National singing day is now in the books and the Baylor Bears have signed 23 new members to the 2012 football squad.
Head coach Art Briles said in his recruiting announcement, “We feel very confident and very passionate about this class as being as good as we’ve ever signed in our five signing classes at Baylor.”
Looking at the list, it is clear that the primary goal for the Bears this year was to recruit on the defensive side of the ball. Almost two-thirds of the signees will play on the defense.
The team also made pickups on the offensive side, signing potential replacements for the stars that Baylor will be losing after this year.
The following will give a brief overview of all 23 players that can now call themselves Baylor Bears and what coach Briles thought of each one.
Note: All quotes from head coach Art Briles were obtained from baylorbears.com.
Honors: All-State defensive end (Texas).
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 64 tackles (25 for loss), six sacks, seven forced fumbles and one blocked field goal.
Quick Analysis: Jamal Palmer is a solid player who can anchor the defensive line. He has a good amount of speed that will help Baylor stop the run and make effective use of blitz packages. In fact, he is at his best when he is rushing the passer.
He needs to work on his stance and make adjustments to become even better at the position.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles commented on this player’s explosiveness and his ability to make quick moves towards the ball.
Honors: 2011 Houston Nike SPARQ All-Combine team (junior).
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 35 tackles, two sacks and two quarterback hurries.
Quick Analysis: Zorrell Ezell joins the Bears with a determination to create chaos on the field, which is both a good and bad thing.
He uses that determination to explode off the line and get through blockers, but can also use trick moves to get behind an offensive line.
On the other hand, his attitude might hinder him when it comes to playing with finesse and other higher-level traits.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles commented on Ezell’s aggressiveness, but also noted his speed as a promising addition.
Honors: Second-team Dallas-Fort Worth 4A All-Area.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 37 tackles (28 solo) and two interceptions.
Quick Analysis: Terrell Burt’s biggest weakness is his lack of size. As a result, he is one of the fastest defensive backs out there.
He matches his speed with his high football IQ and is able to adjust to the correct part of the field depending on the play. Baylor will probably use him specifically to play against the run, as he is very well attuned to bringing the running back down.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles noted this player’s speed and stated that, “He can fly.”
Honors: Rated among top 50 safety recruits in the nation across multiple outlets.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): N/A.
Quick Analysis: Aiavion Edwards played his high school career mainly as a running back.
He will most likely be utilized in the safety position, however, as he can match his speed up with his long length and range.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles made note of Edwards’ quickness matched up with his physical ability. He also wanted it to be known that Edwards is a “tremendous person” who “stayed true to us all the way through” when referring to the recruitment process.
Honors: All-State defensive back (Texas).
2011 Associated Press Class 3A Defensive Player of the Year.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 177 tackles (118 solo) and eight interceptions (four for touchdowns).
Quick Analysis: Patrick Levels brings a dual-threat to Baylor, but not in the usual way.
In addition to his defensive performance, Levels has the ability to break away on punt returns, which would be a welcome addition to the Baylor special teams.
Even so, his defense alone is impressive enough. His speed and coverage ability will be well-utilized at the cornerback position.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles focused his comments on the leadership quality of Levels. He stated the importance of having a member of the team with an attitude like Levels.
Honors: 2011 honorable mention Class 4A All-State player.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 60 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Quick Analysis: What Ryan Reid lacks in height, he makes up for with his mentality.
He never stops playing the ball and is a fantastic zone coverage man.
He is going to have to work on his cornerback skills, if he is put in that position, as he played safety in high school.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles was most excited about the fact that Reid fought off other schools and committed to Baylor. He noted his excellent coverage, as well.
Honors: 2010 first-team All-District 8-4A safety (Texas).
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 77 tackles, four interceptions and nine broken up passes.
Quick Analysis: Hailing from Baylor’s backyard, Waco, Texas, Orion Stewart is yet another speedy addition to this Baylor secondary.
