
During his opening press conference, Aranda detailed what went into the decision to make Shapen the starter back in April. Shapen replaced Gerry Bohanon, who started 11 games for the Bears before getting injured.
Bohanon then transferred to the University of South Florida to continue his college career.
Aranda said he struggled with the decision.
"I always look at people before I look at players," he said. "And I think in this one we had to look at who could be the better player for us and not really incorporate the person, which is just kind of the opposite of what I usually do. So it just became a very difficult thing."
Bohanon and Aranda were extremely close during the 2021 season. According to Aranda, there are still pictures of his kids with Bohanon on a wall at his house.
"I think with Gerry, there is no me without Gerry," Aranda said. "There is no last year without Gerry. There's none of that."
Now, Aranda is heading in a new direction, and he has been impressed with the way Shapen has stepped up to his new role as QB1.
"If there's a breaking point, it's probably right now," he said. "It's that time. So I think Blake has been called to the forefront with all that, and he's answered the call, man. I think it's just way cool because you have to put yourself in the position first and then from there you can pick the right words."
Shapen's teammate Ben Sims, a Baylor tight end, echoed Aranda's sentiment.
"Guys buy into what he says, who he is, what kind of person he is. Guys are following Blake. It's exciting times. I'm really excited to see Blake play this year," Sims said.
Shapen has starting experience in the Green and Gold. He played in the Bears' final two regular season games. Then, in the Big 12 Championship Game, he broke an AT&T Stadium record for most consecutive completed passes to start a game.
He finished the season with a 72 percent completion rate and five touchdowns, all of which came in his final two games.