I've made no secret of how much I like Baylor's 2014 recruiting class on the whole, or how impressed I am that we were able to keep it together with no decommitments for so long. We have one of the best WR groups in the country (if not the best), a strong group of offensive linemen with potential and defensive linemen with the one thing you can teach: size, and a number of recruits overall who should be able to make immediate contributions. What we have probably won't tell the story of the future, however, especially in recruiting classes to come. After spending so much time talking about what the 2014 class did have, it's time now to talk about what it didn't.
Baylor chose not to take a QB in this class for various reasons after only really offering two: Jerrod Heard and Brandon Harris, who signed with UT and LSU, respectively. We chased Randall Cunningham II (the eponymous RCII) for a while until his commitment to football over track (he's a champion high jumper) became a legitimate question. Aaron Sharp never received the assurances he wanted from our staff that he could play QB at Baylor and not come in as athlete.
Because of all that, Baylor goes into yet another year with just 3 scholarship QBs on the roster. That's not exactly a problem when your coach is the QB Whisperer himself, but it's not ideal. One of those QBs, Bryce Petty, will obviously leave after this coming season, his senior year, while the others, Seth Russell and Chris Johnson, will be a redshirt sophomore and redshirt freshman this year, respectively. All things considered, Baylor will likely take 2 QBs in this coming recruiting cycle if at all possible. We already have one in Temple's Chad President, and are actively in pursuit of another. Top of the list there appears to be Stephenville's Jarrett Stidham.
Baylor took just one RB, Terence Williams, despite losing two, Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk, from this year's team. We offered a couple of smaller backs in addition to Williams but never seemed all that interested in the pursuit. That leaves 4 scholarship RBs on the roster beyond Williams in junior safety-turned-RB Anthony Webb, redshirt sophomores Rashodrick Linwood and Devin Chafin, and redshirt freshman Johnny Jefferson (all classifications 2015). Baylor is reportedly looking to take 2 RBs in this class to bolster this lineup, one to fit the "speed back" role and another to be the "big back."
Of the five offensive linemen in this year's class, only one, Patrick Lawrence, looks slotted to play tackle. The rest are all interior linemen. With Troy Baker slated to graduate this coming season and Spencer Drango eligible for the Draft, should he choose to leave, we're going to need more. It's possible that Blake Muir moves back outside (where he played at Hawaii) either this year or next and alleviates the number crunch somewhat, but the point remains: we need tackles. Ronnie Major, our lone 2015 OL recruit so far, could be one. Maurice Porter, a 2013 signee that ended up at JUCO, will be another if/when Baylor offers. But Baylor needs tackles.
We're going to need some, eventually. I don't think I'm breaking new ground to say that losing James David, Cordell Dorsey (as of right now), and T'Kevian Rockwell (maybe) from this year's class is not great for our LB situation. Bryce Hager will be a senior this coming season with only Aiavion Edwards and Kendall Ehrlich behind him as players with any sort of experience whatosever. The cupboard of potential contributors isn't exactly bare -- Grant Campbell should contribute immediately, both Raaquan Davis and Xavier Phillips were highly-touted recruits, and the coaching staff apparently raves about Taylor Young -- we just need numbers. Luckily, we only play 2 LBs at a time in our system.
Nickelbacks, or Bears:
Since a nickelback in our system can be either a bigger safety or a faster linebacker, it's hard to know what we have or don't have at this position. You're probably not a nickelback until you are one, if that makes sense. Regardless, Baylor has just one on the roster right now in upcoming sophomore Kiante Griffin, and without Rockwell (again, maybe), we'll need more going forward. This is actually one of my biggest concerns about the defense, if you can believe it. Who would have ever guessed I'd miss Sam Holl this much?
Beyond those spot, things look pretty good. Baylor brought in 4 corners in this year's class including the two JUCOs, balancing out a spot that needed additional depth and experience. Safety is and always will be a concern, but we should have Orion Stewart and Taion Sells for three more years and Terell Burt for two, so that's good. With two TEs coming in now, at least one of whom will definitely redshirt, it's hard to see that being a problem. So it's basically just QB, RB, OT, LB, and NB where Baylor has definite needs to be addressed.
What do you think?