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Pitre, Ika, Ebner & Galvin highlight Baylor's Big 12 Awards

December 2, 2021
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IRVING, Texas – Baylor football earned four 2021 Big 12 individual awards and placed seven on the All-Big 12 First and Second Teams, as announced by the conference office on Thursday.

Senior DB Jalen Pitre was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, senior KR/PR Trestan Ebner received Special Teams Player of the Year, senior OL Connor Galvin garnered Offensive Lineman of the Year honors, and sophomore DL Siaki Ika was named Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

Pitre led the league with 15.5 tackles for loss as part of his 63 total tackles on the year. He also added three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and five pass breakups. A Jim Thorpe Award finalist, Pitre is the nation’s only player to record at least three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and two interceptions in 2021. He joins James Lynch (2019) and Andrew Billings (2015) as the only Bears to be named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Ebner ranked fourth in the Big 12 in all-purpose yards per game with 133.8 and tallied 603 total return yards on the season. His 98-yard kick return for a touchdown against Iowa State earned him Special Teams Player of the Week honors. After garnering the 2020 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year award, Ebner becomes the third player in conference history to earn consecutive Special Teams Player of the Year honors since the award was added in 2005. He is BU’s second winner, joining Daniel Sepulveda (2006).

Galvin started all 12 games for the Bears at left tackle and led BU’s O-Line unit that was named a Joe Moore Award Semifinalist. His performance has been crucial in revamping Baylor’s ground game as the Bears have increased their rushing output by 152% from last season in averaging 227.4 yards per game, up from 90.3 yards per game in 2020. Galvin and BU led the conference and ranked ninth nationally with just 12 sacks allowed. He is the third Bear to collect Offensive Lineman of the Year recognition, joining Spencer Drango (2014, 2015) and Cyril Richardson (2012, 2013).

In his first season at Baylor, Ika has been a stalwart on the defensive front, recording 15 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. He has totaled four quarterback hurries, deflected one pass and constantly freed up holes for the BU defense. Ika is Baylor’s first Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year award recipient.

Along with Ebner, Galvin and Pitre, senior LB Terrel Bernard was named to the All-Big 12 First Team. Bernard leads the Bears with 76 total tackles and ranks seventh in the league with 6.9 tackles per game. He has contributed 10.0 tackles for loss and added five sacks, moving up Baylor’s all-time leaderboard to fifth in career sacks with 14. Bernard earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors on Nov. 15, after his performance against Oklahoma. His four career Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week awards are the most in program history.

Senior RB Abram Smith and senior WR Tyquan Thornton joined Ika on the All-Big 12 Second Team. Smith’s 1,366 rushing yards are the second-most in the conference and seventh-best in the nation. He has also scored 12 rushing touchdowns. Thornton has tallied 875 receiving yards, good for third in the Big 12, and added eight TDs, a career high.

Additionally, 12 players earned honorable mention distinction in junior QB Gerry Bohanon, junior LB Dillon Doyle, sophomore DL TJ Franklin, senior OL Jacob Gall, senior DL Cole Maxwell, senior DB Christian Morgan, senior OL Xavier Newman-Johnson, junior TE Ben Sims, senior WR R.J. Sneed and senior DB JT Woods. Gall received votes for Offensive Newcomer of the Year, Ika received votes for Defensive Lineman of the Year and Smith received votes for Offensive Player of the Year, contributing to BU’s honorable mention total.

For the latest news on the Baylor football team, follow its official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts: @BUFootball.

2021 BIG 12 AWARDS

Defensive Player of the Year
Jalen Pitre, Defensive Back, Sr.

Special Teams Player of the Year
Trestan Ebner, Kick Returner/Punt Returner, Sr.

Offensive Lineman of the Year
Connor Galvin, Left Tackle, Sr.

Defensive Newcomer of the Year
Siaki Ika, Defensive Line, So.

All-Big 12 First Team
Terrel Bernard, Linebacker, Sr.
Trestan Ebner, Kick Returner/Punt Returner, Sr.
Connor Galvin, Offensive Line, Sr.
Jalen Pitre, Defensive Back, Sr.

All-Big 12 Second Team
Siaki Ika, Defensive Line, So.
Abram Smith, Running Back, Sr.
Tyquan Thornton, Wide Receiver, Sr.

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention
Gerry Bohanon, Quarterback, Jr.
Dillon Doyle, Linebacker, Jr.
TJ Franklin, Defensive Line, Jr.
Jacob Gall, Offensive Line, Sr.
Cole Maxwell, Defensive Line, Sr.
Christian Morgan, Defensive Back, Sr.
Xavier Newman-Johnson, Offensive Line, Sr.
Ben Sims, Tight End, Jr.
R.J. Sneed, Wide Receiver, Sr.
JT Woods, Defensive Back, Sr.

Honorable Mention Individual Awards
Jacob Gall, Offensive Line, Sr. – Received votes for Offensive Newcomer of the Year
Siaki Ika, Defensive Line, So. – Received votes for Defensive Lineman of the Year
Abram Smith, Running Back, Sr. – Received votes for Offensive Player of the Year

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Pitre, Ika, Ebner & Galvin highlight Baylor's Big 12 Awards

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