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  04/27/21 - DT Siaki IkarJr/2023, Baylor

  It's quite evident that Baylor's defense is significantly ahead of the offense since new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes has just started installing the parts this spring. But Saturday's Green and Gold game at McLane Stadium showed that it isn't just a bevy of returning players who could make the defense one of the best in the Big 12 this fall. The Bears now have massive 6-4, 350-pound noseguard Siaki "Apu" Ika plugging the middle. The LSU sophomore transfer made his presence known in the intrasquad scrimmage as he burrowed through Baylor's offensive line to nail running back Qualan Jones for a safety while wreaking havoc on many other plays. "That's a force," said Baylor running back Abram Smith. "I ran into him today. He shot the A (gap) and hit me in the backfield. And I couldn't get away."

Ika began to show his talents on LSU's 2019 championship team in a backup noseguard role under then defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. After playing in only four games last season, Ika entered the transfer portal and decided to reunite with Aranda at Baylor. Joining a defense packed with veteran linebackers and defensive backs, Ika's presence in the middle will occupy blockers and free up Baylor's other defensive linemen to make plays. "I love Apu and his energy, I love his smile, I love his heart," Aranda said. "He knows the structure of the defense and the run fits. He knows protection and he's been able to tutor people on the sidelines. I know our guys respect him, not only how he plays, but he carries himself in such a way that they see where he's headed." - Waco Tribune Herald

rJr/2023 DT Siaki IkaBaylor
News Source: Waco Tribune Herald

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