When last I sat down to write about Baylor's 2016 recruiting class, we had 20 recruits and were looking at taking 4-5 more. As we sit here today, both of those things are still true. Even still, much has changed over the last three weeks through official visits, a new offer (with more potentially coming), and the resumption of contact following the winter dead period.
Picking up where things left off, in that post on January 3, I listed 6 candidates for the last 4-5 spots in Baylor's 2016 recruiting class. The latest updates on those six players:
- DL Levi Onwuzurike -- Committed to Washington on 1/20. Off the board.
- OT Malcolm Pridgeon (JUCO) -- Reportedly taking an official visit to Ohio State this weekend. Still available and notoriously difficult to ascertain.
- DE Mark Jackson -- Remains committed to A&M, but OU and UT are making hard pushes. Probably off the board at this time.
- TE Kaden Smith -- Remains committed to Stanford pending admittance to the school.
- K Quinn Nordin -- Remains committed to Penn State, but OV'd to Baylor this weekend. Will OV to USC next weekend. Probably not going to Penn State.
- S Brandon Jones -- Uncommitted and OV'ing to Baylor this coming weekend. Baylor has done (I believe) two in-home visits.
Distilling things down a bit, and without knowing what's going on with Nordin, if anything, it appears that Baylor still has a chance with Pridgeon and Jones of the above 6 (5 without Nordin). The Bears also welcomed another A&M commit, CB Charles Oliver, on an official visit last weekend. He remains committed to A&M, and it doesn't seem to have changed things considerably.
Securing the Class:
With no new recent HS offers to 2016 recruits, and nearly all of our official visitors having been current commits, it's apparent that Baylor has made keeping the ones we have its highest priority. From what we know, it appears that Texas has been the most active school in trying to flip our guys, and that they have focused their efforts on CB Grayland Arnold, RB Kameron Martin, and OT Patrick Hudson. OU is reportedly also attempting a run at Hudson, as well as DE Brandon Bowen.
I'm not overly concerned about any of those five switching at this time.
In my January 3 post, I listed Baylor's most prominent remaining needs in this class as HS DE, JUCO DT, JUCO OT, and Kicker. I stand by that now, although I'd add HS DT to the list. Taking each in turn:
HS DE -- With Jackson probably not coming to Baylor, where we go at HS DE is a bit of a mystery. I have one name in mind that has been bandied about on various recruiting sites, but I won't share it at this time in case the coaches want to keep that secret. He's an under-the-radar guy that is currently uncommitted, and that has one of the best first steps in the state this year.
JUCO DT -- Now that Andrew Billings has officially declared, Baylor's need for a second JUCO DT in this class is clear. We took our first steps toward addressing that need today by offering Kilgore's DeQuinton Osborne. If/when he commits, Baylor will have two JUCO All-Americans coming in to provide immediate help.
JUCO OT -- We want/need Malcolm Pridgeon. That is all. He would compete for a starting job immediately and offset much of the losses from this year's graduating class.
Kicker -- In addition to Quinn Nordin, Baylor offered a preferred walk-on spot to Connor Martin from Frisco Centennial. You can view his highlights on HUDL. Should Nordin decide to stick with Penn State or succumb to Harbaugh's advances, my bet is that Martin comes in.
HS DT -- This is where things get interesting. Baylor has recently reconnected with Duncanville's Marcel Southall through both an in-home visit and an unofficial visit to campus last Sunday on his way back from an OV to Texas. Southall has an OV scheduled to Ole Miss this coming weekend, and Baylor will try to get him to come to Waco instead. If we don't, there's little chance he becomes a Bear.
In addition, the "big fish" left on the table is clearly Nacogdoches safety Brandon Jones. As I mentioned above, Jones is scheduled to visit Baylor officially this coming weekend, and he will get the Bears' best sell on the final weekend of the 2016 recruiting cycle.
One thing worth mentioning here is that Baylor typically offers a recruit or two, sometimes more, during the final days/weeks of the recruiting cycle. So far, we haven't seen that happen for this class, but I expect that it will. And before you question the worth of those late flyers, recall that Xavien Howard, Orion Stewart, and Taylor Young, among others, were all late offers to lightly recruited guys. It can work.
Another thing worth mentioning is that Southall wasn't the only unofficial visitor last Saturday. Baylor also welcomed a Mystery Recruit that is currently committed elsewhere, and that they are trying to get to take an OV this weekend with Jones. I'm fairly certain I know who it is, but I don't want to put it out there until it is confirmed either way.
In putting this post together, I focused exclusively on the 2016 class since its end is nearly here. Hit the January Monthly Recruiting Thread for more information on the 2017 class, which will start its cycle with an invite-only Junior Day this coming Saturday, January 30. Baylor has made a tradition of bringing in at least one commitment on every Junior Day, and I don't expect this year to be any different!