The Baylor Bears continue to build on their on-field success with big victories in recruiting, becoming a serious threat to pass TCU and Oklahoma State while settling into the third spot in the Big 12 recruiting hierarchy. If things continue as they have been, the Bears could soon begin to challenge Oklahoma and Texas, as well as Texas A&M, for supremacy in recruiting in the state of Texas.
KD Cannon, Mount Pleasant (Texas) wide receiver
6'0 | 162 pounds | ***** | No. 4 wide receiver | No. 4 player in Texas
The US Army All-American pledged to Baylor August of 2013, choosing the Bears over numerous scholarship offers, including invitations to play at Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, among others.
Intent on joining the burgeoning reputation of Baylor as Wide Receiver U, Cannon is an elite deep threat who makes up for a lack of truly elite speed with his deceptive quickness -- he's clearly one of those receivers who eats up cushions faster than defenders anticipate. And though he's not the tallest receiver around, Cannon can elevate to high point the football and also has impressive body control.
Davion Hall, Texarkana (Texas) Liberty-Eylau wide receiver/safety
6'2 | 186 pounds | **** | No. 7 safety | No. 10 in player in Texas
The recruiting services list Hall at a position he may not end up playing if he makes it to Baylor because he's listed as a safety, but could play wide receiver in Waco -- joining what is becoming a significant list of top-flight wide receiver talent being brought to Baylor.
If Hall does end up on the defensive side of the ball, though, he would end up representing the latest in a growing line of top defensive prospects who have chosen to play their college football in green and gold. Other defensive standouts committed to Baylor include five-star defensive end Javonte Magee from the 2012 class as well as linebacker Brian Nance and defensive Andrew Billings in the 2013 group.
The difficulty may be in keeping Hall in the fold until Signing Day because he took a visit to Arkansas in early March and holds current offers from LSU and Texas A&M. While the latter two are both starting to fill up in the secondary in the 2014 class, Hall is a strong enough prospect that the Tigers and Aggies may continue to recruit Hall until there is no more room left.
The good news for Baylor, though, is that Hall has a relationship with Imani Wright -- a recruit that has signed to play women's basketball at Baylor.
Terence Williams, Ennis (Texas) athlete
6'2 | 218 pounds | **** | No. 18 athlete | No. 28 player in Texas
Currently slated to play running back at Baylor, Williams is listed as an athlete because he has the size to conceivably grow into a big linebacker, defensive end, or even an H-back.
Williams jumped on the chance to become a Bear at a Baylor Junior Day but, like Hall, the difficult task will be to keep Williams as a part of the class as he visited a TCU Junior Day and picked up on offer from the Horned Frogs in late February -- followed shortly thereafter by an invitation to play his college football at Texas A&M.
T'Kevin Rockwell, Wylie (Texas) linebacker
6'0 | 202 pounds | **** | No. 25 outside linebacker nationally | No. 35 player in Texas
The high school safety projects as a hybrid outside linebacker/safety in college, playing the role that was once inhabited by Ahmad Dixon before his move to a more pure safety position as a senior. Rockwell pledged to Baylor in June of 2013 over offers from Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas Tech, Virginia, and West Virginia, among others. T
hough Rockwell is undersized for the linebacker position, if he does end up playing a nickel role, his lack of height shouldn't be as important as his athleticism and pursuit ability, which are both elite or close to it. Excellent reactive quickness and lateral ability give Rockwell the range to get from sideline to sideline to make plays.
James David, Rockdale (Texas) linebacker
6'3 | 225 pounds | *** | no. 14 inside linebacker nationally | no. 40 player in Texas
The younger brother of two talented prospects who never made it to college (defensive lineman Logan and linebacker Derek), there are some concerns that the younger David may not qualify, but the Bears were willing to take his pledgeon June 11th. The athletic linebacker chose Baylor over offers from Houston, Oklahoma, South Carolina, TCU, and Washington.
One of the most physical linebackers in the state with an ideal frame for the position, David has started at Rockdale since his freshman season -- when he was more impressive than his older brother Derek in a game against Giddings. A possible defensive end in college or situational pass rusher, David has good range in pass coverage, showing solid instincts, change-of-direction ability, and understanding of how to impact passing lanes. Against the run, he has excellent closing skills and finishes with fantastic natural striking ability -- the kid is a wrecking ball.
