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Evaluating Baylor Football’s Recent Commits

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

Despite COVID-19 eliminating Spring football and recruiting visits, the high major college football recruiting industrial complex never stops. Since March 1st, Baylor has gained commitments from five prospects and could have a 6th soon to come, which would make 8 total for the 2020 class.

My usual rule is—because there are so many decommits nowadays—to wait until prospects have signed before I take a deep dive. However, with COVID vanquishing what else we have to talk about, we all need some content so here we are.

Here I’ll give my initial thoughts on these new commits after watching their available film and looking at their testing results, all with the caveat that they have yet to play their senior years which provides very helpful information as to how they are progressing. I’ll address each guy in the order in which they committed.

Javon Gipson, Wide Receiver. 6-3, 190 lbs. Richmond, TX.

Testing Results: 4.71 forty, 4.36 shuttle, 28 inch vertical, 9-3 broad jump.

Gipson is a Denzel Mims clone. He’s 6’3 now and obviously liable to get taller. Like Mims, he has disproportionately long legs and does the vast majority of his damage just running by people down the field. Because of said long legs, he doesn’t have the best acceleration but once he gets 5-10 yards downfield his long speed is really good for a high level college WR. He really eats into a DBs cushion towards the top of his routes.

Gipson will be utilized similar to Mims in college: your typical outside receiver who primarily runs go routes, stop routes, and slants off the backside to get him at full speed. Will be very curious to watch his senior film to see how he expands his game.

Cisco Caston, Defensive Back. 6-2, 195 lbs. Weatherford, TX.

Testing Results: None available.

I’ve mentioned several times on twitter and on here how Aranda really prizes ultra versatile safeties, which is exactly what Caston is. Caston is tall, aggressive, and fast enough to stick at safety in the Big 12. His film shows that he will adept both as a single high safety over the top and spinning down as a box defender or playing man on the slot. Like most safeties, you’ll probably want to minimize how much he actually is playing man coverage but he can do it in a pinch. This versatility is what makes him valuable; you can play him on the line of scrimmage against bigger formations and as a deep safety on passing downs. Safeties who do so much in high school are hard to find.

Jordan Jenkins, Running Back. 6-2, 200 lbs. Lindale, TX.

Testing Results: 10.97 100m, 22.61 200m, 20’ 7.5 long jump.

I have a natural aversion to big running backs, but Jenkins does some things that make me very excited, as opposed to just hoping he gets moved to defense. The basic problem with big backs is severalfold: they’re taller which inherently means they provide a bigger target for defenders to bring down, they have a harder time squeezing through small holes up front, and taller usually = longer legs which means you’ll be slower in your cuts (the same reason why cornerbacks tend to be smaller than wide receivers, because corners must react to what receivers are doing they need to be quicker than receivers and thus sacrifice height, running backs have to react to what defenders are doing so usually sacrifice height).

Anyway, Jenkins is different. He doesn’t have long legs, looking to actually have a disproportionately longer torso than most his height which helps keep him lower to the ground. Two of the best areas of his game, his ability to plow through defenders and great lateral agility, are aided by him being close to the ground. He has more than adequate speed, a 10.97 at his weight is no joke. Moreover, everything I’ve read about him demonstrates that he has a very high character and will be a valuable asset to the team regardless of playing time. Jenkins looks like my favorite RB Baylor has taken recently, I think he has a really high potential and floor. He’s a bruiser who can move side to side and hit the homerun when it is available. Watch his run at 3:26.

Tevin Williams, Defensive Back. 6-0, 175 lbs. Stillwater, OK.

Testing Results: 7.01 60m, 10.75 100m, 53.69 400m.

Pure athleticism is probably more important as a cornerback than any other position. A subpar athlete can win at wide receiver by being crafty, but a crafty cornerback can’t do anything to prevent a faster wide receiver running right by him. Williams has the requisite athleticism. He’s not elite, but certainly requisite. His 7.01 60m time is really good for a high schooler, demonstrating both good acceleration and maintenance of deep speed.

Williams’ film is short but pretty good. He make plays on the ball, looks to have a physical mindset, and demonstrates good on field instincts. He has potential as a big corner who can be physical with wide receivers on the line of scrimmage, which is one of the biggest changes we will see from Rhule’s strategy to Aranda, who plays a lot more press coverage.

Sam Carrell, Defensive Line. 6-4, 255 lbs. Albuquerque, NM.

Testing Results: 5.07 forty, 4.86 shuttle, 27 inch vertical, 9-2 broad jump.

A totally unknown recruit until yetserday, Carrell will undoubtedly be stuck with a low 3 star rating after immediately committing after receiving a Baylor offer. He looks a lot like a Rhule recruit, a raw DL who has above average size and athleticism. Carrell is really explosive for his size, I’m surprised his shuttle time wasn’t better. His lateral quickness is really good. At his current size he plays a lot like James Lockart: heavy hands, explosive laterally to make lots of plays behind the line of scrimmage. However, already at 6-4 255 lbs, he’ll likely play at a weight closer to James Lynch who was around 6-3 290 at Baylor.

As Rhule showed, you take as many of these big, athletic DL as you can. Carrell has a lot of upside and plays with a mean mentality. More than ever, big defensive lineman are being “optioned” by offenses—meaning purposefully left unblocked for the QB to read—so having lineman who maintain good lateral quickness at heavy weights is really valuable. Carrell should grow into a starting Big 12 DL with upside for more.