Introducing the ODB 2012 Baylor Football Recruit Impact Rankings

WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 19: A general view of Floyd Casey Stadium before a game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Baylor Bears on November 19, 2011 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Now that the 2012 Baylor football recruiting class is finished (unless Briles and Bennett unearth another JUCO from under a rock in Georgia or convince some disgruntled wanderer to transfer), I've been searching for a novel way to introduce our 2012 football recruits other than just by position or recruiting ranking. I decided to do it the only way I knew how; by ranking them based on nothing more than speculation, opinion, and ... well that's about it.

When I sat down to do this, I knew only what I didn't want this to be: a simple rehashing of recruit rankings from paid services. Stars won't tell you how important a single recruit might be to a class or take into account the players that school already has or what its needs might be. A 4* WR recruit at a school with nobody who can catch a football might actually make a bigger impact than a 5* OL at a school that already has a dozen of them, for example. Unless the stars make a compelling argument for a kid's spot, I'm not going to mention them. I have a chart for that. I'm trying to rank our recruits by impact-- how much or how little each player will contribute to Baylor football and how quickly it will happen if it does. Time is definitely a factor here.

To build the suspense a little bit-- although I think most everyone already knows who #1 on this list will be-- I'm going to go in reverse order. This is purely my own opinion of how things will shake out from Baylor's 2012 class; you are all free to disagree. I actually encourage it. This is supposed to be something fun, not negative, and by ranking one player beneath or above another, I'm not trying to make value judgments of those players or their skills. I can and will be wrong. I'm not hating.

Before we get started, I've updated the 2012 Football Recruiting Breakdown chart with our newest recruits. That's where all of these guys will come from and if you notice, there are 25 names on the list. One of those names-- Cameron Bailey-- isn't going to appear in the rankings because he didn't sign with Baylor on NSD. That leaves 24 names, and those 24 break up quite conveniently into 6 groups of 4.

So without further ado, below the jump are numbers 24-21 on the inaugural ODB Baylor Football Recruit Impact Rankings!

24. Orion Stewart - S - Midway HS ( Waco, TX) – Along with 3 other names you’ll see on this list, Stewart was an extremely late addition to the 2012 class that committed to Baylor two days before NSD. At 6-1, 175 pounds, not a bad size for a project safety, Stewart will almost certainly redshirt in 2012 if he doesn’t actually greyshirt and go on scholarship in January 2013. As Coach Briles tells it, the story with Stewart is one of inexperience; Orion only recently devoted himself to football and is one of what I would call Baylor’s athletic lottery tickets in this class. Combine extreme rawness, a potential greyshirt, and the fact that Stewart plays safety (you’re going to see at least two safeties at or near the top of this list), and Orion lands in the 24th spot. I am hopeful that our coaching staff can, with time, turn an athlete into a football player, but I don’t expect a huge impact (relative to the rest of the class) from Stewart. Not for a good long while.

23. Terrence Singleton – QB/ATH – Port Arthur Memorial HS (Port Arthur, TX) – Putting the reigning 5A First-Team QB in the 23rd spot is going to get me some heat, but I just don’t see where Singleton fits for Baylor in the near future. People will bring up the fact that he led his team to the 5A state semifinals and a 13-2 record and compiled over 7000 yards and 78 TDs in his last two seasons. I get it. The stats are certainly there. But he’s 5-11, 175 and has questionable throwing mechanics (to my eyes), so I doubt he ever sees the field at QB except in garbage time or a wildcat set. Baylor already has a commitment for the 2013 class from one of the top QBs in the state and is rumored to be looking for another. I doubt Terrence will ever be higher than third on the depth chart at QB. If he is moved off—maybe to IR, CB, or S—then his path becomes easier, but he looks destined for a redshirt year and then adjustment to a completely new position.

22. Kaleb Moore – WR – Cypress Fair HS ( Cypress, TX) – Kaleb is the second lottery ticket on the list after Orion, more of a track star at this point than a football player. Briles noted specifically that Kaleb was a "24-foot long jumper, 47-foot triple, 6-8 high jump all as a junior," so the 5-11, 180 wideout oozes athleticism. Given what the staff has done with Tevin Reese, who came to Baylor in an eerily similar situation to Moore, I’m probably ranking him far too low. Again the possibility of a greyshirt rears its ugly head, as does the fact that Baylor is stacked at WR for the near future. This lottery ticket may well pay off just like Stewart, but it won’t be soon.

21. Lynx Hawthorne – WR – Refugio HS ( Refugio, TX) – Lynx has one advantage over almost all of the guys on this list and it’s not his membership on the All-Name Team: he is already on campus. As a midterm enrollee, he is eligible to go through spring drills with the team this year and will have a big leg up on his competition. Hawthorne (6-1, 185) played QB and WR in high school but will focus on WR at Baylor. I’m honestly torn about this one because Briles seems to love him (though he loves everyone) and getting on campus so early is a huge deal. Two things bother me: he played for a 2A HS where he was probably the best athlete on the field 100% of the time and he’s going to be a WR for Baylor, a position we’re pretty set at right now and will probably hit hard in the 2013 class. Maybe if we strike out on a few of the bigger names in 2013 Lynx will get a chance, but I don’t see a game-changer for Baylor. That’s probably why they don’t pay me to do this.

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