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Thursday, March 7, 2013
Big shoes to fill: Baylor Bears

By David Ubben

We're moving on with a new series today looking at the players across the Big 12 who have to replace program legends. We might as well call this the Nick Florence Memorial team, but today we'll tackle his old team, the Baylor Bears.

Big shoes to fill: Baylor's defensive tackles

We've talked about filling Florence's shoes, and even those left behind by Terrance Williams and Lanear Sampson. We're looking a little closer at Baylor today, and I'm staring right at the front of Baylor's defense. Both defensive tackles, Nick Johnson and Gary Mason Jr. are gone, and Baylor's left with a hole in the front of the defense that only about 600 pounds can fill.

Smart money is on rising sophomore reserves Beau Blackshear and Trevor Clemons-Valdez stepping up to replace Mason and Johnson. Clemons-Valdez made four starts a year ago and should be a strong replacement, and the duo combined to make 21 tackles a season ago, including a tackle for loss from Blackshear and a fumble recovery from Clemons-Valdez. Baylor's trying to build its defense, but if it starts getting gashed up front, any development elsewhere will ultimately be for naught. Filling those emptied spots is paramount this spring.

See more shoes to fill.