Top Recruiting Wins in the Briles Era Pt 2

In part two of our series, we take a look at 3 receivers that the Bears beat the Oklahoma Sooners for, and maybe one of the most complicated recruiting sagas in recent Baylor history.

In part one, we took a look at Robert Griffin III, Brian Nance and Jonathan Lee. In the second part of the series, we continue looking at Wide Receivers, especially those that the Oklahoma Sooners wanted. We also go over the unique and fascinating recruitment of one Ahmad Dixon. Get yourselves comfortable, because this is a long one.

Kendall Wright:

Class of 2008 Three-Star WR

67th ranked WR– Pittsburg, TX

Beat out Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas and Oklahoma State

While there were higher rated players in this class (including Mike Williams and Gary Mason Jr.), you only get to beat OU for a recruit it wants a few times, especially considering where the Bears were at in early 2008 when Wright pulled the trigger for Baylor and sent in his Letter of Intent on national signing day.

Kendall was a do it all quarterback at Pittsburg High School, and was being looked at for offense and defense. "He's an outstanding athlete on both sides of the ball," said Pittsburg head coach Robert Manley. "He's got great speed, quickness and agility."

Oklahoma wanted Wright to be a shut-down corner for them. Arkansas jumped in late pushing the idea of offense on him. "They told me that they want me to come in and play receiver," Wright said when asked how the Razorbacks got in to his top three. "I do not want to play defensive back at all." With it being clear that Kendall did not want to play in the defensive backfield, OU changed gears and started recruiting him on offense, but it was too late for the future All-American and first round pick.

Wright was one of five signing day surprises for the Bears to finish out Art Briles' first recruiting class.

Darius Jones:

Class of 2009; 4-star WR

30th ranked WR – Marshall, TX

Beat out Oklahoma, LSU, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech

The East Texas star quarterback and District 12-4A MVP was another late win for the Bears, committing to Baylor in late January, just before signing day. This was by design, according to Jones. "I probably won't decide until after the season," replied Jones when asked about a timetable for his decision."

At first, the Oklahoma Big 12 schools led for the 4-star athlete's services, but soon, a major Texas school would get involved. "I'm being recruited the hardest by Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma." Jones said. "I went to OSU's junior day and I was offered. It was pretty nice up there. I liked it. I followed Texas A&M some growing up. It's a school I feel comfortable with," Jones said. "If I had to say one team is a little ahead, it's probably A&M but it's still early and I want to keep my options open for now and see what's out there."

Throughout the spring of 2008, Jones was said to be a major Aggie lean. However, in May, that changed. "I was talking with coach [Randy] Jordan a lot," Darius Jones said. "But to be honest I haven't heard from them in a while." With the Aggies letting off the gas, LSU made a charge into the lead, with them wanting him more as a cornerback. "I am going to be doing a lot on the field this season," Jones said. "I am being recruited as an athlete, but at LSU they are definitely wanting me to play corner."

In July though, Jones pulled a surprise and committed to OU as an athlete, after he eliminated LSU. From July through January, there was not a single scout article written on Jones. Nothing from the young man said he was looking around, until real late.

Jones, being recruited as a Wide Receiver for the Bears, versus Defensive Back for OU, cited feeling at home down in Waco. "I guess I feel more at home playing for the Bears. I have friends down there, and the coaches made me feel welcomed. They are really nice, and I know they will take care of me."

With the late steal, the Bears got their top recruit for the 2009 recruiting class, and stole it from one of the Alpha Dogs in the conference.

Corey Coleman:

Class of 2012; 4-star WR

23rd Ranked WR – Richardson, TX

Beat out Oklahoma, California, Oklahoma State and West Virginia

Another highly rated wide receiver, and another one that the Bears beat out OU for. Sensing a theme to this group, are we? With some parts being similar, this recruitment story is the exact opposite of the first two. While the previous two (Wright and Jones) committed late in the process, Coleman committed to Baylor in May, with the Bears having to hold onto their prize commit for several months. The Bears withstood the late push by several marquee programs, and kept Coleman in the fold.

Baylor was named a leader throughout the 4-star speedster's recruitment. In April, Coleman named the Bears his leader, with Oklahoma State trailing. "They're my favorite right now. I like the coaches a lot and they said I'd be able to play early. They told me I'd have a chance to start and said they'd get me the ball a lot."

