Deonte Williams Commits
Prestonwood linebacker Deonte Williams committed to Baylor last night to become the 12th commit in the class and the first linebacker. Williams plays both running back and outside linebacker currently, but is expected to play linebacker in college. His highlights show off a nose for the ball that is reminiscent of recent Baylor outside linebackers like Eddie Lackey and Taylor Young, and at 6'1 he has the size and athleticism to surpass them both if he adjusts well to the college game.
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Williams has reportedly involved his family heavily in his recruitment, especially his father. Many believe that his handling of the process makes him more likely to remain committed despite being heavily recruited by TCU, Iowa, and Iowa State among others. Welcome to the family, Deonte!
If you haven't been to Waco in the last two years, you really need to visit. The city is a completely different place than it was when I first arrived on campus. Downtown is slowly being revitalized, the potential of the river is being realized, and large projects like McLane Stadium and the new I-35 bridges have completely changed the skyline. The student body is enjoying the city more than ever before. The rise of Baylor Football has been the spark Waco was looking for for the better part of a century.
The completion of the frontage road bridges across the Brazos to help accommodate traffic are beautiful already. Their art-deco styling fits nicely with the rest of the skyline and they provide easy access to McLane Stadium from campus. The city recently added an LED lighting system to the bridges to add some much-needed flair. If you haven't seen them in action already, check out the embedded video.
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That'll be a nice addition to the glow of Pat Neff Hall after a win.
Dream Again: Isaiah Austin has Come Full Circle
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Crazyyyy man... It's so surreal to see how far God has brought me in only one year, blessed and thankful is all I can be right now! </p>— Isaiah Austin (@IsaiahAustin) <a href="https://twitter.com/IsaiahAustin/status/613207624557953024">June 23, 2015</a></blockquote>
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A year ago this week, Isaiah Austin was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome ahead of the NBA Draft and informed that he would never be able to play basketball at a competitive level again. The year since has seen Austin transform from a basketball player trying to make it to the league to a highly influential figure in the basketball community. He's worked as a manager for Baylor Basketball, served as a guest commentator on television broadcasts, booked speaking engagements addressing varied audiences, and become the poster boy for beating the odds.
Austin was a five star recruit despite being blind in one eye as a result of a childhood baseball accident- a fact that he kept hidden from all but Scott Drew during his recruitment. He went on to be a leader for Baylor for two seasons. It wasn't until midway through his sophomore season that he revealed his so-called disability to the public, instantly winning over many fans. The Marfan diagnosis was devastating to Austin and the basketball community as a whole.
Now, one year later, Isaiah has released his memoir, Dream Again, discussing his upbringing, a career that was cut short, and the lessons he has learned since. Ironically, Isaiah Austin has likely become more influential than he would have been in the NBA, and we're all extremely proud of him.
72 Days Until Football: Blake Blackmar
Blake Blackmar, of Houston Clear Lake High School, is currently a redshirt freshman with Baylor Football. Blackmar was a utility lineman in high school, starting all four years and playing all five positions at one point or another, eventually settling in at left tackle but projecting as a guard at the next level. Blackmar definitely has the size required for the position at 6'5, 340, but after a redshirt season we're not sure how he fits into the depth chart, with guys like Desmine Hilliard, Jarrell Broxton, and the Muir brothers ahead of him.
Beyond being a future contributor on the gridiron, Blackmar is a force to be reckoned with academically. He posted the highest GPA on his high school team and made the dean's list during his freshman year at Baylor. Pre-business is his current field of study.
Hope to see you in action this season, Blake! Have fun mopping up SMU and Lamar.