Oregon State's BJ Baylor, Pac-12's leading rusher in 2021, declares for NFL Draft
After a superb 2021 season, Oregon State running back BJ Baylor is headed to the NFL.
Baylor declared for the NFL Draft on Tuesday, announcing the news on Twitter. The Texas native could have returned for a sixth year with the program because of the NCAA’s eligibility freeze last year in the face of COVID, but won’t need it. The dynamic back is ready for the next level.
Thank you Beaver nation everything.🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/Q05hCLjl53
— Bj Baylor (@FTF_Prez) December 28, 2021
“To my brothers—I’m thankful for the incredible memories, keeping me accountable, and believing in me. I’m going to miss every single one of you because the bonds we built will never be broken,” he wrote. “I want to thank all the coaches that were with me through my five years at OSU for giving me an opportunity to achieve my goal. To the fans, thanks for all your passion and support throughout the years.”
After a redshirt season in 2017, his first on campus, Baylor played in 28 games over the next three seasons but he only got 81 carries (2.9 per game). He had a 74-yard touchdown run in 2019 against Cal Poly, ending the day with his first 100-yard game of his career and showing flashes of what he could do, but had to wait his turn in 2020 with Jeramy Jefferson running hard and running well (143 yards per game, 6.5 yards per carry).
The 2021 season was the reward for hard work and patience: Baylor exploded and led the Pac-12 in rushing. He piled up 1,336 yards and 13 scores at 5.9 yards per carry. Only three backs in the league had more scores, and UCLA’s Brittain Brown was the only player in the conference with at least 100 carries who sported a better per-play clip. He’ll leave Corvallis with a career 5.6 yards-per-carry average and 18 scores.
Baylor is the third OSU player to declare for the draft in recent weeks, joining linebacker Avery Roberts and tight end Teagan Quitoriano.