While every program tries to get the top rated 4 and 5 star athletes to their campus, sometimes you have to make do with lesser publicized recruits. The Baylor Bears under Coach Art Briles have done an excellent job of taking those 2-star players and turning them into All-Conference caliber players and even NFL players. In our first two segments, we took a look at 7 such players.
In our third part, we will learn the last three players on the list, all from the first class of the Briles era. Strangely, all three of these players were originally offered by Guy Morriss in the summer of 2007, but Briles kept them and developed them. So who gets the credit, the person who first offered them or the person who developed them into the players they are?
Terrance Williams – 2008 two-star WR (262nd)
The 5-member wide receiver class of the 2008 for the Baylor Bears has made an incredible mark on the program on the playing field and the record books. Williams was the 4th ranked of that group, behind Kendall Wright, T.J. Scranton from Junior College, and fellow starting wide receiver Lanear Sampson. However, having the biggest catch in Baylor history and being a projected first round pick in the 2013 NFL draft has put Williams in a class that only he and Wright have reached during Baylor history.
Terrance will be entering his third season as a starter for the Bears. In his first year, he contributed 43 catches for 484 yards and 4 touchdowns. Solid numbers for sure, but only a small piece of what was to come. In his junior campaign, he caught just 16 more balls, but they went for almost twice as many yards. He also almost tripled his touchdowns to 11 and was 3rd in the conference in yards per reception at 16.2 (behind teammate Tevin Reese, featured last week).
Williams is up for the Biletnikoff Award (Along with Reese) this year that goes to the nation's best wide receiver, and is a pre-season All-Big 12 player. Not too bad for a 2-star player from W.T. White High School in Dallas. Williams did not receive much attention during the recruiting process, and in fact does not have a single article linked to him in the Scout database. Terrance is another player that stood out to the coaching staff during a summer camp. Williams actually received his offer from Guy Morriss and committed to him during the summer of 2007, but Briles stuck with his credit
Jared Salubi – 2008 two-star RB (120th)
Salubi, like Williams, received his offer from former Bears coach Guy Morriss and committed to him in the summer. The Waco native stayed close to home despite offers from Texas Tech and Missouri and interest from Notre Dame and Michigan. Salubi was more of a speed back in high school at Waco High School, as he was a vital member to the Lions track team in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
"My biggest strength is my vision, I can see the cutback lanes and hit them quick. I also have a good combination of power and speed. This off-season I am focusing on improving my blocking technique and getting even faster" said Salubi to TexasPrepReport.com. The 2-star back has built himself into a much better all-around running back during his time at Baylor.
Coming off of two seasons as the primary backup to 1,000 yard rushers Jay Finley and Terrance Ganaway, Salubi is poised to take the reins on the starting running back position. Salubi has rushed for over 800 yards over his first three seasons, but I would not be shocked to see him eclipse that amount during his final year.
During his freshman campaign, he was asked to be more of a receiver out of the backfield, hauling in 19 passes, compared to a total of 10 over his next two seasons. I personally think the pass to the halfback is going to be a larger part of the offense this year, and Salubi can make an impact in that area of the game.
"Having my family come see my home games is a major factor. Another thing is the academics is really great at Baylor. I was also looking for a school where I could come up and maybe have a chance to play as a freshman. That's a major thing, to be able to play for four years, but those are the kinds of things that sold me on Baylor," Salubi told BearsIllustrated after he signed in February 2008.
"I just plan to bring the best that I can bring to Baylor." Count me as one Baylor fan hoping he saved his best for last.
Cameron Kaufhold – 2008 two-star OL (138th)
To me, Kaufhold has always seemed to be the forgotten man on the line. He is a player that has not received the publicity of Ivory Wade, or Philip Blake or any of the other linemen that Briles has put into the NFL. Kaufhold though has been a rock on the line. He is the guy you forget to name as one of the starters, but is always there, ready to play any position you ask him too. He played left guard pretty exclusively last year, but is switching over to the right guard position this year, to form one of the strongest interior lines in recent memory (along with Ivory Wade and Cyril Richardson, two other massive human beings).
In 2010, Kaufhold rotated between the left and right guard position from game to game, depending on what the Bears needed. The Senior will be a 3-year started and probably end up with over 33 career starts. While his career might end with the Bears, I would not hold it past him to get drafted or end up with an NFL team. Doubt Cameron at your own risk.
While Salubi and Williams received their offers and committed in the Summer of 2007, Kaufhold actually gave his commitment to Briles and was in fact the third player to commit to Briles (behind Robert Griffin III and Rodney Brisbon, both Houston commitments under Briles). The 2-star tackle was very interested in Baylor, but not enough to commit until Coach Briles took over. "I went up to Baylor this summer, and I like the campus and the school. However, I didn't want to be a part of that program then. Really, Coach Briles and Coach Clements put all the pieces together. They were like the final piece of the puzzle."