When National Signing Day came to a close a year ago, I took a look at what our 2014 recruiting class, which was heavy on offensive players, lacked and how it might impact the 2015 class that culminated today. Looking back at it now, I did a pretty good job identifying some of the major needs to be addressed in this cycle-- QB, RB, OT, LB, and NB-- and even predicted exactly how we'd address one with the recruitment of Jarrett Stidham. The only place I really missed then was in the secondary, where Baylor took a class of 4 in 2014 and followed it up with 4 more today.
Sitting here now with the 2015 Class signed and the focus officially shifting to 2016, it's time to take another shot. As I've said before, though what we have will tell the story of Baylor Football in the immediate future, what we don't will do the same for our recruiting efforts, since recruiting is as much as anything else a never-ending game of personnel whack-a-mole. Interestingly, despite the fact that our class was relatively small at just 19 (20 counting Devonte Jones), we managed to hit nearly all of our major needs at this point, leaving just one real area where things could get pretty dire, pretty quick. But before I get to that (and you'll know when I do), we'll start at the top, where Baylor already has things pretty well covered.
Baylor Junior Day #1 Wrapup
Art Briles' staff welcomed in several dozen of the best recruits in the 2016 class this weekend, and the festivities did not disappoint.
Baylor sought and eventually received the commitment of Jarrett Stidham, our highest-ranked QB recruit ever, for the 2015 class. He's on campus and impressing already and has a real chance to make an impact as early as this season. Still, with just one QB coming in while one (Bryce Petty) departs, we will once again find ourselves with 3 QBs on campus. Plus, with a recruit like Stidham coming in, there's a chance someone else might decide to leave, so there's little doubt that Baylor needs a QB commit in the 2016 class. Thankfully, we have one in Grandview's Zach Smith, another 4* Top-247 recruit turning heads in the high school ranks.
Like at QB, our fast start to the 2016 class has basically mooted this one already through the commitment of Port Arthur's Kameron Martin, who made the call for the Bears in July before his junior year and is one of the top-rated RBs in the country. Now we'll have 4* RBs in three consecutive years, at least (Terence Williams in 2014, JaMycal Hasty in 2015, and Martin). If this is a need in 2016, it's a minor one, and I don't even know where we might go.
Simultaneously surprisingly (given our history at the position) and not (because we took the Four Horsemen in 2014), Baylor took just two WRs in 2015 and will need more a year from now with Jay Lee graduating and Corey Coleman possibly looking to the NFL. We've already got one top WR committed in national TD record-holder Tren'Davian Dickson, but I guarantee you we'll look for at least one more on the outside and one or more on the inside.
We already have one, 5* Patrick Hudson from Silsbee, but we definitely need another (or two). Taking two JUCOs this year in Maurice Porter and Dominic DeSouza will help, particularly since DeSouza can apparently be red-shirted if need be (according to Briles), but that's only a stopgap solution. We need to replenish our ranks to prepare for a post-Drango future. J.P Urquidez would be a great addition and could be a Baylor-Texas battle now that he's moved back to Copperas Cove.
This is the one I was talking about, and you probably knew that already. In a down year for defensive tackles in the state of Texas, Baylor chose not to take any for the entire class, a somewhat risky move considering we definitely lose one starters when Beau Blackshear graduates and could lose another if Andrew Billings heeds the siren song of the NFL. This is a position that really scares me going forward and one that Baylor will hit hard in the 2016 cycle. The good news is that we've already had some success with the commitment of Houston Westside DL Jordan Elliott.
We finally took one here with Arp's Tyrone Hunt, but one isn't going to cut it; we need more. Shawn Oakman and Jamal Palmer will both graduate after this coming season and need to be replaced. That probably won't happen with anyone directly out of this class, but the point remains that DE will be a focus in 2016 just like DT.
I'm including this because if I didn't, someone would say "We always need help in the secondary!" and be 100% correct. Baylor has one CB committed in Grayland Arnold but is clearly looking for more considering our recent offer pattern.
Remember, this is just a starting point for definite needs (some of which have already been filled but should be mentioned, anyway). There are other positions like LB (where we took 4) or S (2) that you know we'll chase because it doesn't make sense not to, but they're not TREMENDOUS BLARING NEEDS like DT or DE. In the comments, give me your thoughts on what I (or we as a program) might have missed or where we'll go.