This morning, ESPN's Big 12 blog posted a short Q&A with Kendal Briles, Baylor's WR coach, passing game coordinator, and offensive recruiting coordinator. Among the things he talked about, which include the stadium, RGIII, and Texas high school football, was this exchange:
Baylor has the making of another impressive class with five ESPN 300 prospects already in the fold. What are the main needs remaining in the class?
KB: We want another secondary guy. If we could find a great quarterback, then we would take one ... another linebacker, and we are going to sign a punter this year. Those are really the only needs we have left. We only have about four scholarships left in this class.
At this point, following the decommit of Louis Brown this past weekend, Baylor has 10 verbal commitments for the 2015 class. On its face, Briles' answer seems to indicate that they are comfortable with that number plus about 4 more, giving us a total number of commitments, plus greyshirts, around 16. While this is about what we've heard before, I think there's more to the story.
My guess, and I am largely speculating here, is that Briles is considering as part of our "class" guys they think they're probably going to get. That reportedly includes DT Darrion Daniels and probably RB Corey Dauphine, who is currently committed to Texas Tech. That puts us in the 17-18 recruit range we've suspected would be about right for some time now. I'll break that down a bit more below.
Beyond just numbers, Briles' mention of specific positions is also extremely interesting. Right off the bat he goes to the secondary, probably talking about the safety position, where Baylor recently offered Montrel Wilson and is still firmly "in it" with Midway's Kahlil Haughton. Should he want it, Holton Hill probably has a spot at corner, where we have two commits already, as well. SB Nation Recruiting scouted him today, as it turns out.
After the secondary, Briles brought up QB, a mention I see as a message aimed squarely at Texas Tech commit Jarrett Stidham, a guy whose recruitment we've talked about at length in the monthly threads. Baylor is making its interest in him clear once again, in case he somehow forgot, and will definitely keep a spot for him as long as it takes.
Other than those two, the only positions to earn specific mention here were linebacker, where we'd just love to pull someone like Malik Jefferson, and, surprisingly enough, punter. Baylor hasn't devoted a scholarship to the latter in quite some time, will graduate Spencer "The Leg" Roth this year, and has apparently decided we need one to start immediately next year. So if you know an elite punter who doesn't really like to punt all that much, perfect.
One position Briles didn't mention, but that I would bet almost anything they consider a "need," is offensive tackle. Baylor has scoured the state looking for the best HS OTs, focusing on Conner Dyer, Madison Akamnonu, and, most recently, former OU commit DuVonta Lampkin. I have a hard time believing we'd go to such lengths, including offering Lampkin as an OT where others haven't, if we didn't really want an OT.
Another position he didn't mention is DE, where we had, and lost, Louis Brown. Given that James Lockhart seems down to just Alabama (where he's visiting today) and A&M, we're apparently punting on that position in the 2015 class outside of greyshirt Greg Roberts.
In light of everything above, I think it's safe to say we have the following "needs", which what I see as the preference in parenthesis: QB (if Stidham wants to flip), RB (Dauphine), OT (Dyer or Lampkin), DT (Daniels), LB (Jefferson), S (Haughton), P (Tommy Townsend, apparently). That's seven scholarships in addition to the 10 already.
Now I'm off to do a major restructing of the 2015 Wish List!