Baylor Football Recruiting 2014: National Signing Day Primer

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

With NSD now less than 48 hours away and Baylor's class likely complete for this cycle, it's time to take a look at our new Bears.

Unless something dramatic happens over the next couple of days, Baylor will welcome 18 new Bears into the fold on Wednesday as part of National Signing Day, the would-be holiday devoted to college football recruiting. Those 18 will join 7 already enrolled to make up Baylor's 2014 Recruiting Class, another major step forward for Art Briles and his staff.

Before I post the charts for offense and defense, I should counsel you against reading too much into recruiting rankings. There are simply too many variables, including when a recruit commits and to whom, where they were ranked initially (what I call "ranking inertia" exists, sadly), where they play, and who has offered, to say that any ranking is the be-all, end-all of what a recruit actually "is." That being said, these rankings are almost certainly the best info we have available as non-scout laymen/women, so we'll use them as we can.

I changed things up in this year's chart, which is viewable in its entirety here along with those of 2012 and 2013, by taking out the individual rankings for Rivals and Scout. I did that for a couple of reasons, namely that those rankings are already included in the 247Sports "Composite" score, and, simply put, I trust 247Sports the most.

In this year's class, Baylor has four Composite 4* or better recruits, another who is ranked 4* by 247Sports, and two more ranked 88 or better. 247 ranks our class 24th in the country at 25 total recruits, a slight rise from last year's class that ended 27th.

Baylor's 2014 Recruiting Class:

Offense Composite 247Sports
Name Position Class Size (HT/WT) HUDL Committed ***** Grade Nat. Rk St. Rk. Pos. Rk ***** Profile Grade Nat. Rk. St. Rk. Pos. Rk. Offers
Terence Williams RB FR 6-2, 218 X 4/24/2013 **** 90.8 230 28 18 (ATH) **** X 93 209 25 14 A&M, Tech
KD Cannon WR FR 6-0, 162 X 8/10/2013 ***** 98.5 30 4 4 **** X 97 42 4 5 Everyone
Davion Hall WR FR 6-3, 186 X 2/2/2013 **** 97.5 49 7 5 (ATH) **** X 97 56 6 7 Everyone
Ishmael Zamora WR FR 6-3, 201 X 5/21/2013 *** 88 361 45 49 **** X 95 102 12 16 UT, TCU, UH
Chris Platt WR FR 5-10.5, 170 X 2/3/2013 *** 86 596 74 83 *** X 88 51 66 Tech, KSU, KU, UH
Blake Mahon TE FR 6-5, 226 X 5/24/2013 *** 81.1 1643 227 62 *** X 81 191 61 Illinois, Rice, Rutgers
Jordan Feuerbacher TE FR 6-4.5, 240 X 5/11/2013 *** 85.1 764 99 36 *** X 87 85 22 Boise, Harvard, UVA
Devonte Jones OG FR 6-4, 295 X 4/20/2013 *** 82.7 1241 159 68 *** X 82 172 69 Baylor
Josh Pelzel OG FR 6-7, 330 X 5/1/2013 *** 85.9 634 76 36 *** X 87 80 40 Tech, WSU, Rice, UH
Blake Blackmar C FR 6-5, 320 X 6/1/2013 *** 84.2 959 119 49 *** X 85 114 49 KSU, Mizzou, Tech, UCF
Patrick Lawrence OT FR 6-5, 255 X 5/18/2013 *** 83.4 1103 135 103 *** X 83 156 109 ASU, MSU, Tech, WSU
Jarell Broxton OG JR 6-6, 318 X 7/15/2013 *** 86 71 (JUCO) 3 (PA) 3 (JUCO) *** X 87 89 3 4 Wisconsin, UCLA, ASU

QB -- Baylor decided not to take a QB in the 2014 class, instead pocketing that spot to (hopefully) take 2 in 2015. We're now slated to have 3 scholarship QBs on the roster in 2014 and either 3 or 4 in 2015, depending on this coming recruiting cycle.

RB -- Baylor received the commitment of Terence Williams fairly early in the cycle, then shut down recruiting for the most part the rest of the way. We flirted with a few smaller backs throughout the cycle, but nothing really came of it.

WR -- The clear "class" of the 2014 class is at the WR position, where Baylor pulled in 3 top-20 recruits (at their position) in Cannon, Hall, and Zamora. All the fourth member of the class, Chris Platt, has done in high school is win the 400m in 2011 and 2012 (I think). For my money, this is the best WR class in the country, with two players that should make immediate impacts in Hall and Cannon, and two more that could eventually play huge roles. Do not count out Chris Platt. He's a Tevin Reese starter kit if ever there was one, except he'll get to Baylor a much better player as a freshman than Tevin did. He also could weigh more than Tevin does right now.

TE -- We needed two TEs in this class after not taking one in 2013 and got them both early. I expect Feuerbacher will play immediately after enrolling in January alongside Hall, especially since we only have one scholarship TE on the roster otherwise. Mahon is more of a project player, but he has excellent size.

OL -- This is one of those situations where I think recruiting rankings can be deceptive. I tend to believe that coaching staffs offer players in order of preference and will not offer someone whose commitment they wouldn't accept at the time. This year, Baylor pulled all 4 of our HS OL commits relatively early in the cycle, basically ending the suspense of who we might get early. This despite rankings that are probably a bit disappointing considering our extremely strong recent OL tradition. At this point, I think we know better than to question our OL recruiting or development. I expect that Jarell Broxton will compete for immediate playing time at LG.