His ability to get off the ball is exciting, but he needs to gain some more experience to become the best player he can be.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles was excited to see the progress that Stewart has made the past couple of years, recognizing the fact that “he really hasn’t dedicated himself to football until the last few years.” He also lauded his leaping ability and top speed.
Honors: 2011 first-team Class 3A All-State.
Consistently ranked among top defensive recruits across multiple outlets.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 49 tackles and 11 sacks.
Quick Analysis: Javonte Magee is the complete package.
He has length, size and enough speed to rush the passer.
He has no problem pushing blockers off of him and can certainly plug holes in the run game.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles acclaimed Magee as “the most heralded defensive recruit we’ve signed.” He praised his athleticism and personality, as well.
Honors: Ranked in top 60 defensive linemen across multiple outlets.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 47 tackles (18 for loss) and eight sacks.
Quick Analysis: Dominique Banks’ most promising attribute is his ability to pressure the quarterback. He can get off the ball with good speed, but lacks consistency in this department.
He also needs to fill out and develop his overall frame more before he can become a true threat at the position.
With some key games under his belt, Banks will progress nicely.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles recognized Banks’ passion and aggressiveness at the defensive position.
Honors: 2011 first-team All-District 24-3A (Texas).
Key Statistics (Senior Season): N/A.
Quick Analysis: Shamycheal Chatman has a diverse background on the defensive side of the ball. He has experience at defensive end and linebacker.
He does need to develop his build and grow in his speed to become a threat at the linebacker position in college.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles said of Chatman, “He’s a great kid who’s mature… He has tremendous upside.”
Honors: 2011 first-team Class 5A All-State (Texas).
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 89 tackles (56 solo), one sack and one blocked punt.
Quick Analysis: Kendall Ehrlich is a classic linebacker type. He plays at such a high level of intensity that he can overpower blockers, sack the quarterback and stop the run.
He even has complete field ability, but could work to improve his coverage.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles stated that Ehrlich is “a tireless worker and a tough kid.” He is going to look to this linebacker to be an “impact player” on the defensive side of the ball.
Honors: All-Southwestern defensive back (2009).
Key Statistics (Junior College): 54 tackles.
Quick Analysis: Eddie Lackey is an all-around linebacker with huge promise.
He was one of the best junior college defensive players this past season and uses his skill set to his advantage.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles noted that Lackey is everything that one would expect in a linebacker. He is “fast, tough, intense, aggressive, focused and motivated.”
*Signed in December 2011
Honors: Nationally ranked among top 35 outside linebackers.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 67 tackles, two interceptions and five sacks.
Quick Analysis: Brian Nance is another all-around linebacker. He can provide strong pass coverage and even grab the ball when it is thrown his way, forcing multiple key turnovers.
His open-field tackling ability is also highly praised.
His improvement will need to come on the run stop aspect of his game, of which he is already improving.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles recognized Nance’s “sideline-to-sideline” ability and also said that he is glad Nance is at Baylor, knowing that he has a bright future ahead of him.
Honors: 2011 All-Greater Houston second team.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): N/A.
Quick Analysis: Recruited by several BCS schools, Tre’Von Armstead is a great build for the offensive line.
Once he gets on his man, he hardly relinquishes his block, but can sometimes play too stiff to create effective holes.
It has also been noticed that he needs to develop more speed off the snap and jump on his defenders a little faster.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles gave Armstead a big show of support, "[he is] one of the top, if not the top, offensive tackles in the state of Texas.”
Honors: Consensus top 100 recruit among offensive lineman in Texas.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): N/A.
Quick Analysis: Kyle Fuller is extremely athletic for his size. He can block not only on the line of scrimmage, but drop back or push forward and throw key blocks from there.
For a man his size, he runs very well and has a certain degree of quickness not seen in many linemen.
He does need to add some build to his frame before he can be a true player, however.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles sees the potential for Fuller to develop into a fantastic lineman and “play at a very, very high level.”