Ishmael Zamora, Houston (Texas) Alief Elsik wide receiver
6'3 | 200 pounds | *** | No. 49 wide receiver nationally | No. 45 player in Texas
The track star who ran the 2013 Texas 5A 110-meter hurdles saw his recruitment take off during the spring and summer, earning offers from Illinois, TCU, and Utah, among others, before committing to Baylor in the middle of May. Zamora doesn't have a lot of pass-catching experience in high school, recording only five catches as a junior and 18 catches as a senior, but he is a willing, effective, and physical blocker on the edge and has the necessary athleticism with his 4.49 40 speed. It may take him some time to learn the nuances of the position in college, but if his pure ability is maximized, he has the talent to become another highly productive Baylor receiver.
Jarell Broxton, Scranton (Penn.) Lackawanna College offensive guard
6'6| 318 pounds | *** | No. 3 offensive guard in junior college | No. 3 junior college player in Pennsylvania
An early enrollee and junior college offensive tackle and guard, Broxton committed to Baylor in June of 2013 over finalist Wisconsin. He also held offers from Arizona State, Syracuse, and UCLA. Lackawanna liked to pull Broxton to get him in space, where his incredible punch allowed him to annihilate smaller defenders, though his athleticism is probably better suited for a role in smaller spaces in college.
Chris Sanders, Thatcher (Ariz.) Eastern Arizona Community College cornerback
6'1 | 185 pounds | *** | No. 15 junior college cornerback | No. 11 junior college player in Arizona
The former All-State product in Georgia spent a year with the Bulldogs before being dismissed for his involvement in the alleged theft of a teammate, then was dismissed from Georgia Military College as well. It didn't stop Utah from offering and now Sanders is back in major-college athletics after enrolling at Baylor for the spring semester. Quick feet and ideal height for the position make Sanders a candidate to contribute quickly for the Bears.
Grant Campbell, Bakersfield (Calif.) Bakersfield College linebacker
6'1 | 225 pounds | *** | No. 11 junior college inside linebacker | No. 60 junior college player in California
Another early enrollee for Baylor, Campbell chose the Bears in December after taking an official visit to California. After making more than 200 tackles in two years at Bakersfield, Campbell has a nose for the football, closing quickly in short spaces, while displaying an ability to recognize play-action passes to avoid taking false steps.
Tion Wright, Moorpark (Calif.) Moorpark College cornerback
5'9 | 170 pounds | *** | No. 26 junior college cornerback | No. 61 junior college player in California
A dead ringer for another former junior college cornerback at Baylor in KJ Morton, Wright is of a similar size and rock similar dreadlocks. Like Campbell, Wright chose Baylor over California and will bring his physicality to a position that needs some early contributors.
Chris Platt, Willis (Texas) wide receiver
5'11 | 180 pounds | *** | no. 82 WR | no. 81 player in Texas
Another prospect who committed in early February, Platt joined the Baylor recruiting class a day after Williams and Hall. He currently holds an offer from Texas Tech and attended a Junior Day in Lubbock, but he's not quite as hotly pursued before the start of the spring evaluation period as the previously-mentioned prospects in the Baylor class.
Josh Pelzel, Rockdale (Texas) offensive lineman
6'6 | 320 pounds | *** | no. 36 OG | no. 79 player in the state of Texas
A consensus three-star prospect, Pelzel committed to Baylor on May 1 to become the fifth pledge of the 2014 class. He picked the Bears over offers from Houston, Rice, Texas Tech, and Washington State. The decision was hardly a surprise, however, after he declared Baylor the leader back in February following a Junior Day in Waco.
A prospect for whom there are a number of weights, ranging from 280 on 247Sports to 320 on Scout to 334 pounds on Rivals, it's difficult from pictures to guess the actual number -- though he looks much closer to the 305 listed on his Hudl page.
Considered a guard by 247Sports, Rivals rates Pelzel as an offensive tackle and he does play on the right side for Rockdale. A certain amount of his eventual value in college will depend upon his ability to stay on the outside at the next level and, in that regard, Pelzel looks to have good mobility in space as a run blocker. It'll be his pass sets that will determine if he's a mobile guard or a right tackle at Baylor, though.
Cordell Dorsey, Abillene (Texas) Cooper linebacker
6'2 | 190 pounds | *** | No. 52 outside linebacker nationally | No. 85 player in Texas
Several months after picking up a Baylor offer at a Junior Day, Dorsey committed to the Bears on May 31, 2013, over offers from Oregon State, Texas State, Texas Tech, and Washington State. After playing linebacker as a junior, Dorsey was set to make the move to safety as a senior before missing nearly all of the season because of legal troubles. Still possessing a lean frame that does have room to fill out, Dorsey may be better suited as a space player because of his weight and looked comfortable moving in coverage in 7on7.
