Baylor officially welcomed 23 new Bears, 7 of whom were already on campus, into the fold today in a relatively subdued Signing Day devoid of any positive intrigue. As Art Briles noted in his press conference, most of our class committed this past summer with only our three midterm enrollee JUCOs coming on board after the middle of August. Briles and company did not register a single new commitment after the start of the best season in Baylor history, which is somewhat interesting, but we didn't lose any, either. Despite basically everyone in the world trying to steal them, we managed to hold on to the real jewels of this class, WRs Davion Hall and K.D. Cannon, as well as everyone else. Briles seemed happy with it, and so am I.
Baylor 2014 National Signing Day Primer
With NSD now less than 48 hours away and Baylor's class likely complete for this cycle, it's time to take a look at our new Bears.
There was a bit of news on the horizon today, but it all turned out to be negative:
4* Houston Lamar safety John Bonney stuck and signed with the Texas Longhorns. This was really the only piece left on the board for the Bears, despite reports as late as last week that Bonney would remain a Longhorn.
3* MLB James David did not sign with Baylor today and apparently will not in the future. David has long been rumored to have significant academic issues. Baylor could replace him in the class after NSD, but it isn't a given.
3/4* OLB/S T'Kevian Rockwell won't sign today, either. His issues aren't considered as dire as David's, and Baylor reportedly still wants him to sign. Not getting David and/or Rockwell on campus makes incoming junior Grant Campbell an even more important recruit/player.
That's all of the Baylor-related news from NSD today, but I hope Baylor fans aren't too upset about how things went. All-in-all, I still consider this our best recruiting class of the Briles era for a number of reasons. I'll run through a short breakdown of the class now before posting later today about what it lacks and how that will impact us going forward.
Immediate Impact Players:
LB Grant Campbell: Should play immediately as Eddie Lackey's replacement. Could also move inside to MLB and push Bryce Hager outside.
CB Chris Sanders: Should challenge for a starting spot at corner. Excellent size and speed for the position. I've said repeatedly that I think Sanders and Xavien Howard will be our starters at corner when spring practice starts.
CB Tion Wright: Could challenge for a starting spot at corner. Unbelievable speed, slightly undersized. Like a faster Joe Williams?
OG Jarell Broxton: Should play immediately as Cyril Richardson's replacement (to the extent such a thing exist). I am a huge fan of Mr. Broxton and expect big things. Will solidify the left side with Spencer Drango, assuming he returns at 100% in 2014.
WR K.D. Cannon: You don't sign Cannon not to play him immediately. Briles referred in his press conference to "3-year players," guys they know they won't have for 5 years of eligibility. Robbie Rhodes was one of those guys, no matter how his freshman season ended up. You play them now because you won't have them as redshirt seniors.
WR Davion Hall: Just like Cannon. You get Hall and play him now wherever you can. Baylor will put him on offense to start, despite the longing most fans seem to have to see him on defense. I'd rather he play WR at Baylor than safety at Alabama.
TE Jordan Feuerbacher: Probably not a name you expected to see on here, but I think it will happen. Gus Penning is the only returning TE on the roster at this point, though Tre'Von Armstead played the position quite a bit this last year as a pure blocker. We'll probably see that again, but there's a spot open for Feuerbacher to make an impact.
My guess it that everyone else, including all of the offensive and defensive linemen, will redshirt for this coming season. With our returners on both lines, there's no pressing need for any of them to play immediately. That's something we haven't been able to say in a long time!
These are guys aside from those above that I'm really excited about seeing play for Baylor. Of course, I'm excited about everyone. These just stand out a bit from the crowd.
WR Chris Platt: Pure speed. Briles referenced him specifically today as someone that is tremendously underrated, and considering what they've been able to do with Tevin Reese in this offense, opponents should remember his name.
WR Ishmael Zamora: The Aggies on twitter will hate it, but I think with The Four Horsemen make up the best WR class in the country. Briles agrees.
CB Verkedric Vaughns: I've seen a lot of positive chatter about him lately. Very excited about his potential.
OL Josh Pelzel: When you're 6-6, 330 as a high school senior, it's going to catch a few eyes. Spiritual successor to Robert T. Griffin, anyone?
DT Ira Lewis: Possibly the best of a relatively unheralded group of DL in this class. Tremendous size already.
One thing to keep an eye on going forward is the potential for Baylor to scoop up a late qualifier (HS or JUCO) that other teams thought wouldn't make it. We've done it before late in the recruiting cycle, and we might well do it again.