January 27, 2014

What Sunday meant

Perhaps Sunday's junior day at Baylor signaled a change on how Baylor is approaching this event.

Now that the program is in a better competitive spot, there may be the belief that it didn't have to reign in X-number of commitments to feel like it was a productive day. But this program still did have one.

About 50 2015, 2016 and 2017 prospects from around Texas and the region spent their Sunday afternoon in Waco. But from spending some time with the recruits, you come away with the impression that Baylor was in a more comfortable position. The staff wasn't antsy to close.

Baylor hosted arguably the best group of prospects that have ever visited this campus at one time. Remember, 10 members of the Rivals 2015 250 attended. So to try and push for any of those commitments might have been viewed as an act of panic.


Baylor likely doesn't feel like that anymore. Given how several of the recruits reacted to the visits, relationships continued to be fortified. And if Baylor is going to secure the commitment of these types of prospects, it's going to have go along for the ride.

By no means will Baylor secure them all, but it could be in a better position for the primary targets including Ennis defensive end James Lockhart and Rockwall running back Chris Warren.

Plus, this program was in a better position with the 2015 class than it was for the 2014 class.

Going into this junior day, Baylor already had four commitments in Blake Lynch, Ronnie Major, Chad President and Devontre Stricklin, who committed on Jan. 24. Before the 2013 junior day, Baylor had none.

Then again, this program has more to sell. Instgram after Instagram picture of recruits on campus featured them standing next to Baylor's 2013 Big 12 trophy. That's tangible. It has a $260 million stadium that will be ready this fall. That's tangible. There is the academic support network that will help the students accomplish academic goals. That's tangible.

Said Plano West RB Soso Jamabo: "Wonderful. I love the coaches. So the fact that I came back a second time and still had fun with the coaches really shows how much fun they are.''

Fort Bend Ridge Point LB Cameron Townsend said he has a better feeling about Baylor now that he visited. That's also true for Flower Mound Marcus offensive lineman Keaton Sutherland.

With Lockhart: "They said they will be patient with me...It's just a humbling honor that these coaches think of me like that.''

In some respects, this appears to be a shift in Baylor's recruiting philosophy. In Art Briles' first few four seasons, he had to rely on players that other programs didn't view as BCS worthy for a particular position or BCS worthy at all.

Baylor will still search for that type of player. But it's also now in a place where can compete for a higher level of player.

There are the recent notable victories in Andrew Billings, Robbie Rhodes, Davion Hall and Corey Coleman. The 2015 commitments of Lynch and President, which are already in the Rivals 250, demonstrate the shift. The competition for these recruits will be much more intense.

A measure of strategic patience will be needed as this program enters a new era of recruiting.



 

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