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Baylor Football Recruiting: National Signing Day 2017 Primer

Tomorrow is only a day away, folks!

NCAA Football: Northwestern State at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

So I know that when we started this whole recruiting escapade over again in earnest with the hire of Coach Rhule from Temple, I promised you much more consistent coverage than you’ve gotten. That’s on me. Between my son finally starting to get the drug my daughter has been getting for 18 months and that same daughter spending the last week in the ICU at Children’s in Dallas, it’s been a hectic time. But that’s no excuse! You deserve better, and I’ve missed about 20 commitment articles that I should have written but didn’t. I’ll make it up to you post-NSD with articles about each of them. Take that to the bank.

But you didn’t come here for more possibly empty words from me about what I plan to do; you came here for news about the croots. That’s something I can deliver right now.

Tomorrow, February 1, 2017, is National Signing Day for the Class of 2017. All over the country, legions of athletes of all stripes and star rankings will finally and mercifully conclude their recruitment by signing a National Letter of Intent binding them to their school of choice. Before we talk about what to expect on our side of things, a word about Baylor’s coverage.

Baylor’s National Signing Day Coverage

Because we haven’t yet gone through a NSD under the new regime, who, among other things, seems far more adept at using gifs on Twitter than our old staff, we don’t really know what to expect from coverage tomorrow. Sure, there will be the standard fax machine watch stuff, probably a few interviews with coaches as NLIs come in and they can finally talk about our recruits openly, and eventually a press conference by Matt Rhule himself. All that is known. But beyond that, we’ll be learning together how this staff intends to operate on the Day of Days for college football recruiting.

In addition to ODB, where we’ll have running open threads all day as well as notes as kids sign, will be your home for official NSD coverage from Baylor Football.

Let’s Talk About the Numbers Game

By far the most common question I get on Twitter concerns how many signees Baylor can take in the 2017 class, particularly since we had such a depleted roster last year after the 2016 class was raided by bandits to our north and south.

The two numbers you need to always keep in mind in recruiting are 25 and 85. 25 is the number of recruits you can take in a given class; 85 is the number of scholarship football players you can have at a given time.

There is, however, an added level of complexity. RB John Lovett’s commitment last night gave Baylor 24 total commitments in this class. That means we’re bringing in 24 players we didn’t have before. 4 of those players have already enrolled, though, meaning they actually count back to the 2016 class. That means we can take up to 5 more if we sign everyone already committed to get to the 25 number for 2017. Sound confusing? Hopefully not.

Basically, a “recruiting class” goes from 2/1 of one year to 1/31 of the next, so anyone that enrolls at semester (think RGIII, Nick Florence, Bryce Petty, and now Charlie Brewer) counts back to the previous year for purposes of the 25-commit limit. That’s how we can have 24 commits and still take 5 more.

Regarding the 85-man aggregate limit, I haven’t done the math on that since before last season, and I don’t have time to do it for this post. Suffice to say that if we take 29 total commits in this class, we’re going to be very, very close with no attrition.

Our 2017 Recruiting Class

Offense: QB: (2/2), RB: (2/2), WR: (3/4), TE: (1/2), OL: (6/6)

QB: Charlie Brewer (ENROLLED)
RB: Johnathan Lovett
RB: Abram Smith (ENROLLED)
WR: Trestan Ebner
WR: Gavin Holmes
C: Ryan Miller
OG: Jason Moore
OG: Xavier Newman
OT: Khalil Keith
OT: Henry Klinge
OT: Eleasah Anderson
TE: Tyler Henderson

Defense: DT: (2/2), DE: (2/2), LB: (2/3), NB: (1/1), CB: (2/2), S: (2/2)

DT: James Lynch
DT/DE: Rob Saulin
DE: Cole Maxwell
DE: Chidi Ogbonnaya
LB: Bryson Jackson
LB: Terrel Bernard
NB/S: Jalen Pitre (ENROLLED)
CB: Harrison Hand
CB: Timarcus Davis
S: Trevon Lewis
S: Ashton Logan

Not included above are guys like QB Anu Solomon (Arizona transfer) or DE James Lockhart (TAMU transfer) because they are not recruits. They will, of course, take up scholarships during their time here.

There doesn’t appear to be much, if any, consternation from Baylor folks about whether the commits above (that are not already enrolled) will sign on the dotted line tomorrow. That should be relatively stress-free for Baylor fans.

Remaining Targets:

This may not be. With a total of 5 spots remaining and most of our needs filled, Baylor’s remaining targets are pretty well known at this point. The interesting part here is that two of the guys below have now announced that they will be committing today, while the others won’t commit until tomorrow, on National Signing Day.

Announcing Today:

LB DeMarco Artis -- Down to Baylor and Oregon now, the one-time Florida State pledge was one of Matt Rhule’s first offers after taking the Baylor job. He will announce tonight at 8 PM eastern time, 7 PM central. I’m going to predict he chooses Baylor.

LB Devodrick Johnson — The current Aggie commit will announce tonight between Baylor and A&M, and all recent indications appear to be pointing toward him sticking with his current pledge.

Baylor led early in this Twitter poll, but if there’s one thing Aggies know how to do, it’s win meaningless online polls and crow about it.

Announcing Tomorrow:

DE Justin Harris — Baylor has 92% of the Crystal Ball predictions right now for the 4* DE from Louisiana, and there have been whispers that Harris is a silent commit. I cannot confirm or deny those whispers. Harris will announce his choice at 10 AM tomorrow per his Twitter account, and I’m hoping for good news! There is potential for intrigue here if/when LSU misses on other potential prospects and tries to sway Harris late.

TE B.J. Thompson — Baylor has 100% of the Crystal Ball predictions right now for the 4* TE from Arkansas, and I have to say, he’d instantly be one of my favorite recruits in this class if we can land him. According to his Twitter account, he will sign at 2:30 PM tomorrow. Thompson announced a recent Top 5 that had Baylor, Florida State, and Texas included.

Mystery Signees:

The players I’ve listed above are the ones that we’ve been linked to or have made our priorities in the past, but there may be others that we’re just not aware of yet. That happens virtually every year.

Based on what we have already, if I were to guess about potential mystery signees, I’d look for another QB — Cal Vincent is a name that was bandied about a week or so ago -- or wide receiver. If we somehow miss on both LBs tonight, you may see another LB get a late offer, too.

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