KD Cannon

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Matt Rhule manages to keep Baylor roster largely in place

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Barring any more changes in the days to come, Matt Rhule has managed to succeed in one of his first jobs at Baylor. That task is keeping the roster together. Consider that one mission accomplished following the announcement by one player confirming he will not be transferring to a new program in 2017.

Cornerback Jordan Tolbert, who had previously thought to be considering a transfer out of Waco, announced via Twitter he will in fact be staying put right where he is. The return of Tolbert will help keep the Baylor secondary with some solid depth in the new season even if he does not make a push for a starting job.

With Tolbert planning to stay put, it would appear Rhule will keep his inherited roster in place with one notable exception. Wide receiver KD Cannon previously announced his declaration to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, leaving Baylor a year early. He is the only player from Baylor set to leave the program early as Rhule gets settled in with his new staff. Now, the more challenging job becomes scratching together a recruiting class with just weeks to go until National Signing Day. According to Rivals, Baylor’s Class of 2017 currently holds eight commitments, highlighted by four-star New Jersey defensive back Harrison Hand (the other seven commitments all come from Texas). Baylor’s recruiting class was decimated as the school was being rocked by a scandal that led to the dismissal of former head coach Art Briles.

Helmet sticker to Reddit.

Coming off dominating bowl performance, Baylor WR KD Cannon declares for NFL draft

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KD Cannon‘s scintillating performance Tuesday night turned out to be his final act on the collegiate stage.

On his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, the Baylor wide receiver confirmed that he will forego his remaining eligibility and make himself available for the 2017 NFL draft. “Thank you, BAYLOR NATION, for always standing strong behind me and never giving up on this wonderful football program,” a portion of Cannon’s social media missive rad. “We have endured so much during the last couple of seasons and I am proud to say that my brothers and I kept our heads held high.”

Cannon set career highs this season in receptions (87), receiving yards (1,215) and receiving touchdowns (13). 14 of those receptions, 226 of the yards and two of the scores came in Baylor’s upset of Boise State in the Cactus Bowl last night.

For his three-year Bears career, Cannon finished with 195 catches for 3,113 yards and 27 touchdowns.

KD Cannon a thorn in Boise State’s side as Baylor takes Cactus Bowl

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Bowl games can often be completely separate animals from the regular season, and no one will prove that phenomenon more true this winter than Baylor. A team that arrived in Phoenix on a 6-game losing streak played like the Big 12 title contender many expected it to be, beating Boise State 31-12 in the Cactus Bowl.

Baylor playing like Baylor again started with getting the ball in the hands of the type of player that dominated games during the Bears’ salad days — wide receiver KD Cannon. The junior caught 14 passes for 226 yards and two crucial first half touchdowns — a 30-yarder to open the scoring in the first quarter and a 68-yard connection to stretch the lead to 14-3 with 12:14 to play in the half.

In addition to not covering Cannon, Boise State was undone by Brett Rypien‘s inability to hold on to the football inside scoring territory. The Broncos’ quarterback tossed first half two interceptions inside Baylor’s 5-yard line and lost a fumble at the Bears’ 16, ending any hopes of a comeback early in the fourth quarter. Rypien’s second pick came inside the end zone and led to an, ahem, controversial 99-yard drive for the Bears’ final score of the half.

Baylor was initially stopped at its own 21 but received new life when Drew Galitz drew a running into the kicker flag, a 5-yard penalty on a 4th-and-4, despite ESPN replays showing clearly no Boise State player actually touched Galitz. The flag stood, though, and JaMychal Hasty ended the 15-play march with a 5-yard scoring dash with 4:19 to play in the half.

Boise State added a second Tyler Rausa field goal, a 26-yard chip shot, to close the first half and opened the second half with a 13-play drive that ended on a turnover on downs when Bryan Harsin eschewed a third field goal try in favor of a fourth-and-goal pass that was broken up by defensive back Ryan Reid. Baylor answered with an un-Baylor-like 21-play drive culminating in a 34-yard Chris Callahan field goal at the 3:19 mark of the third quarter.

Baylor (7-6) closed the door for good after Rypien’s fumble with a 12-play, 71-yard drive that closed with a Zach Smith 14-yard scoring strike to Ishmael Zamora with 10:03 remaining. Smith played the best game of his young career, completing 28-of-39 passes for 375 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Terence Williams, receiving a full work load after Shock Linwood chose to stay home, toted 25 carries for 103 yards.

Rypien (31-of-50 for an even 300 yards) added a cosmetic score when he hit Cedrick Wilson for a 28-yard score with 1:20 to play. His 2-point pass was, fittingly, intercepted.

Playing in the final game of his Boise State careerJeremy McNichols posted a quiet night of 19 carries for 46 yards with five grabs for 24 more yards.

The loss for Boise State (10-3) was a rare one in a metropolitan area that hosted many of the orange and blue’s greatest moments over the past decade. The Broncos are 3-0 in Fiesta Bowls played at University of Phoenix Stadium in nearby Glendale, while Tuesday night’s loss came at Phoenix’s Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

KD Cannon promised Matt Rhule Baylor will beat Boise State in Cactus Bowl

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Baylor introduced new head coach Matt Rhule in a press conference setting today, and it would seem Rhule has already gotten some opportunities to speak to his new players in Waco. One player in particular delivered a promise to the new Bears head coach. Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon reportedly made a bowl game guarantee to Rhule.

Baylor started the season with a 6-0 record but dropped their last six games to enter the bowl season at just 6-6. The Broncos of Boise State finished the season with a 10-2 record and second in the Mountain Division behind Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference. Boise State has won six bowl game sin the last seven seasons between head coaches Chris Petersen (now at Washington) and Bryan Harsin.

Personally, I’m still trying to figure out how many people thought pairing Boise State and Baylor in a bowl game would be a good idea, considering the unfortunate story surrounding former Boise State and Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu. We can focus plenty on the non-controversial stuff leading up to the Cactus Bowl, but that is one story that cannot be totally overlooked either, especially given the current state of the Baylor football program.

Baylor and Boise State have never faced each other in football. The two will play in the Cactus Bowl in Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

KD Cannon, Baylor’s leading returning receiver, to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery

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Baylor’s 2016 recruiting class has already been obliterated, and the future at the quarterback position has fled Waco for good measure as well.  Now, it appears karma has its sights set on the current roster.

On Twitter Monday, KD Cannon confirmed that he would be undergoing some type of surgical procedure Tuesday.  Subsequent to that, 247Sports.com reported that the wide receiver will have arthroscopic surgery on one of his knees.  A BU spokesperson labeled the surgery as “minor.”

It’s believed Cannon sustained the injury during an offseason workout earlier this month.

There’s no timetable yet for a return, although the recruiting website stated that Cannon is expected to be recovered in time for the Sept. 2 opener against Northwestern State.

Last season, Cannon was second on the Bears in receptions (50) and receiving yards (868), and was third in receiving touchdowns (six).  With the departure of Biletnikoff Award winner Corey Coleman, he is BU’s leading returning receiver.