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ODB 2012 Recruit Impact Rankings: 1-4 -- The Final Countdown

Mar 21, 2011; Waco, TX, USA; A general view of the Baylor pro day event at Allison Indoor Facility at Baylor University. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 21, 2011; Waco, TX, USA; A general view of the Baylor pro day event at Allison Indoor Facility at Baylor University. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

After nearly a month of making my readers wait in breathless anticipation-- a break that was entirely unintentional, I assure you-- the final set of recruits in the inaugural ODB Recruit Impact Rankings has arrived. We've counted down all the way from 24 to 5 so far, and we have only 4 recruits left to do. To reacquaint you with where we've been, here are links to The Board, Set 1, Set 2, Set 3, Set 4, and Set 5. This incredibly long and drawn-out process is almost over! I know I'm excited.

Just as a reminder since it has been so long, these rankings are purely subjective and not intended to be value judgments; I am giving you a ranking of our 2012 football recruiting class in terms of how much impact I think they will have on Baylor's football program. In some cases, the pure potential of the player is everything no matter how far away that player might be or how long we have to wait. In others, the proximity of a recruit or the prospect of immediate playing time earns them a higher ranking than otherwise. Position and team need definitely matter; if we had an offensive line with wall-to-wall sophomore 5*s, that obviously leaves less of a chance for a 2012 recruit to play a big role, for example.

Here's where we've been so far:

24. Orion Stewart - S - Midway, HS (Waco, TX)
23. Terrance Singleton - ATH - Memorial HS (Port Arthur, TX)
22. Kaleb Moore - WR - Cypress Fair HS (Cypress, TX
21. Lynx Hawthorne - WR - Refugio HS (Refugio, TX)
20. Devin Chafin - RB - Burkburnett HS (Burkburnett, TX)
19. Patrick Levels - CB - Roosevelt HS (Dallas, TX)
18. Terrell Burt - CB - Wylie HS (Wylie, TX)
17. Kyle Fuller - OL - Wylie HS (Wylie, TX)
16. Shamycheal Chatman - LB - Sealy HS (Sealy, TX)
15. Zorrell Ezell - DT - Humble HS (Humble, TX)
14. Rashodrick Linwood - WR/CB - Linden-Kildare HS (Linden, TX)
13. Tre'von Armstead - OT - Memorial HS (Port Arthur, TX)
12. Dominique Banks - DE - Ryan HS (Denton, TX)
11. Ryan Reid - CB - Sherman HS (Sherman, TX)
10. Jamal Palmer - DE - Boyd HS (McKinney, TX)
9. Eddie Lackey - LB - Riverside CC (Murrieta, CA)
8. Kendall Erhlich - LB - Pearland HS (Pearland, TX)
7. Joey Searcy - DT - Navarro JC (Corsicana, TX)
6. Seth Russell - QB - Garland HS (Garland, TX)
5. Brian Nance - LB - Trinity HS (Euless, TX)

I say this every time I write one of these posts, but if we just stopped there and All-American LB Brian Nance headlined this class, it would still be one of the best in Baylor's recent history without even getting to the last four players on my list. Those four players exist, though, and they are certainly worth getting excited about all on their own. Close followers of Baylor recruiting already know who they are since everyone else has been named, but I'll keep up the pretense of suspense for a little while longer. In tonight's final set we have 2 players I think will end up on defense and 2 that will end up on offense. Let's see where they fit.

4. Aiavion Edwards -- S -- Stephenville HS (Stephenville, TX) – Baylor’s first commit in the 2012 class makes it to the final group in these rankings on the strength of a 5* name, his athletic ability, relative positional scarcity, and my belief that he will be a playmaker on defense early in his career at Baylor University. Though several schools made runs at him late in the process—OU, Stanford, and TCU all offered—Edwards, a running back in high school at Stephenville, stayed true to Baylor from the time he committed at our first Junior Day last year until signing on the dotted line this year as part of our 2012 class. Those that follow him on twitter know that he actively recruited for Baylor every chance he got, visited Baylor for just about every home game this season, and formed the backbone of what would turn out to be Baylor’s finest class in years. His loyalty is not his only positive attribute, however, as the 6-1, 210 pound Edwards also has good speed (4.5 in the 40) and good size for the safety position. He was ranked in the top-40 at safety, a position he didn’t even play full-time in HS, by every major recruiting service, and I believe that as soon as he gets on campus, our need in the defensive backfield will give him a chance to show what he can do. I wouldn’t be surprised if he redshirted to give him more time to develop, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t, either. I am very excited to see what Aiavion does as a Baylor Bear.