Honors: 2011 MaxPreps U.S. Air Force Small School All-American.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 72 receptions, 1,786 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Quick Analysis: Lynx Hawthorne will probably find himself at a different position than the quarterback that he is used to playing.
He has the height and build for a good receiver, but not for an effective college quarterback.
To add to that, he can be dangerously elusive and fight for some critical yards after the catch.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles said that the team plans on using Hawthorne at the receiver position.
*Signed in December 2011
Honors: 2011 first-team Class 5A All-State quarterback.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 2,565 yards, 59.6% completion percentage
Quick Analysis: Probably not going to be used at the quarterback position, Terrence Singleton could end up on the defensive side of the ball.
His speed and athleticism allow him to keep up with receiver routes and close on gaps effectively.
Then again, he has the ability to be an effective receiver, if Baylor feels the need to put him there.
Wherever he ends up, he will have to take some time to get used to the position.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles called Singleton “an extremely gifted player.” He also noted the fact that Singleton is a leader and a respected player on the field.
Honors: 2011 first-team Class 2A All-State running back.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 241 attempts, 2,105 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Quick Analysis: Not necessarily the tallest of recruits, Rashodrick Linwood makes up for his height with his strength and quick hands.
He can run good, crisp routes and turn up the heat on the end of his routes.
His only issue is his lack of deep experience at one specific position, seeing as how he played multiple positions in high school.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles lauded Linwood as “the highlight of camp [last summer].” He cited his several explosive plays on the offensive side of the ball as causing great excitement.
Honors: 2011 second-team Class 3A All-State (Texas).
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 181 carries, 1,246 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Quick Analysis: Not the most lauded running back, Devin Chafin will most likely sit behind Lache Seastrunk and Jared Salubi before he sees any time on the field.
He has good height for the position and pairs that with his patience to find the hole in the line.
His ability to catch is what sets him apart, as he can definitely be a threat on receiving routes.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles cited Chafin’s “hand-eye coordination” as being his biggest upside at the position.
Honors: 2011 first-team Class 4A All-State.
District 10-4A MVP (WR).
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 69 receptions, 932 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Quick Analysis: Corey Coleman will be one of the fastest receivers to ever play for Baylor. He runs a 4.41 40-yard dash and has fantastic hands to go with it.
He is not the tallest receiver (5’11’’), but Baylor is used to shorter receivers.
He has a great ability to make people miss and he finds breaks in coverage and exploits them.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles called on Coleman “to be the guy.” He said that the “sky’s the limit” with his potential.
Honors: Ranked among top 60 receivers across multiple outlets.
Key Statistics (Senior Season)*: 12 receptions, 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Quick Analysis: The only thing holding Griffin back is the fact that he is coming off of an injury from his junior season.
He needs to get his quickness back and begin to use his size to his advantage.
If he can keep building his game, he can start making people miss more and continue to get the big catches.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles called Griffin “a physical specimen” and is excited to have him on the team.
*Did not play primarily as a wide receiver
Honors: 2011 first-team All-District 17-5A wide receiver.
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 31 receptions, 563 yard and 13 touchdowns.
Quick Analysis: Kaleb Moore has been lauded for his jumping ability, reaching lengths of 24 feet in the long jump and 47 feet in the triple jump.
Couple that with good hands and Baylor now has one of the most exciting receivers in college football if he can continue to develop his strengths.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles seemed most excited about Moore’s leaping ability, citing this as his most promising trait.
Honors: 2011 second-team All-District 10-5A (Texas).
Key Statistics (Senior Season): 103 completions, 1,502 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Quick Analysis: Seth Russell looks like he will fit perfectly in this Baylor offense.
He spent most of high school career playing out of the shotgun formation and possesses good poise in the pocket, rarely getting rattled after a sack.
He has excellent control over the ball and knows how to find the open man.
Overall, he needs to continue developing his BCS level of play.
Coach Briles’ Notes: Coach Briles hailed Russell as being the player that he is most “excited about… because of what he brings to the table.”