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Baylor Football Signing Day Thread

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NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 18th — Early Signing Day

Tomorrow, December 18th, is the early signing day for Baylor and all other D1 NCAA programs. Traditionally, Baylor will begin to announce the signees starting at 7 A.M. A school cannot talk about a player until their paperwork is complete, so they tend to trickle in throughout the day. This will be covered on Baylorbears.com, and I believe that the usual webshow will be broadcast through Baylor’s deal with ESPN+.

The Impact of the Early Signing Period

Several years ago the NCAA allowed an early signing period for football. The rationale was that it would allow those high schoolers who were burnt out to sign early and get the process over with. In actuality, the early signing period has turned into the signing day when the majority of your signees sign.

Since it was instituted, Rhule has followed the same strategy for the recruiting cycle: sign the bulk of your class in the early period, go after a handful of “best available” type guys for the February signing period. For instance, Baylor signed Garmon Randolph, Noah Rauschenberg, Yusuf Terry, Paul Matavao-Poialli, and Elijah Ellish in February of last year.

There are several patterns that have emerged since the early signing period was instituted:

  • First, the really highly coveted recruits are more likely to wait until February to sign. Division 1 football programs are limited to 85 scholarships and 25 signees per class, meaning that space is often an issue, particularly at the Power 5 level. For the really highly recruited guys, though, they know that they essentially have a spot anywhere they go so there is no pressure on them to sign early.
  • The flip side of this is that most of your mid-level recruits are going to sign tomorrow—they do not have as much assurance or leverage to ensure a spot at their desired school if they decide to wait until February.
  • You often see previously underrated or unknown recruits elect to wait until February. A guy Baylor signed last year, Garmon Randolph, was lightly recruited before the early signing period last year, elected to bet on himself and by February 2019 he was a national recruit.

Basically, you can begin to make limited judgments based upon the early signing period, but there will still be some big fish and fast risers available even after tomorrow. Furthermore, as the transfer portal is being used more and more, big time transfers are just as important as the regular signing classes when considering impact. Several of Baylor’s biggest impact players over the past few years—Jalen Hurd and James Lockhart—were transfers. Anybody who is issuing hot takes or sweeping judgments before the February signing day is a charlatan.

Baylor’s 2020 Class

Here’s a list of Baylor’s current commits, which stands at 15. Note that this is not a list of who will sign tomorrow. Every year this list does not match up to the early signing day for a variety of reasons—guys elect to wait til February, they do not yet have the grades to sign, they tell people they’re committed but actually aren’t, etc. But this is what we are working off of currently. I’ll edit this thread as things become official, the guys who have signed are bolded.

James Sylvester. DL. Newton, TX.

Jahdae Barron. DB. Pflugerville, TX.

Taye McWilliams. ATH. Rosenberg, TX.

Drake Dabney. TE. Cypress, TX.

Will Garner. LB. Spring, TX.

AJ McCarty. ATH. Brownwood, TX.

Gavin Byers, OL. Colleyville, TX.

Chateau Reed. ATH. Lawton, OK.

Seth Jones. WR. Pearland, TX.

Anthony Anyanwu. LB. Sachse, TX.

Devin Neal. S. Lexington, KY.

Theron Stroops. DB. Lancaster, TX.

Jalen Celestine. LB. Carencro, LA.

Brooks Miller. LB. West Monroe, LA.

Mose Jeffrey. OL. Kilgore, TX. (Junior College signee).

Baylor’s Class Will Be One of the Smallest In the Country

Baylor will not sign very many guys this year. They did not graduate many seniors, and because everyone loves Coach Rhule, his staff, and Baylor, they have not seen nearly as much attrition as most Power 5 programs. When recruiting sites rank classes and compare schools, they do a very stupid thing: they consider both the rating of each player + the total amount. Thus, Baylor will likely rank low in the rankings because they are going to sign much fewer guys than other P5 programs.

And again, the real time to evaluate things is in February. But Baylor has a great foundation built from the guys who will likely sign tomorrow.

Class Evaluation

I do a multi-part evaluation of Baylor’s signees each year. My objective is to project how good they’ll be, what position they’re likely to make an impact at, and how soon that may happen. I haven’t been perfect, of course, but I’m pretty happy with the results since I started doing so. Look out for those in the near future. I’ve also written in the past about Rhule and Baylor’s philosophy in recruiting, and how this year they seem to have doubled down on it. I’ll start really looking closely at guys’ film when they sign tomorrow, so post your comments and questions below and I’ll be happy to share my opinion.