Oregon State RB coach AJ Steward departs for same position at Baylor
Oregon State running backs coach AJ Steward is leaving Corvallis to take over the same position on Dava Aranda’s staff at Baylor.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel broke the news on Tuesday. The Bears announced the addition shortly after. In Waco, Steward will also hold the title of Assistant Head Coach.
“My family and I are thrilled to be joining the Baylor Family,” Steward said in a statement. “We are grateful and honored for the opportunity to join Coach Dave Aranda’s staff and I am excited to work with this great group of student-athletes and coaches.”
— Baylor Football (@BUFootball) January 17, 2023
Steward came to Oregon State in 2021 after previous coaching stops at Arizona (2020), BYU (2018-19), and Rice (2014-17) — all as a running backs coach. In two years with the Beavers, he oversaw 1,000-yard rushers that ranked among the conference’s best.
BJ Baylor led the Pac-12 in rushing in 2021, posting 1,336 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards a tote.
When Baylor departed, the job opened up to a by-committee approach early in the season until freshman Damien Martinez took hold of the lead role and ran with it. Martinez finished fourth in the Pac-12 this past season with 982 yards and seven touchdowns, earning Freshman All-America honors and the Pac-12’s Offensive Freshman of the Year award for his efforts.
He closed the regular season with six straight 100-yard rushing efforts.
Martinez becomes a player to watch as coach Jonathan Smith looks to replace Steward on his Beaver staff. Steward recruited him to Corvallis as a 3-star prospect out of Lewisville, Texas — about 120 miles north of Baylor’s campus in Waco.
After a 10-3 campaign in 2022, Oregon State is looking for more in 2023. Keeping Martinez as a focal point of the offense will be a major goal of the offseason.