Jourdan Blake, Princeton (Texas) athlete
6'1 | 185 pounds | *** | No. 59 athlete nationally | No. 92 player in Texas
The dual-threat high school quarterback is headed to Baylor as a cornerback/athlete take after choosing the Bears over offers from Arizona State, Illinois, Oklahoma State, South Florida, and Tulsa. The 4.53 speed listed for Blake looks legitimate based on his open-field ability to run by defenders, so from a baseline athleticism standpoint, the Princeton product should at least have the physical attributes as he adjusts to playing backwards primarily instead of playing downhill as a runner.
Jordan Feuerbacher, Houston (Texas) Kingwood Park tight end
6'5 | 240 pounds | *** | No. 36 tight end | No. 98 player in Texas
Feuerbacher committed to the Bears in the middle of May despite offers from 11 other schools, including Illinois and Oregon State. Virginia offered days later.
The state of Texas hasn't been producing many top-tier tight ends in recent classes and many are converted wide receivers who have to grow into the position in college. Not so for Feuerbacher, who is experienced as an in-line blocker, where he shows good hand placement, persistence, and strength. Although he is not a superlative athlete, Fuerbacher is above-average for the tight end position and should have an impact in the passing game in college.
As a result, the Kingwood Park product is perhaps the top dual-threat prospect for Texas's class.
The Bears haven't emphasized the position much in recent years, despite running an offense with good balance for a spread team, so Feuerbacher has a chance to provide an element that head coach Art Briles has been missing in recent years.
Blake Blackmar, Houston (Texas) Clear Lake offensive guard
6'5 | 320 pounds | *** | No. 51 offensive guard nationally | No. 119 offensive guard nationally
Likely to play center or guard in college even though several schools told Blackmar he had a chance to play tackle, the Texas legacy held offers from Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas Tech, UCF, and Washington State before pledging to Baylor in June of 2013. Blackmar certainly has the size to lean on opponents, but he doesn't appear to be a natural bender or especially mobile, so the odds of him playing outside in college would seem to be minimal at best.
Verkedric Vaughns, Mesquite (Texas) Poteet cornerback
5'10 | 180 pounds | *** | No. 76 cornerback | No. 122 player in Texas
The former Arkansas State commit switched his pledge to Baylor several weeks after reopening his recruitment. Vaughns also held offers from Iowa and Northwestern, among others. A playmaker on offense, defense, and special teams, the versatility of Vaughns suggests his value to Poteet and while he won't be playing offense in Waco, Vaughns will be bringing his physicality against the run, his instincts with the ball in the air, and the same stop-start quickness that make him so explosive on offense.
Josh Malin, Schertz (Texas) Steele defensive end
6'5 | 250 pounds | *** | No. 47 strongside defensive end | No. 125 player in Texas
Despite the presence of former Steele head coach Mike Jinks on the Texas Tech coaching staff, Malin chose the Bears over an offer from the Red Raiders and offers from Missouri, Northwestern, and Oklahoma. The lanky defensive end rewarded the confidence of those schools with a strong senior season that saw him record five sacks and make 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Not a noted pass rusher, Malin is at his best holding the point of attack against the run.
Patrick Lawrence, Waxahachie (Texas) offensive tackle
6'5 | 255 pounds | *** | no. 102 offensive tackle nationally | no. 136 player in Texas
Lawrence committed to Baylor in May of 2013 over offers from Arizona State, Michigan State, Oregon State, Texas Tech, and others.
The prospect will need a redshirt season and may take some time to develop physically after that, but he's a true tackle with good feet and impressive ability to roll out of his hips explosively in the run game. Many prospects at his size wall and screen opponents as run blockers, but Lawrence collects pancakes and shows the necessary persistence to finish plays.
Devonte Jones, Houston (Texas) Bellaire offensive guard
6'4 | 295 pounds | *** | No. 70 offensive guard | No. 159 player in Texas
The first offer from Jones was enough to secure his commitment in April only two days after he received it. A guard in high school, Jones projects as a mobile guard in college and already does a solid job in pass protection as he spends some time at tackle with nice reactive body quickness. Inside, he can sit in his cylinder with the base to absorb opposing bull rushers.
