Bailey Zappe ’20 and Jerreth Sterns, two former Houston Baptist University HBU football players, created history in the 2022 NFL Draft. This is cause for celebration for HBU, which has a lot to be thankful for.
You have major Big 12 teams that didn’t have players go in the draught this year, & you see a little, small Baptist institution come in & accomplish some things,” the analyst said. According to the head coach of the HBU football team, Victor Shealy, “That is not too terrible for a programme that is only eight years old.”
Shealy complimented both players on their performances in the draught and referred to their accomplishments as “a tremendous opportunity” for each of them.
When the New England Patriots selected Zappe in the fourth round of the NFL draught with the 137th overall choice, he became the first player ever from HBU to be drafted into the NFL. In the autumn of 2020, he was the most productive quarterback with in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). He earned Southland Conference Fall Player of year honors’ by completing 141 of 215 throws for 1,833 yards, 15 touchdowns, and only one interception over the course of four games. The native of Victoria, Texas passed for an astounding 458.25 yards per game, breaking the previous record held by Willie Totten of Mississippi Valley State, who had passed for 455.7 yards per game back in 1984. Zappe threw for 567 yards & four touchdowns while his team was defeated at Texas Tech by a score of 35-33. This was the most passing yards ever recorded by a quarterback from a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) school against an opponent from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school in the history of the NCAA. After his time at HBU, he finished with a total of 10,004 passing yards & 78 touchdowns. Zappe finished his career in Western Kentucky, where he established FBS record for single-season yards receiving with 5,967 & touchdowns with 62. He started his career at Houston Baptist University, where he played for four seasons.
After the 2022 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a chance on an undrafted free agent named Sterns and signed him to their team. This made Sterns the third player from HBU to sign with an NFL team. After playing for HBU for three years, he became the school’s all-time leader in receptions with 220, set a school record for yards with 1,971, and scored 18 touchdowns. The product of Waxahachie, Texas, tied a Southland Conference record with 18 reception versus UIW in 2019. He finished the season with 105 reception, which places him in second place all-time in the Southland Conference’s annals for receptions. Sterns concluded his career with Western Kentucky, when he won the “Triple Crown” by topping the FBS in reception, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. This achievement earned him the nickname “The Golden Receptionist.” He finished the year ranked 3rd all-time in FBS history in single season with 150 receptions, 1,902 yards, and 17 touchdowns, placing him in third place.
Caleb Johnson was the first player from HBU to sign a contract with an NFL team. He did so with the Chicago Bears after the 2021 draught, joining as undrafted free agent. Johnson went on to become the first Husky to reach a 53-man roster & participate in an NFL game.
Shealy thought it was intriguing that Caleb Johnson & Bailey Zappe arrived at the same moment. “It’s kind of interesting fact,” she remarked. “Caleb didn’t come back for his 5th year, whereas Bailey had decide to play his 5th year of college ball so those who ended up having left a year different apart. Who would have known while they were 18 years old arriving in the front gates as freshmen which years later they might have an opportunity to make their own marks? “For the fifth year in a row, Bailey elected to play college basketball.