#20: Michael Johnson, DE/DT, 6'0 255 lbs. Hightower HS, Missouri City, TX.
Analysis: First things first, Johnson was a two-time district defensive MVP in a very competitive area for high school football. That's impressive. The first thing that jumps out when watching Johnson is his "get off", AKA how fast he is at the snap. This is incredibly important for defensive ends, because DEs want the OT to be reacting to their moves, as opposed to the DE reacting to the OT's setup. Johnson sets up in a low, powerful stance that allows him to explode off the ball. He clearly plays with a lot of passion.
As Briles mentioned, Johnson just turned 17. For a guy who has the potential to succeed even at his current height, it's an added bonus that he could possibly grow a few more inches. On the downside, Johnson's current height does cause some disadvantages. His film doesn't show too many examples of him "setting the edge" as an outside rusher, shucking the offensive lineman with his inside arm, and collapsing on the running back. This is something that Oakman was an absolute beast at because of his height, and Jamal Palmer became quite good at as well.
Player Comparison: Johnson is unique because i'm not sure that Baylor has signed a guy with his "get off" in recent years. Our more successful DEs (Chris McCallister, Terrance Lloyd, Jamal Palmer, Shawn Oakman, KJ Smith) have been bigger guys who look to engage with the OL before getting after the QB. Johnson is unique in that his film is replete with instances of him simply getting around OTs. On that note, his most similar Baylor player is probably Brian Nance.
Position: I don't buy the Defensive Tackle talk. Johnson is lightning quick off the ball and shows incredible potential to get around big OTs. I think that is wasted at DT. Johnson is a DE all the way.
Outcome: This is a difficult prediction, because of his potential growth. If Johnson stays at 6'0ish, I suspect he'll be a pass rush specialist with potential to grow into a full time starter in his later years.
#19: Raleigh Texada, CB, 5-9, 185 lbs. Centennial HS, Frisco, TX.
Analysis: Texada is a guy that Briles said they offered because over several years he showed marked improvement at every camp they saw him. Not to mention, he's got some decent tools. Watching his tape, it's an interesting case because his junior film is probably more indicative of his ability than his senior tape; it seems as if teams just weren't throwing the ball his way as a senior.
Texada's has several things going for him. First, he has enough speed to compete in the Big XII. After getting with Kaz, he looks like a solid 4.5 runner. His track times are good with a 10.8 100m and 22.09 200m. Second, he has terrific CB instincts. Despite his 5-9 height, he makes many plays on the balls by timing his jumps and making quick breaks on the ball. A corner who can run and can make plays on the ball is a good start. Texada's good instincts are no surprise, as his older brother is a starting CB at TCU. Their HS tape is very similar.
As we've seen with several of these lower ranked guys, however, the size is an inhibitor. Corners don't have to be 6 feet, but you don't enjoy the thought of a guy Texada's size going up against a Kevin White or Josh Doctson.
Player Comparison: It's cheating somewhat, but their tape is so similar that his brother, TCU corner Ranthony Texada is a great comparison.
Position: Texada is a CB all the way.
Outlook: I see it as an uphill battle for Texada to start. He's a good prospect, but he's competing with Parrish Cobb and Grayland Arnold in his own recruiting class. Briles did mention his continued improvement, so he's clearly a competitor who will fight for the position. I see a guaranteed redshirt here with a guy who may emerge later in his Baylor career.
#18: Donovan Duvernay, ATH, 5-9 180lbs. Sachse HS, Sachse, TX.
Analysis: Donovan is a fluid athlete great ball skills. While he may look "slow" compared to his twin brother, that's nothing to be ashamed of. Donovan plays baseball instead of running track, so their are no times, but his speed easily plays at a Big XII level, at either defensive back or receiver. He shows good ball skills on both sides of the ball. Duvernay is simply what I would call a natural mover. All of his cuts, movements, and plays on the ball look fluid and natural. This is probably a result of him playing football since he could run, making his responsive movements easy and fluid. He is very good with the ball in his hands, which makes you think he could play RB if he wanted to.
Noticing a trend here, Donovan is also a tremendous return man.
Player Comparison: Duvernay reminds me somewhat of Lynx Hawthorne. Great speed, fluid, natural cutting ability, and good ball skills.
Position: I think Duvernay is an Inside Receiver at Baylor. I think he'd make a fine CB, but with the numbers at that position right now I don't see the staff wasting him there. There is also a possibility that the staff keeps him as an emergency RB.
Outlook: Donovan is a player who, in my eyes, will have a guaranteed valuable 5 year career at Baylor. He does too many things well to not be a part of every game. I foresee him being a primary backup after a year or two, with a good chance to start as an upperclassman. Many players come into D1 because they have 1 or 2 traits that sets them apart, and coaches have to dream on the rest. This isn't the case with Duvernay. Blessed with an overall good feel for the game, how much Donovan plays will probably have more to do with the talent level around him than whether he himself develops.
Denzel Mims, WR, 6-3 180 lbs. Daingerfield HS, Daingerfield, TX.
Analysis: Long, lean, and fast. Mims is a true tool-box at this point. Coming from a 3A highschool, that is no fault or surprise. The fun thing about Mims that makes you dream on him as a prospect is that even though he is tall, he is a sudden athlete. He is explosive off the line of scrimmage, which is something a lot of bigger WRs struggle with. He is also sudden with the ball in his hands, making subtle cuts to destroy the angles of defenders. When running in the open field, it's not really about the spin move, jump cut, etc, but instead it is about the subtle changes in direction that allow you to exploit the angle of the defender. Darren McFadden at Arkansas was the master of this, and Mims shows the ability to do as much on his highschool tape.
Mims also shows good leaping ability, which is just a giant bonus for someone who is already tall. Baylor doesn't run too many jump balls, but when we had one guy who was tall enough and athletic enough to do it (Terrance Williams) we ran it.
In summation, Mims is a tall, fast, sudden WR with good leaping skills.
Player Comparison: There simply aren't that many guys with the skillset that Mims has. Particularly because Mims shows such good after-the-catch abilities. There are a lot of big guys who can jump, but you generally don't say "lets get the ball in his hands in the open field." As a pure athlete, Mims reminds me most of current BU player Davion Hall.
Position: I think Mims is an X receiver (the outside receiver who lines up on the side with the Y inside receiver) all the way. If he develops better route running he can potentially move over to Z (iso receiver) as he gets older.
Outlook: If Mims learns to run routes and, most importantly, has good hands, the sky is the limit. We've seen with Briles that he simply won't play a receiver if he doesn't consistently catch the ball (except for maybe Tevin Reese, but dat speed though). With the limited film of Mims catching, because of his small school, it's difficult to know how good is hands are. The other thing is that being an X receiver doesn't require much route running skills, as you basically are running stop routes, go routes, and slants.
Mims will redshirt, but after that his athletic ability will allow him to possibly be a kind of big and fast WR that Baylor hasn't yet seen. If absolutely everything comes together, Mims has 1st team All-Big XII ability.