Normally I like to give each recruit their own post so I can highlight them individually, but due to the fact that I'm already a couple days behind on one of the recruits, I decided to combine the two latest additions to Baylor's 2013 class into one post. Convenience aside, it works in this instance because both play in the trenches; the first is a massive JUCO OL while the second is a prototypical DT in Phil Bennett's system. Let's get right to them. Commit #14, come on down...
Name: Simo Kulmaviita
School: Chabot CC (Hayward, CA)
Links/Ranks: Rivals (UR), Scout (UR), 247Sports (UR), ESPN (3*, 76)
Major Offers: Baylor
The first thing that you're probably going to notice about the information posted above is that other than height/weight, we really don't know anything about Mr. Kulmaviita. Don't be alarmed by that, it happens all the time with JUCO recruits, particularly those that are relatively unknown. Simo is about as unknown as it gets; he grew up in Finland (surprising to me, since his name makes him sound like a Pacific islander of some kind) playing club football before coming to the states to play JUCO ball in California. From what I understand, the Finnish club league is somewhat like American AAU for basketball in that it has nothing to do with school, but the major difference is that there are no age limits. You or I could play over there. My dad could play, if he wanted to. It is entirely likely that Simo played guys twice his age (or more) from the moment he started playing. I don't know anything about the level of competition, but that's intense.
Take a look at his videos on HUDL and tell me what you think (make sure to mute your computer first, just believe me). When he first committed, someone linked a video from Youtube of him absolutely demolishing someone in a boxing ring, but that video has since been taken down. I'm excited about this commit because OL is a huge position of need in this class. Only 2 of Baylor's 3 OL recruits in 2012 are anticipated to make it to campus, and we didn't have any OL of any kind in this class before Simo's commit. Now that our class is filling up I would expect that to be a huge emphasis going forward.
As always, I'll update the post when more information becomes available.
Commit #15 is below the jump...
Name: Byron Bonds
School: Allen HS (Allen, TX)
Links/Ranks: Rivals (2*, 5.4), Scout (2*), 247Sports (3*, 84), ESPN (UR), Maxpreps
Major Offers: Baylor, Iowa State, Colorado State, Tulsa
Unlike his predecessor, Byron Bonds is a much more known commodity. As you can see from his profiles, he plays at one of the highest-profile schools in the state, if not the country, and has great size at 6-2, 280. That size is what makes me say he is a prototypical Phil Bennett tackle; as we've talked about before, Bennett prefers shorter DTs because it is easier for them to utilize their strength to leverage interior OL. At maybe 17 years old and already 280 pounds, Bonds is probably well on his way to very good size for the position and I anticipate that his recruiting will pick up when Allen starts its season in early September.
Bonds apparently earned his offer by wowing Bennett and co at Baylor's camp at Lake Highlands HS in June, and his commitment marks the first Baylor has this season on the interior DL. As I've often said, DTs are the single hardest position to recruit in all of college football-- I truly believe that it is the defensive lines, not the secondaries, that set teams like LSU and Alabama apart each year. On that note, it seems like Baylor found a good, if relatively unknown, recruit in Byron Bonds who can develop into a space-eating DT for Phil Bennett's defense.