3. Kiante Griffin – WR/S – Hebron HS (Carrollton, TX) – I’m going to be completely honest with you; I think Baylor landed an absolute steal with Kiante Griffin, and I say that knowing that he is already one of our highest-ranking recruits in this class. No matter if Baylor plays him on offense or defense (he did both in HS for Hebron), his combination of size (Griffin goes 6-1, 205), speed (4.45 in the 40), and athleticism will allow him to shine. When I watch the film Rivals, Scout, and 247Sports have of him, I see a ball-hawking safety because defense is where he spent most of his time the last two years, but I have heard that Baylor fully intends to use him on offense. Our needs on defense may mean he moves eventually, and Briles’ effusive praise of Griffin’s aggressiveness in the Signing Day press conference may indicate he sees the same thing, but we just don’t know at this point where he’ll probably start. Even if he starts on offense, Baylor has done an incredible job recently developing WRs and Griffin gives our coaches an ideal foundation for building another outstanding receiver. My hope is that Griffin and Edwards give Baylor the dynamic safety combination we’ve always hoped for.

2. Corey Coleman – WR – Pearce HS ( Richardson, TX) – I don’t have to spend a lot of time to tell you why Corey Coleman is on this list; he’s Kendall Wright 2.0. They have similar size (Coleman is 5-11, 180) and speed (Coleman was timed at 4.32 his senior year, if you can believe that!) and when he gets on campus, Coleman will play the same position in Baylor’s offense that Wright did. Baylor targeted Corey because of his similarities to KW and used Wright’s success in our system as the primary recruiting weapon. I guarantee you that in Briles’ mind, he sees another Kendall Wright and that’s enough for me. The fact that Corey is ranked so highly (he is a 4*, top-20 player in Texas by every recruiting service) and had so many offers from quality schools like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas (don’t tell me they didn’t offer because I guarantee you they would have if he’d shown them the love they expected) is just icing on the cake. Coleman will be a game-breaking wide receiver from the moment he gets on campus. I would be shocked if he redshirted this coming season even with our depth at WR because he will be too great a weapon for Nick Florence and/or Bryce Petty to willfully keep off the field.

1. Javonte Magee – DE – Sam Houston HS (San Antonio, TX) – Probably the most obvious choice on the entire list, Javonte Magee is by any measure the #1 recruit in Baylor’s 2012 class and the player I expect to have the most impact for Baylor Football during his time on campus. Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, TCU, and FloridaState all offered Magee (among others), but Baylor reeled in the 5* (according to 247Sports, who list him as the #18 recruit in the country) Army All-American. At 6-6, 264 pounds already, some think Magee will eventually grow into a DT at the college level, but he will almost certainly start as a strong-side DE, a position of notorious weakness for us, and is without a doubt the biggest defensive recruit Baylor has gotten in recent memory. I know that when I talk about recruits I become somewhat prone to hyperbole, but I don’t think it is outrageous when I say that because of his immense physical gifts, I believe Magee could be better right now, having not yet graduated high school, than any of the defensive ends on Baylor’s current roster. I also believe that he will prove me right when he gets on campus, that there is no way Baylor redshirts him in 2012, and that by the end of the season, he will be starting on defense. Lofty expectations for a player who has yet to play a single snap, but expectations that I believe are justified when you watch Javonte play and see his incredible potential.

Having a player like Javonte at Baylor also benefits the program in terms of exposure; Javonte is the type of recruit that Baylor has never really gotten before, and other recruits notice when guys like that make a relative leap of faith in an up-and-coming program. We saw it with Griffin and what he was able to do on offense, and Magee has the same type of potential on defense. It is always easier to do something when it has been done before, and the sell to future defensive studs will get easier because of the credibility that comes with getting recruits of Magee's caliber.

So there it is, folks, the 2012 ODB Recruit Impact Rankings. As always, if you disagree with something I've said, feel free to share where you think I've gone astray. I think we can all agree that this recruiting class is an extremely special group of players that will help Baylor Football continue its positive momentum, and that we are all excited that each of them, from Javonte Magee at #1 to Orion Stewart at #24, have chosen to become Baylor Bears.