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Baylor QB Bryce Petty will be top-five pick in 2015, Briles says


In his first season as starting quarterback for Baylor, all Bryce Petty has done is guide the program to its first-ever Big 12 championship and BCS bowl.

But Bears head coach Art Briles expects even more from Petty next season as a redshirt senior, as he told the "College Football 24/7" podcast.

"Now we have a good feel how Bryce functions, what he can do, and next year I think he'll be phenomenal. I think he'll be a top-five pick in 2015, no question," Briles said.

NFL Media analyst Gil Brandt agrees with Briles, already ranking Petty (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) as the top senior-to-be quarterback with an eye towards the 2015 NFL Draft.

Petty was named Big 12 offensive player of the year Wednesday and made the first-team All-Big-12, joining Robert Griffin III from his Heisman Trophy-winning 2011 season as the only Baylor players to receive such honors.

Griffin was drafted No. 2 overall by the Washington Redskins in the 2012 NFL Draft after a redshirt junior season in which he threw for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns against six interceptions and rushed for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns.

With one game to go -- the Fiesta Bowl against UCF on Jan. 1 -- Petty has thrown for 3,844 yards and 30 touchdowns against just two interceptions and rushed for 11 touchdowns.

Such productivity has been a trademark of all of Briles' quarterbacks, going back to his work with Kevin Kolb and Case Keenum at Houston. Briles credits his 21 years coaching high school football for giving him the flexibility to adjust to what each quarterback does best.

With Petty, that has been highlighting his outstanding arm strength and accuracy with a vertically-oriented offense. Petty averaged 10.79 yards per pass attempt, while his top wide receivers Antway Goodley and Tevin Reese averaged 19.7 and 25.0 yards per reception respectively.

"That is something we take a lot of pride in," Briles said. "Whatever that individual is good at, that's what we try to structure our offense to. We've changed year in and year out. We'll be different even next year with Bryce Petty than what we were this year just cause he is going to come back with a year of experience. We were kind of in the experimental stage early on in this season with him."

With Petty leading the way as Baylor opens its new stadium, it will also give Briles a chance to meet the program's next goal, which is consistently winning double-digit games to solidify its national credibility.

"That's the next step for us as a program is maintaining, and then ... hitting that 1 or 2 (ranking) in there where it really gives you a chance to play for the national title," Briles said.

Baylor was nearly in that position this season, but for a loss on a cold night at Oklahoma State.

With Petty returning and Briles' trace record of success, Baylor will be a strong contender to make the inaugural four-team playoff.

Not bad for a program that that has undergone such a remarkable transformation that not even Briles can believe it sometimes.

Said Briles: "When we got there, we were just trying to be a respected, credible program and just get people when they played us to understand they were going to play 60 minutes, and six years later we've won the Big 12 outright."

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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