IRVING, Texas -- Baylor brought three players to Big 12 media days this week. The team's quarterback, Robert Griffin III, who missed the final nine games of the 2009 season after being named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 2008, wasn't one of them.
The team marketed its 2009 campaign around the star, and brought him to media days as a sophomore in 2009.
"I talked to Robert about coming today," coach Art Briles said. "You know, there's a lot of really good football players at Baylor University. Everybody knows Robert Griffin. A lot of people don't know [linebacker] Antonio Johnson -- that his nickname's 'Cuddy.' They don't know Danny Watkins, that he was a firefighter and a hockey player before he ever played football. They may not know about Phil Taylor, that he's a transfer from Penn State and that he's transformed himself into what we think he needs to be as a football player to contribute to our football team."
Taylor was voted Big 12 preseason Newcomer of the Year in 2009, an honor given to Colorado receiver Toney Clemons before this season. Taylor proved inconsistent and overweight, but he's lost 25 pounds this offseason and Briles hopes his defensive tackle can plug the middle of the defense more efficiently.
"He really didn't do the things he needed to do," Briles said. "So I told him this year, we're going to pass judgment after six ballgames. After six games, we'll see where he's at. I think I know where he's at, but I thought I knew a year ago, too, and I found out I wasn't as smart as I thought I was."
Watkins, the Bears' starting left tackle, had to turn down an offer from the Canadian Football League's British Columbia Lions, who drafted the lineman in May.
"Quite honestly, I wasn't concerned about him going to the CFL, even though he is from Canada," Briles said. "He understands where his potential could lead him, and that's going to be in the NFL. But first of all, being a great player for Baylor this fall."