In April though, OU finally entered the picture, offering Coleman and causing him to slow down his recruitment. With most schools recruiting him as a Wide Receiver, Oklahoma fancied the Richardson athlete on the other side of the field, as a defensive back. Coleman, while open to the idea, had a preference.

"I went to their camp last summer, and worked out as a receiver because that's where I was wanting to play in college," explained Coleman. "The DB coach liked me because I could play both ways. They started liking me more at DB. I wouldn't mind playing DB, but I really wanted to play receiver."

Even after the commitment to Baylor though, the interest with OU did not go away. Coleman visited Norman in August, causing much hand-wringing among the Bear faithful. Along with the visit, Coleman also received a "prestigious" offer from Texas, as Mack Brown came down from the heavens to authorize the offer and make it officially official (or something like that).

With the renewed interest from OU, the Sooner staff started to soften their stance on Corey on defense. "Coach Venables, he told me that I can play either side of the ball, that's what Coach Stoops told him," Coleman stated. Despite the visit though, Coleman was solidly a Baylor Bear and would stay committed to Coach Briles, and help him build his best recruiting class.

Ahmad Dixon:

Class of 2010; 4-star safety

10th ranked Safety – Waco, TX

Beat out Southern Cal, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, and Auburn

While researching for these profiles, I found it interesting to look at the pure number of stories on certain recruits. Dixon had an amazing 35 stories written about him from November 2008 through November 2009. That is almost 3 stories per month! The Waco-Midway star safety was atop the Bears recruiting list for years, and quite honestly, it felt like it took years to secure, keep, lose, and then get back this young man's commitment.

Dixon seemed at first destined to dawn the burnt orange of Texas, as he received an offer on his visit to Austin during their first Junior Day and committed two days later on February 9th. He did this pretty quickly in the recruiting process, to little surprise, joining a star-studded defensive group that also included Baylor target Taylor Bible.

Throughout the first few months of his commitment, the 5-star talent (ranked 21st overall in the nation at this time) stayed firm with UT. "I'm still 100% committed," said Dixon to Bobby Bragg of Longhorn Digest in late March, 2009. However in May, something changed for the young man.

"Ahmad called Coach Muschamp today and told them and then he called the Baylor guys and told them he was switching to Baylor," Midway coach Kent Bachtel told Burnt Orange Beat this afternoon. Why the switch? "There were some good guys. There were guys that caught my eye that I think coming to Baylor will help us get to the next level," Dixon told BearsIllustrated. "Baylor is fixing to start something great. I want to be a part of what they are about to start. It is a great place, and it is close to home. It is just a place where I would like to play ball at."

However, just a few weeks down the road, Dixon would start taking more trips to camps. Yea," said safety Ahmad Dixon in regards to him camping at LSU and Auburn. "I'm going there to get better. I want to keep competing so I can keep improving my game." At the time, Dixon denied his wavering on Baylor. "It doesn't have anything to do with me wanting to go to those schools. I'm solid to Baylor. I just want to go to compete and learn new things."

With the visits though, Dixon would eventually turn into a soft commit to the Bears, especially with visits to Alabama, Oklahoma State, Florida, LSU and Texas A&M on the horizon. The big change though would be on a visit to Tennessee in mid-November. After the visit, Dixon re-opened his commitment, and putting Tennesse at the top of his list.

"I would consider my commitment to Baylor as a soft one," Dixon told InsideTennessee.com on Tuesday evening. "I'm re-opening my recruitment. I have let the Baylor coaches know that I'm looking at other options."

"Tennessee is at the top of my list right now after my official visit there. I like them a lot. All the great people there are incredible," Dixon said. "The game day atmosphere was unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it. Tennessee is a good fit for me."

During the next few months, Dixon would be rumored to be committed or interested in Tennessee, Baylor, Texas A&M, USC, Auburn and Alabama. With his traveling partner Lache Seastrunk going with him on many visits, some assumed that both would go to USC or Auburn together. However on January 9th, Dixon committed to the Tennessee Volunteers.

His commitment to the Vols though was rather short lived, as recommitted to Baylor just a few weeks later, as Lane Kiffin left Tennessee for the Southern Cal job. With this change though, Baylor would have to fight off USC and Oklahoma State late to keep Dixon. The Cowboys made a very late push to try and secure his services, and Baylor fans anxiously awaited the arrival of his letter of intent. Luckily for the Bears, the fax machine was working, and they got their stud safety to stay close to home.


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