Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles is rapidly earning a reputation as one of the top evaluators and developers of wide receiver talent, a fact that helped him earn a commitment from Houston (Texas) Elsik's Ishmael Zamora on Tuesday.
It was a big day for the 6'3, 201-pounder, as he had picked up an offer from the Texas Longhorns earlier in the day, a fact that was not enough to keep him from joining the Baylor class. A consensus four-star prospect, Zamora is rated as the no. 37 wide receiver nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings and the no. 33 player in Texas.
Baylor had offered just prior to his winning performance at the Texas state track meet, which quickly earned him offers from Colorado, Illinois, and Texas State in the following days, in addition to the Longhorns. He had previously held offers from Colorado State, Houston, Northern Colorado, SMU, and Houston, making him one of the most underrecruited four-star prospects in the state at the start of May.
One possible reason for being underrecruited? There's not a lot of pass-catching on Zamora's junior film -- much of it is spent as a perimeter blocker, with one look as an in-line tight end. In that capacity, he's willing, physical, and effective, so he should at least be an asset in the wide receiver screen game and in the perimeter run game as a player capable of setting the edge.
As a result, there's not nearly as much as a wide receiver. A reported 4.49 40 time, his work in the hurdles and the long jump, where he placed fifth, and a brief glimpse of his vertical ability seems to indicate there is some upside there, and there is some evidence of his ability to go up and get the football. Other than a couple of comeback routes, though, there's not a whole lot more, likely a function of the Elsik, which isn't exactly triple-option, but does appear run-heavy. As a junior, he caught only six passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Of course, he wouldn't have earned a four-star rating if he didn't possess significant upside, and that's what made Zamora a take for the Bears and so many other teams. Given Briles' track record, there's a strong chance he becomes an effective wide receiver in college, especially with a Baylor strength and conditioning program that has taken good athletes recently and turned them into great athletes.
The Elsik product is the ninth commitment in the Baylor class, which now ranks third in the Big 12 and 17 nationally. With his 90 rating, Zamora is tied with Ennis (Texas) running back Terence Williams for the second-highest rated recruit in the group.
With Texarkana (Texas) Liberty-Eylau athlete Davion Hall and Willis (Texas) wide receiver Chris Platt already members of the 2014 class and five-star signee Robbie Rhodes a member of the 2013 class, if the Bears manage to add Mount Pleasant (Texas) wide receiver Kd Cannon to the mix, as many expect, Baylor appears ready to field a fearsome wide receiver corps for years to come.