The big news this offseason were the legal troubles of started end Tevin Elliott. Due to those troubles, Elliott was dismissed from the team, and has since transferred to Central Arkansas. In addition to Elliott, the Bears also lost two backups going into the year that could have helped at end, Kedrick Dial and Robert Singletary (listed a LB, but played DE as well). There are also rumors that Clarence Lee is leaving the program.
Elliott will be missed next year, as he was a solid pass rusher, who finished third on the team with 3 sacks. He was also a key member of special teams and really gave the Bears some elite athleticism at the defensive end position. However, with the seriousness of his legal issues, it is probably best that he find a new place to play.
With these departures, the Bears are left with 3 experienced ends to choose from. Terrance Lloyd, Gary Mason Jr. and Chris McAllister were the three ends on the 2-deep for the spring practice. Luckily for the Bears, Lloyd and Mason Jr have a ton of experience (combined 36 starts) at the starting positions.
In addition to the three upper-classmen, the Bears have a very talented group of 4 ends joining the team this fall, including 3 freshmen and a very talented transfer. Headlining the group is 4-star end Javonte Magee. We already touched on Magee a bit in our Top Recruiting Wins Series (Finished 1st overall), so you can imagine the impact that Baylor fans expect him to make.
Magee has excellent size, and is a great athlete. He will more than likely play the strong-side defensive end position, but he can also slide inside and play the tackle position. He is a relentless player who is excellent against the run, and shows the potential to be good in pass rush. He will need to improve his technique and develop pass rushing moves, but he is a guy that is physically gifted enough to step on the field right away.
Joining Magee from the high school ranks are two three-star prospects, Jamal Palmer and Dominique Banks. While Palmer is the higher rated of the two players, Banks has the size to be able to contribute this year if needed. Banks played for a very successful Denton Ryan team, and collected offers from Arkansas, Arizona State, Kansas State and Mississippi State among others.
Palmer is more of a project, with great upside and athletic ability. At just 230 pounds though, Palmer will need to put on some weight, but if he works hard, he could develop into a very good pass-rusher for the Bears.
The final newcomer for the Bears might be the most interesting incoming player for next year. Shawn Oakman comes to Baylor from Penn State, after having some legal issues. If this sounds familiar, it should, as this is the same story of former 1st round pick and Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor. Oakman is a very large man, who will be an incoming sophomore next year. The former 4-star recruit could be an impact player.
There is a chance that he could even be eligible this year, with the sanctions coming down on Penn State earlier this week. Will Oakman be given the immediate eligibility that his former teammates will get, even though he had already left the program? We will see what happens. But even without his immediate help, he will be able to work with the Strength and Conditioning team at Baylor and improve.
Baylor already has 2 commitments for the 2013 class, but I don't expect anymore to join them, unless it is a very high caliber player they create a spot for. Kevin Smith was the 2nd commitment for Art Briles this year, and chose the Bears over TCU. Joining Smith will be Tanner Thrift, a small high school star. He is currently unranked by Scout, but his size and athleticism are what interested Baylor.
Current Depth Chart
Right End: Gary Mason – 6-4, 265, SR
Left End: Terrance Lloyd – 6-3, 240, JR
Backup: Chris McAllister – 6-3, 255, JR
1. Javonte Magee – 6-6, 273, 4-Star DE (11th Ranked)
2. Jamal Palmer – 6-3, 230, 3-Star DE (69th Ranked)
3. Dominique Banks – 6-3, 255, 3-Star DE (112th Ranked)
4. Shawn Oakman – 6-8, 260, Sophomore, 4-star DE (Penn State Transfer)
2013 Recruits Offered:
1. Kevin Smith – 6-2, 240, 3-Star DE (30th Ranked) COMMITTED
2. Tanner Thrift – 6-5, 235, 2-Star DE (Not Ranked) COMMITTED
3. Torrodney Prevot – 6-4, 205, 4-Star DE (8th Ranked)
4. Marcus Hardison – 6-4, 260, 3-Star DE (Juco, Not Ranked)