The biggest thing to know going forward is that there is a mandatory NCAA dead period for football recruiting between December 17 and January 3, 2013. A "dead period" is defined as follows:
During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.
For us that basically means no visits of any kind for about two weeks.
Right now, the biggest two recruiting weekends for Baylor in January are set for the 18th and 25th. The way Baylor typically does things is that most of the current commitments that have not taken an official visit yet do so on those weekends in order to bond with future teammates, reaffirm decisions, etc. Baylor will also attempt to bring in any top uncommitted targets for those weekends in the hopes that peer pressure and the presence of committed recruits helps sway the target to choose the Bears. Everyone basically does the same thing, and getting someone in on one of those weekends is considered a big plus.
As far as Baylor's 2013 class goes, we're now sitting squarely at 21 recruits in the 2013 class including 4 JUCO players in OG Simo Kulmaviita, OT Tyler Edwards, LB Brian Nance, and TE Gus Penning. Because those four are all enrolling at semester, they will actually count back to Baylor's 2012 class, but I don't think that means we'll have any more spots available than we expected. We're probably looking at 4, maybe 5 spots left in this class. It's worth noting that a recruit from 2012, WR Kiante Griffin, did not enroll anywhere in the first semester this year and is planning on coming to Baylor in January. That will give him normal eligibility in every respect and he will be a member of the 2013 class.
One thing to watch going forward is the efforts by the school to our south to remedy the recruiting woes they've experienced in the very short term. Coming off the decommitments of RB Kyle Hicks (to TCU) and Durham Smythe (uncommitted so far), UT may be increasing the width of their net and looking to steal a few commits for themselves. They've already offered-but-not-really one of our commits, RB Johnny Jefferson, and they may be close to doing the same with another, WR Kyle Fulks. UT sent OC Major Applewhite to Fulks' school to talk with him where, in a hilarious set of events, Coaches Briles and Buckels were there to meet him.
A few weeks ago I wrote my "Final 5" post talking about a dream end to Baylor's class. So far, that dream is not coming to fruition. One of the recruits in that group, 4* OG Caleb Benenoch, committed to UCLA earlier this month. Another, 4/5* JUCO DT Lavon Hooks, eliminated Baylor in the last few days and will probably go to the SEC. As far as I know, DT Ge'Monee Brown has yet to receive an offer from Baylor but may in line to get one should our other JUCO options not work out. Yet another on my list, QB Nick Marshall, is apparently no longer being recruited by Baylor due to character questions, but it is possible that we revisit the situation soon since his main other option, Kansas State, recently received a commitment from a different JUCO QB. Keep an eye on that.
The last recruit in my dream final five is 4* Waco DT Andrew Billings, whose recruitment has been somewhat of a circus in the last month or so. Twice Billings has been rumored to be close to a decision with none announced. Both times, the rumors seemed to stem from contact with his high school coach until they were shot down by his father. The latest info has him not deciding until possibly late January, and he is rumored to be visiting Baylor for the weekend of the 18th, which I've already told you is a pretty big deal. As of right now, it's a showdown between Baylor and UT for the talented DT with both sides saying they believe themselves in the lead. Hopefully, UT's recent defections and overall program instability help sway him to Baylor. Until something happens and he actually commits, we probably just won't know.
This week, Baylor welcomed two more JUCO prospects to campus for midweek visits, both of whom qualify as what my dad would call "big uglies." The first to visit was Devonte Danzey, the #1-ranked JUCO OG in the country and a player that has received more attention than he probably expected due to the Tommy Tuberville dine-and-dash story last week. He is being recruited as a center by both Baylor and Texas Tech and would likely step right in to the position vacated by Ivory Wade. Few schools offer as strong a recent tradition at the center position as Baylor, something I hope influences Danzey's decision. He has been offered and is reportedly visiting Auburn this weekend.
The second visitor this week was DT Edwin Delva from Lancaster, California. Delva holds offers from Kansas State (his presumed leader), Nebraska, Oregon State, and now Baylor. He spoke highly of his visit on twitter both during and after, so he may be one to watch. What he does also might impact whether Ge'Monee gets an offer as well as the situation with Demetrius Campbell, who may not qualify for admission until May.
Where else Baylor might go for the final spots in the 2013 class is basically a mystery at this point. We can speculate reasonably, I think, that they will continue to target the defensive line heavily until they get someone to shore up that unit, but other than that, it may be an issue of who makes the call first. One rumor that seems to be gaining traction says that 3/4* dual-threat QB Kenny Hill of Southlake, Texas may be looking around following the ascension of A&M QB Johnny Manziel. He's now been tied to Texas Tech, where Aggie OC Kliff Kingsbury is now taking over the program, Baylor, who recruited him heavily before he committed, and Oklahoma State, for whatever reason. Baylor hasn't been targeting a HS QB in this class since Chris Johnson committed, but I have to believe they'd take Hill if he wanted to make the switch.
Lastly, if you've ever wondered what the somewhat ancillary benefits to a bowl game might be, consider the recruiting potential of bringing targets in to watch pre-bowl practices. The players know that not everyone is practicing now, the school can play it up, and the coaches are able to showcase things in closed bowl practices that they might not in other contexts. Baylor is taking full advantage this year with an eye to 2014, welcoming two 4* safety teammates to practice today in Ed Paris and Brandon Simmons. Click on the links to see their offer lists, both of which are extremely impressive.
DECEMBER 17, 2012 UPDATE
According to SicEmSports.com, Baylor's Rivals site, the Bears are back down to 20 commits for this period following what is being termed a "mutual parting of ways" with JUCO OG Simo Kulmaviita. The split apparently occurred two weeks ago, about the same time Devonte Danzey appeared on our recruiting radar. Whether the two are related is unclear at this point, but I have a hard time believing they are not considering how short on space we are in this class.
Simo was one I was excited about for the potential to play early at either the RG spot being vacated by Cameron Kaufhold and Jake Jackson or LG should Cyril Richardson decide to go pro. Whether this means we feel good about getting Danzey or don't think Richardson is going to leave, I don't know. Danzey has been rumored to be slotted for the center position, so I'm not sure why his decision should matter. Either way, Simo's not coming.
DECEMBER 19, 2012 UPDATE
Travon Blanchard was offered by LSU tonight. He's not going to switch.
I intend to use this thread for updates as the information comes available, so check back!
DECEMBER 26, 2012 UPDATE
The #1-ranked receiver in the country by several publications is KD Cannon, a WR from Mount Pleasant, Texas. First, take a look at his twitter avatar. Next, check out something he tweeted on the 15th:
Me and my lovely mother 💘💞💖💕💓💗💚💜💙💛❤ twitter.com/IAmTheOne_9/st…— Kd Cannon (@IAmTheOne_9) December 16, 2012
I think we've got a pretty good shot.
Elsewhere, Rivals has confirmed that Andrew Billings will be visiting Baylor on 1/25 after taking in TCU on 1/11. He's already visited his other finalist, Texas, two weeks ago.
Getting Billings is becoming more important by the day as another JUCO DT target committed to a school not named Baylor. Edwin Delva became the latest commitment in Oregon State's 2013 class as of yesterday. Also committing yesterday was a big target on the offensive line in Devonte Danzey, the #1-ranked JUCO OG in the 2013 class. He's committed and signed, so he's off the board. At this point, offensive line wasn't a critical need remaining, but he's one I definitely would have liked to have.
The bad news may continue with our latest commit, JUCO DT Terell Brooks. Miami is reportedly hot on his tail and close to offering his fiancee to a volleyball scholarship. If they do that, he's likely gone.