Defense Composite 247Sports
Name Position Class Size (HT/WT) HUDL Committed ***** Grade Nat. Rk St. Rk. Pos. Rk ***** Profile Grade Nat. Rk. St. Rk. Pos. Rk. Offers
Andrew Morris DT FR 6-2, 294 X 6/10/2013 *** 80 1850 260 106 ** X 78 269 109 Baylor, Rice
Josh Malin DT FR 6-4, 264 X 6/9/2013 *** 81.4 1536 205 92 *** X 84 148 68 Boise, UH, SMU, Wake
Ira Lewis DT/DE FR 6-5, 260 X 7/19/2013 *** 83.9 1023 123 27 (DE) *** X 82 170 64 OU, Mizzou, Tech
Xavier Jones DE FR 6-3, 215 X 5/14/2013 *** 83.1 1159 144 54 *** X 83 161 63 Baylor, UH
Jamie Jacobs OLB FR 6-4, 210 X 5/24/2013 *** 81.6 1492 198 72 *** X 81 190 71 OrSU, UH, SMU
Grant Campbell MLB/OLB JR 6-1, 225 X 12/16/2013 *** 81 193 (JUCO) 61 (CA) 9 (JUCO) *** X 81 186 57 11 Baylor, Cal
James David MLB FR 6-3, 225 X 6/10/2013 *** 88.3 360 44 13 *** X 89 44 20 OU, UW, USCe, TCU
T'Kevian Rockwell NB FR 6-1, 202 X 6/7/2013 **** 89.3 295 35 24 **** X 90 29 21 Mich, Tech, Neb, WVU
Jourdan Blake CB FR 6-1, 185 X 6/9/2013 *** 85.4 713 93 59 (ATH) *** X 85 125 84 ASU, OkSU, Illinois
Verkedric Vaughns CB FR 5-10, 180 X 8/10/2013 *** 83.9 1013 121 76 *** X 84 145 88 NWern, Iowa,
Chris Sanders CB JR 6-1. 185 X 12/16/2013 *** 83.4 127 (JUCO) 10 (AZ) 15 *** X 86 123 10 18 Baylor, Utah
Tion Wright CB SO 5-9, 170 X 12/16/2013 *** 80.6 203 (JUCO) 65 (CA) 26 *** X 80 201 60 25 Baylor, Cal
Chance Waz S FR 5-10, 165 X 12/10/2013 *** 82.3 1321 176 118 *** X 80 209 135 Neb, Utah, Colo

DT -- Possibly the biggest source of consternation among Baylor fans in this recruiting cycle. The Bears ended up with 3 recruits that project for the DT spot in Morris, Malin, and Lewis, two of whom (Morris and Lewis) were committed to Houston before flipping to us. The worry from Bears fans here comes from the fact that none of the three rank highly. All are projects that will need either weight or strength to play the position in the Big 12. Once again, though, Baylor offered and accepted commitments from all three players relatively early in the cycle, so they must have been guys we wanted to have. I'm not sure if that will help when we eventually missed on others like Zaycoven Henderson (who ended up at A&M after committing to 4 schools in 2 days). All three of our DT recruits should redshirt in 2014.

DE -- Baylor wrangled 1 DE in this class in Xavier Jones, whose high school coach is none other than former Bear Shawn Bell. It's possible that Ira Lewis plays DE in college as he did in high school, or Jamie Jacobs spins down after he gains a bit of weight in Kaz' system, but we can't be sure. Jones is a clear-cut DE.

OLB -- With Cordell Dorsey's status remaining in limbo, Baylor has 2 should-be OLBs in this class in Jamie Jacobs (from Midway HS in Waco) and Grant Campbell. Campbell will compete for immediate playing time with 2013's Raaquan Davis and Xavier Phillips. Jacobs will need a redshirt year.

MLB -- Baylor wanted James David. Baylor got James David. This could be a position to watch in the closing days of the cycle just in case the concerns over David's academic status are true.

NB -- I put T'Kevian Rockwell, my favorite defender in this class, here because I think he fits. He could also be a safety. He's athletic enough for both spots. Rockwell could be a candidate for immediate playing time as a freshman. He's that good.

CB -- Our situation at CB in this class puzzled me for a long time, since we appeared to be just waiting to see how things unfolded. We had Jourdan Blake, a HS QB, committed since June. Then we picked up Verkedric Vaughns in August. Two JUCOs, Sanders and Wright, jumped aboard on that crazy day in December, finishing things off. Baylor missed on a couple of higher-ranked recruits led by John Plattenburg, who is UCLA-bound. Sanders is a favorite to start next season and will compete with 2013's Ryan Reid, Austin Jupe, and perhaps Terrence Singleton (if he's not still a safety).

S -- Speaking of safeties, Baylor's outlook here for a long time was basically John Bonney or bust. With his commitment to Texas, we eventually moved on to Chance Waz, who committed to Nebraska before flipping to Baylor. The instability at Texas gave us another shot with Bonney, but it appears that he will stick with his commitment there. That was the last predictable new member of the 2014 class, and the last place where Baylor could make an immediate impact.

If you have any questions about Baylor's 2014 class, please put them in the comments. We can debate whether Baylor filled up a few spots (primarily OL and DL) before our fantastic season came together and gave us the opportunity to improve, but all-in-all, I'm very happy with how things turned out. We have a solid combination of stars and players with immense upside.

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