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Baylor Football Goes on Historic Recruiting Run

In the last five weeks, the Bears’ 2023 recruiting class has more than doubled in size.

Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Typically, recruiting is a bit of a lagging indicator; it may take a cycle or two before the success of a given season bears fruit on the recruiting trail, particularly where that success followed coaching transitions or prior disappointments.

Dave Aranda’s staff does not have time for all that. At the beginning of June 2022, the Bears’ 2023 recruiting class had nine (9) commitments and was ranked somewhere in the upper teens by 247’s Composite team rankings, although it’s hard to know exactly where since we can’t look back in time. Over the ensuing five weeks of camps and official visits, the Bears went on one of the greatest recruiting runs in recent memory, adding fourteen (14) more verbal commitments while losing just one (1). Today, Baylor sits at twenty-two (22) commitments in the ninth-ranked class in the country, second-ranked in the Big 12 Conference. If the class ended today, it would have Baylor’s highest average ranking per commitment (87.98) since 247’s Composite team rankings began in earnest in 2009 and the third-highest total score (215.72, again, for Baylor) behind only the 2018 (218.13) and 2012 (222.62) classes, which had 28 and 25 members, respectively (size mattering in this context because total score because is a counting measure, not an average). And 2023 is not done yet.

To give each of our recent additions due credit, we will walk through each of the last fourteen commitments beginning with Wes Tucker on June 11 and concluding with Isaiah Robinson on July 4. We will conclude with Baylor’s complete current recruiting class in the format I’ve used in the past in the monthly recruiting threads, which I hope to restart soon.

OL Wes Tucker | Argyle, Texas | 3* | 87.14

Tucker kicked off Baylor’s run over the last month or so by committing on June 11 before his latest visit on June 17. Listed at 6-4.5, 260 pounds, Tucker is a likely tackle at the next level from all indications and chose Baylor over offers from Texas Tech, Colorado, Kansas, San Diego State, and Louisiana Tech, among others.

DE Trent Thomas | Missouri City, Texas | 3* | 86.61

Thomas committed to the Bears on June 12 immediately after his visit on the weekend of June 10. He chose Baylor over offers from Houston, Colorado, SMU, Boston College, UTSA, and Tulsa, among others.

LB Corey Kelly | League City, Texas | 3* | 88.42

Kelly was in that June 10 group with Thomas and others and committed shortly thereafter, on June 14. Listed at 6-3, 210 pounds, Kelly chose Baylor over Missouri, Texas Tech, Utah, SMU, Mississippi State, Minnesota, and Houston, among others.

DL Jaren Woods | La Grange, Texas | 3* | 88.06

Woods committed to Baylor on June 20 after his visit the prior weekend. Unfortunately, we don’t have a commitment tweet from him to throw in below, but Woods, who is listed at 6-4, 265 pounds, chose the Bears over Texas, TCU, Texas Tech, Auburn, Houston, and Yale (!!), among others. With that offer list already a big senior year, there is serious potential for positive movement in the rankings going forward. Stay tuned.

RB Bryson Washington | Franklin, Texas | 3* | 87.69

Washington also committed to Baylor on June 20 after what was apparently an amazing weekend with Woods and others. Arkansas and SMU appear to have been the other finalists from his profile, but he also had offers from Iowa State, Texas Tech, TCU, and Houston, among others.

NOTE: Washington’s profile lists him as a corner, but people I trust on these things say he’s a RB. See below.

S DJ Coleman | Mesquite, Texas | 3* | 86.74

Coleman pulled the trigger on June 23, choosing the Bears over offers from a bunch of smaller schools and Florida State, which makes him a bit of an enigma in terms of his ranking and offers. Coleman is definitely one to watch going forward in his senior season.

CB Carl Williams IV | Baton Rouge, Louisiana | 3* | 88.03

Williams started a mini-run on corners for the Bears in this class, to be followed by the next entry on our list in Wilson. A pull from Louisiana, Williams has been described on Twitter as one of the Bayou State’s “top rising seniors.” Williams chose Baylor over Tennessee, Missouri, Vandy, and Tulane, among others.

CB Tay’Shawn Wilson | Houston, Texas | 4* | 89.98

Wilson was the second CB commit in a two-day period in June, committing on the 25th. Rivals is particularly high on this commit (click here for video) for Dave Aranda and co., who beat out Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, and SMU, among others. Wilson is the third-highest ranked commit in the class so far.

OL Sean Thompkins | Covington, Georgia | 3* | 86.78

Baylor’s sole commit from the Peach State (at least so far?), Thompkins was the second of four (4) OL commits (again, so far) during this June-July run. Citing Baylor’s culture as a key aspect of his recruitment, the Georgia native chose the Bears over Florida, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, and West Virginia, among others, on June 26.

CB LeVar Thornton, Jr. | Keller, Texas | 3* | 87.41

The prototypical tall corner, Thornton committed to the Bears on June 27 after having visited the prior weekend. Thornton currently has offers from all three service academies, Boise State, and Vandy but is expected to get more going forward.

DL DK Kalu | Missouri City, Texas | 3* | 87.44

Kalu chose the Bears on June 28, giving Dennis Johnson a big win over TCU, who was reportedly the other finalist for Kalu’s services. Kalu appears to be a likely DT and had offers from TCU, Iowa State, SMU, Kansas State, and Georgia Tech, among others.

OL Calvin Clements | Lawrence, Kansas | 3* | 87.19

I always enjoy when we get commits from cities in other states that have schools in our conference, and Clements is no exception. The third of Baylor’s four OL commits in this run, Clements is a likely tackle at 6-7, 275 pounds and had offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, and Minnesota.

K/P Palmer Williams | Mocksville, North Carolina | Unranked

Don’t be fooled by the lack of a ranking for Williams; for whatever reason, recruiting services have always been terrible at ranking specialists except for a handful each year. Chris Sailer, as authoritative an authority on kickers and punters as there is, says Williams is a 5* punter ranked #2 in the country.

OL Isaiah Robinson | Arlington, Texas | 4* | 91.91

Aside from being a gargantuan human being at 6-7, 288 pounds, Robinson is also a gargantuan commit, being the #10 recruit ever for Baylor according to 247’s historical recruit rankings, ahead of classmate Austin Novosad at #17. He’s also the highest-ranked OL commit we’ve ever had, AND he’s from Arlington, which we all know is outstanding. Robinson’s offer list is far too long to list, so here’s a sampling in alphabetical order: Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, USC, and Utah. That’s a solid list.

I think that’s all fourteen of the June and July commits (so far), but more may be coming, so check back. With these fourteen in the fold, Baylor’s current class looks like this (links to come!):

2023 Recruiting Class — National Rank: 9; Big 12 Rank: 2; Commits: 22

QB: Austin Novosad
RB: Bryson Washington
RB: Dawson Pendergrass
WR: Micah Gifford
TE: Matthew Klopfenstein
TE: Hawkins Polley
OL: Isaiah Robinson
OL: Calvin Clements
OL: Sean Thompkins
OL: Wes Tucker

DL: Jaren Woods
DL: DK Kalu
DL: Trent Thomas
LB: Christian Brathwaite
LB: Corey Kelly
LB: Taurean York
CB: Tay’Shawn Wilson
CB: Carl Williams IV
CB: LeVar Thornton, Jr.
S: Cory Huff, Jr.
S: DJ Coleman

K/P: Palmer Williams

I’m going to do some more work in these lists going forward and possibly even start the monthly threads back up!

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