Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente among favorites for Baylor job

Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente has emerged as one of the top candidates to replace Matt Rhule as Baylor's head coach, sources confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

Fuente, 43, has a 33-20 record in four seasons with the Hokies, including an 8-5 record this past season. He was previously the head coach at Memphis from 2012 to 2015, with his teams going 26-23.

Fuente, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, might be Baylor's top choice to replace Rhule, who left last week to become the Carolina Panthers' head coach, sources told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday.

Rhule directed one of the biggest turnarounds in FBS history, guiding the Bears from a 1-11 mark in 2017 to an 11-3 record in 2019. The Bears reached the Big 12 championship game this past season and lost to Georgia 26-14 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Baylor interim coach Joey McGuire is a popular choice among Bears players to replace Rhule. McGuire was Baylor's tight ends coach in 2017-18, then was promoted to associate head coach and defensive ends coach this past season.

During a 14-year coaching career at Cedar Hill High School in Texas, McGuire's teams won three Class 5A state championships. His teams made 12 consecutive playoff appearances after the program had failed to win a playoff game before his arrival. He has never been a college head coach.

Sources told ESPN that Boise State coach Bryan Harsin and Louisiana's Billy Napier are also candidates to become Baylor's coach.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Chris Low contributed to this report.