It didn’t take Trust Ebner a long Friday to determine his favorite comeback after five seasons at Baylor.
“Probably Iowa,” Ebner said with a smile. “Called for a conversation.”
Indeed, Ebner told teammates last September that Andrew Mavis in the third quarter started at McLain Stadium and was going to run the distance the other way. Moments later he caught a soccer ball outside the correct hashtags on his 2-yard line and started rolling.
Ebner leaned over to the middle of the field, made one sharp incision inside, and then found daylight to his left. When he pressed on the gas, the Cyclone lighting command was over. Darien Porter’s receiver may have gotten the fingertip of Ebner’s right ankle around Iowa State 30. But otherwise it was backlit stuff. Called and delivered.
It proved to be the main game in Baylor’s 31-29 victory and offered evidence of confidence, speed and vision that make Ebner dangerous. Now he will try to use these talents from the Chicago Bears.
Velus Jones was still a little back when he was asked to name a moment when he realized he had gifts as a return. Pop Warner, said Jones, is 10 years old in Alabama.
That’s when Jones, against a top-level opponent who, he said, had lost only the game in the previous half-decade, took a risk.
“The ball just rolled on the ground and I picked it up,” he said. “But I remember at some point I slowly picked it up so I could bring (the lighting team) a little more. Then I took it and knew I could get away with my speed. “
Jones used his blockers, found a hole and turned on the planes.
End zone. Touchdown. Celebration.
“I remember it as if it was yesterday,” he said. “I realized that the sky is the limit when it comes to this. Since then, I have just perfected my craft. ”
Now Jones will also be working to use those special skills to help him make his way into the NFL.
As the Bears slowly make their way to the starting line of the 2022 season, when the team reboots in many ways, a particular team fight between the two explosive newbies should be interesting to follow.
“It’s going to be an exciting competition,” Special Team Coordinator Richard Hightower said Saturday.
Yes, general manager Ryan Poles has drafted Jones and Ebner with a vision for each to play a significant role in the crime. But the achievements of the two players in the special teams were also circled and highlighted.
Last season, Tennessee Jones was the best player of the year in SEC special teams after scoring an average of 27.3 yards for a kickback from a starting strike, including a 96-yard touchdown landing from South Alabama. He was also dangerous as a returnee, finishing second in the Football Bowl division with 15.1 yards per return.
Meanwhile, Ebner during his career in Baylor scored three touchdowns in the starting strike, and last season was named the best player of the year in the special teams of 12.
Hightower was quick to point out that the Bears ’attempt to find a backlash would involve more than two newcomers. Race Khalil Herbert and wide receiver Byron Pringle have experience in the NFL in this role and they will watch. Others could join the battle.
But Ebner and Jones have something to like.
Ebner brings an aggressive mindset into the role and quickly discovered his strengths as a returnee.
“My vision is to find a hole and get into it, as well as the speed to pull it out,” he said.
Jones complements his bright speed with an impressive combination of physicality and fearlessness.
“I was never, ever afraid of contact,” he said. “Always run through the smoke. It’s part of my DNA. “
A prudent mentality is also part of Jones ’posting. So while he wore №12 for the novice minicamp on the weekend, he has a desire to move to № 23. Yes, for Devin Hester.
“It would be nice to put that number up,” Jones said. “It will put a little pressure on me. But the kind of pressure you want. I just hope I can be half of what he was. ”
So are the bears.
While Jones and Ebner continue to stand on the ground. If the training camp is intensified in August, the two newcomers will have the opportunity to strengthen in special teams. Both are still striving for what lies ahead.