Baylor collected a big-time commitment for its 2016 recruiting class Tuesday morning when in-state running back Kameron Martin verbally pledged to the Bears. The 4-star prospect announced his intentions on Twitter:
Just committed to Baylor #RBU 🐻— Kameron Martin (@TeamKamMartin) July 15, 2014
Martin is rated No. 1 nationally as an all-purpose back among rising juniors in 247Sports' composite rankings. He quickly emerged as one of the most coveted recruits in talent-laden Texas, garnering offers from more than 20 collegiate programs.
The 5'10", 170-pound playmaker has a scholarship list that includes Clemson, Miami, Tennessee, Cal and Ole Miss. Florida State was previously viewed as a favorite, projected to land Martin by 54 percent of expert predictions in 247Sports' Crystal Ball.
Instead, he plans to stay in his home state with an up-and-coming program. Art Briles has led Baylor to a 29-10 record since 2011, reaching the Fiesta Bowl last season.
The team's explosive offensive attack has attracted plenty of attention along the way. Baylor became an alluring option for Martin early, and that intrigue culminated with his commitment.
"I've always wanted to commit." he told Brian Ethridge of 247Sports. "This is the best feeling ever."
Martin rose to prominence as a sophomore at Memorial High School in Port Arthur. The East Texas standout rushed for 1,060 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013, averaging nearly eight yards per carry.
He shared handoffs with 2015 Texas Tech commit Corey Dauphine. The two-back approach kept both runners fresh and should continue into the upcoming campaign.
His decision to join Baylor's 2016 Class this early shouldn't be understated. It's a sign of changing tides in the Texas recruiting landscape, where the Bears spent years serving as a doormat for more successful Lone Star State schools.
The rise of Briles' program is a theme worth monitoring throughout the 2016 cycle. Aside from Martin, Baylor has already secured commitments from 4-star quarterback Zach Smith and 4-star cornerback KeShawn Somerville.
A strong 2014 season and possible Heisman Trophy campaign for quarterback Bryce Petty could ultimately push the recruiting climate to new heights in Waco. The team is already assembling an impressive offensive haul for the future.
He serves as a speedster at Port Arthur, perfectly complementing the more powerful Dauphine. His 40-yard dash time is clocked at 4.39 seconds, per 247Sports.
Where does Baylor rank in recruiting among Texas football programs?
While his game is built on quickness, Martin manages to cause damage between the tackles and already features a solid physique with two more years of high school to build. He should take over workhorse running back duties in 2015, which will further provide an indication of what Baylor is adding to its backfield.
Martin also makes an impact in the passing game and is a highlight reel waiting to happen when his offense can get him the ball in open space.
Perhaps more important than the potential of Martin is the promise of this class as a whole. Another heralded prospect is on board and, although Baylor may eventually have to fight off the likes of Texas and Texas A&M for his signature, the Bears just won a head-to-head recruiting battle with the defending national champions.
Baylor has officially caught fire on the 2016 recruiting trail.
Recruit ratings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise mentioned.