Baylor offensive line coach Randy Clements has a proven track record of evaluating and developing offensive line talent that rivals Oklahoma State's Joe Wickline in the Big 12 conference, so recruits like Jones are more likely to be a result of good early evaluations by the Bears rather than questionable takes.
Xavier Jones, Magnolia (Texas) West defensive end
6'3 | 215 pounds | *** | no. 53 weakside defensive end | no. 177 player in Texas
Jones originally committed to Houston in March of 2013 after receiving his first offer from the Cougars, but decided to switch his pledge to Baylor less than two months later.
The defensive end has a quick first step off the edge that makes it difficult for opposing tackles to get their hands on him and he can finish at the quarterback with crushing hits. Jones is still a long way from contributing as a 4-3 defensive end, but he could see the field early as a pass-rushing specialist if the coaching staff decides that he needs to get on the field before he's ready to hold up against the run on early downs.
Greg Roberts, Nacogdoches (Texas) defensive end
6'5 | 201 pounds | ** | no. 81 weakside defensive end nationally | no. 295 player in Texas
There's no question that the Bears are taking a flier on Roberts, who doesn't report any other BCS offers. He acknowledged to ESPN radio that he'll probably redshirt and may even be in line for a grayshirt, depending on how the numbers work out in the Baylor class.
Grayshirting would provide him the chance to add some much-needed strength, as he's rather on the light side for a linebacker, much less a defensive end. At the moment, he appears to be much better against the run than the pass, as there isn't really any film evidence of him as a pass rusher. He can, however, play with good leverage and physicality despite his size and does a good job of hitting and separating, then using his reported 4.56 40 speed to close down on ballcarriers.
Chance Waz, Plugerville (Texas) Henderson safety
5'10 | 165 pounds | *** | No. 117 safety nationally | No. 176 player in Texas
The wild recruitment of Waz had the prolific Hendrickson tackler committed at times to Colorado and then Nebraska before he committed to Baylor on December 10, 2013, eight days after picking up his offer from the Bears. Utah was the other major program to offer, among several others. Waz made 112 tackles as a junior and while he doesn't possess any remarkable physical skills, he plays fast on the football field and capitalized on opportunities to get the football in his hands as a senior, a talent that has a chance to help make him a contributor in college.
Jamie Jacobs, Waco (Texas) Midway defensive end
6'4 | 210 pounds | *** | No. 73 weak side defensive end | No. 198 player in Texas
The May of 2013 commit chose the Bears over offers from Houston, Oregon State, and SMU. There are some flashes on film from Jacobs in terms of his closing ability from the edge as a pass rusher and the space awareness to undercut routes dropping into coverage. However, Roberts still has a long way to go physically and if the Bears are going to ask him to hold up at the point of attack instead of playing as an outside linebacker, he's going to have to adjust to playing in the trenches and going agains much bigger players.
Ira Lewis, Houston (Texas) Lamar defensive tackle
6'4 | 265 pounds | *** | No. 91 defensive tackle nationally | No. 206 player in Texas
The Bears flipped Lewis from Houston in June of 2013, shortly after offering. Boise State, New Mexico State, and SMU also offered. Lewis has a solid motor, even if he needs to add mass, and shows a rip move as an edge rusher and enough strength to be a penetrating threat despite playing rather light for a defensive tackle.
Blake Mahon, Coppell (Texas) tight end
6'5 | 226 pounds | *** | No. 64 tight end nationally | No. 228 player in Texas
A May of 2013 pledge, Mahon chose Baylor over Illinois, North Texas, Rice, and Rutgers. A willing blocker for Coppell, Mahon doesn't have much experience as a pass catcher and projects as a blocker in college, with H-back the most likely option if he sees the field in his first several years in Waco.
Andrew Morris, Mesquite (Texas) Horn defensive tackle
6'2 | 295 pounds | *** | No. 104 defensive tackle nationally | No. 261 player in Texas
Rice was the other school to offer Morrs when he committed to Baylor during the summer before his senior season. Morris carries his weight well and is at his best when standing up opponents at the line of scrimmage before separating to make plays against the run.
Stefan Beard, Austin (Texas) Westlake offensive guard
6'4 | 310 pounds | *** | No. 102 player offensive guard nationally | No. 262 player in Texas
When Beard committed in September of 2013, Baylor was his only offer. A pure guard in college, Beard does not have impressive punch, mobility, or overall body quickness or feet. If Beard is going to contribute at Baylor, he's going to have to overcome some deficiencies in athleticism.
Verbal commitments are non-binding and change frequently.
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