About an hour ago, safety Montrel Wilson from Fossil Ridge HS in Keller, TX tweeted that he had committed to Baylor, giving the Bears 11 commits once again in the 2015 recruiting class. Our verbal commitments are now divided as evenly as possible, given that we have an odd number, between the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Name: Montrel Wilson
School: Fossil Ridge (Keller, TX), Mascot: Panthers
Height: 6-2 (some say 6-3)
Rankings: Composite: 79.83 (3*), 247: 83 (3*)
Profiles: 247Sports, Rivals, Scout, Maxpreps
Video: HUDL, Youtube (embedded below)
Right away, people are going to notice that as a low 3* by 247's Composite ranking, Wilson is the lowest-ranked player on our commit list at this time. As someone who runs a Baylor blog and doesn't really want to deal with the gnashing of teeth sure to result from this fact, I'm going to tell you to disregard that ranking as much as possible for now. Yes, recruiting rankings tell an important part of the story in terms of who is getting whom and which programs are probably on the rise. Yes, doing well in recruiting, even if it is just according to people outside the program who may or may not know what they're talking about, is critical, especially in terms of program perception. But allow me, if you will, to tell you a story about another Keller defender from the class of 2012.
In the summer of 2011, a skinny, under-recruited defensive back from Keller Central HS named Zack Sanchez showed up to every Baylor camp he could find in order to earn an offer. Each time he showed up, the coaches gave him something specific to work on, and each time, he did. Eventually, he progressed enough that they offered him the chance to play for the Bears, which he accepted almost immediately. Unfortunately for us, his recruitment did not end there, as despite the fact that he never received the recruiting accolades I'm sure he wanted, Oklahoma came calling the following January and he flipped. He managed to overcome his lowly rankings to start as a redshirt freshman this past season on one of the best defenses in the conference. When we watch the blackout game from 2013 in the Rewind series in the coming weeks, I guarantee you will see him make plays.
I don't know if Montrel Wilson is on the same level of talent as Zack Sanchez. I'm not a scout. But I do know that their stories are incredibly similar, in that Wilson came to several of Baylor's camps this summer, worked hard with specific instruction, and eventually earned a Baylor offer to take the defensive spot vacated by Louis Brown. It's always a slippery slope to say that you trust a coaching staff implicitly, since that can lead you to justify just about anything they do, but in this sort of situation, where they've seen a player up close on several occasions, I trust their ability to recognize the combination of size, speed, and talent we'll need to take the next step.
When I look at Wilson's film on HUDL (linked above), in which his team faced some of the staunchest competition 5A had to offer this past year, I see a hard-hitting safety with a great frame reminiscent in many ways of upcoming starter Orion Stewart, yet another player the recruitniks didn't love. As I mentioned in the comments of the June Recruiting Thread, it will be extremely interesting to see what Baylor does if he continues to grow and add weight. Even in an era of larger DBs, you don't often see a lot of safeties running around at 6-3, so it may be that his eventual position could be nickelback in our modified 4-2-5.