Coach Briles Shares Two Most Difficult Positions to Recruit

Tom Pennington

Baylor Head Coach Art Briles talks about recruiting unicorns and how you have to live in a conference like the Big 12.

Normally, I don't call attention to relatively short posts like this one on the 247Sports network's CoachingSearch.com with full-blown posts, but I am today because of something Briles said about the most difficult positions to recruit.  Without giving away the whole article, which is good, Briles identified two positions, both on defense, where schools outside the highest echelon have the most difficulty: defensive line and cornerback.

This is probably not new information for Baylor fans or those who watch CFB and/or recruiting.  I've long argued that the true difference between decent defenses like the vast majority of the country can field and those at schools like Alabama and LSU starts at the defensive line and works backward.  There simply aren't that many massive human beings strong enough to play immediately in a power conference, and the ones that do exist almost always go to the elite schools.  That's why pulling Andrew Billings in 2013 was such a coup; he's that kind of player.

Really, I decided to post this today because it explains pretty clearly how Baylor views defensive recruiting.  Players like Shawn Oakman, Javonte Magee, and the aforementioned Billings-- recruits with outstanding pedigrees when they committed to Penn State, Baylor, and Baylor, respectively-- are great when you can get them, obviously.  Perhaps more important to the overall success of the program, however, given the scarcity of elite recruits on the line, are guys like Beau Blackshear, Byron Bonds, and the like-- somewhat lesser recruits the coaches can mold over time into more than serviceable players in the Big 12.  It also gives a bit of a window, I think, into the staff's propensity to recruit DEs that eventually turn into DTs (Magee being the latest example, Blackshear before him) and WRs to play in the secondary (Kiante' Griffin, for one).  The latter may be the eventual fate of a guy like John Humphrey, Baylor's latest 2015 commit.  A wide receiver and returner in high school, rumor has Humphrey slated for the secondary at Baylor because the staff believes they can take his physical tools and turn him into the elite corner they've had so much trouble finding otherwise.  They wanted to do it with Kyle Fulks from the 2013 class before grades robbed him of the chance, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it happen with Humphrey now.

Note: I'm now thinking this article from CoachingSearch just memorialized an interview Briles had on the radio somewhere else, but I'm going to leave the link for those who can view it.

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