Bears Recruiting Board Grades

With most of the 2014 recruiting class filled up with verbal commitments, I thought now would be a good time to look at how the Bears are looking at each position in terms of the big picture. That's right, it time for grades!

Offense

Quarterback – No commitments

Still on the board – Randall Cunningham

Off the board – Brandon Harris (LSU), Jerrod Heard (Texas), Foster Sawyer (TCU), Rafe Peavy (Arkansas)

While there are some big names off the board already, the Bears and coach Briles have left little doubt that their top quarterback prospect is Randall Cunningham. Nothing has changed since the spring and until Cunningham chooses the college he will attend, the Bears still have a chance at a solid A or and an F if they miss out on him. Right no though, hard to say.

GRADE – INCOMPLETE

Running back - Terence Williams

Still on the Board – Tyreek Hill

Off the Board – Joe Mixon, Shaun Nixon (Texas A&M), Justin Stockton (Texas Tech)

The Bears offered Williams and got him, and he looks to be their top target. They have kept him through some flirting here and there, but he has never officially decommited. Tyreek Hill is a longshot at this point, but the Bears might not even need him. Williams is the main name here, and as long as Baylor keeps him, they will have a good grade.

GRADE – A-

Wide Receiver – Davion Hall, Kd Cannon, Ishmael Zamora, Chris Platt

Still on the Board – None

Off the Board – Armanti Foreman (Texas)

Is it possible to give 7+ after an A? The Bears nailed their wide receiver class, getting all of four of their top targets. This is no doubt the best position class in any recruiting class in recent Baylor history. Hall and Cannon are two of the top 6 at the position according to Scout, Platt has tremendous speed and Zamora is a big body with elite athleticism that could blossom into something special. Outstanding group.

GRADE – A+

Tight End – Blake Mahon, Jordan Feuerbacher

Still On the Board – None

Off the Board – Tyler Lutua, John Thomas (Texas),

Baylor wanted two tight ends and they got two solid ones in Mahon and Feuerbacher. They might have reached for Lutua, a legit difference maker at the position. Mahon will come to Baylor during the winter break to improve his chances at playing right away. Not a homerun on these two players, but a nice double is nothing to scoff at.

Grade – B+

Offensive Tackle– Patrick Lawrence, Josh Pelzel

Still On the Board – Nick Gates

Off the Board – Jovan Pruitt (Arkansas), Zach Ledwick (Texas A&M), Ty Barrett (TCU), Koda Martin (Texas A&M), Jake Stickler (Georgia Tech), Michael Grimm (Pittsburg)

The Bears swung and missed on some 4-star recruits in Pruitt and Barrett who they were in on heavily, but lost to Arkansas and TCU. They made a late run at Grimm, but he decided to stay close to home. This was going to be a huge offensive line class in 2014, and quite honestly it feels like the Bears missed out on too many premier tackle prospects to give this an A. Lawrence is a very good prospect, ranked as the 62nd tackle, but Pelzel might be destined for a move inside, as he might be more of a guard.

Grade –C+

Offensive Guard/Center - Blake Blackmar, Devonte Jones, Jarell Broxton

Still On the Board – None

Off the Board – Andy Bauer (Mississippi), Connor Mayes (Minnesota), Demetrius Knox (Ohio State), Lemaefe Galea'I (Oklahoma State), Frank Kee (TCU)

Blackmar is the best lineman the Bears got in this recruiting cycle and Broxton is more than likely next year starting left guard. He is going to be a tremendous addition to the line in 2014. Jones is a bit of a project, but has great size and profiles nicely as a guard. While not a tremendous group, this trio is solid and brings a good balance of upside and immediate help.

Grade – B

DEFENSE

Defensive Tackle – Josh Malin, Andrew Morris, Ira Lewis

Still On the Board – Zaycoven Henderson, Cedric Johnson

Off the Board – DeShawn Washington (Texas A&M), Peyton Newell (Nebraska), Trey Lealaimatafao (Texas)

Baylor went with one big and sturdy defensive tackle in Morris along with two guys that will have to bulk up a bit for the position in Malin and Lewis. Malin is the highest ranked of the three (40th) and projects to be similar to current starting tackle Beau Blackshear. Morris and Lewis are both lower rated and at the time were committed to Rice and Houston. They have decent but not great offer lists, but will provide good size and some projection to the position. Again, not a great group and the Bears missed out on some special defensive tackles, but this is a trio that the Bears can work with.

Grade – B

Defensive End – Xavier Jones, Greg Roberts,

Still On the Board – None

Off the Board – Solomon Thomas, Myles Garrett, Deondre Clark (LSU), Tui Talia (Oregon), Victor Evans (Mississippi), Grant Blankenship (Notre Dame), Jordan Brailford (Oklahoma State)

Both Jones and Roberts are big time projects. Both are tall and very athletic but weigh less than 220 pounds so they will need to put on quite a bit of weight before they can contribute to a Big 12 defense. With the Bears missing out on Thomas, Garrett and Clark this was quite a swing and a miss for the defensive end group. They regrouped quickly and got two players though that can hopefully develop into pass rushers though.

Grade – C+

Linebacker – James David

Still On the Board – Serge Trezy

Off the Board – Hoza Scott (Texas A&M), Gyasi Akem (Oklahoma State), Dvonta Derricott (Kansas State), Otara Alaka (Texas), Christian Sam (Arizona State), Justin Phillips (Oklahoma State), Kenny Young, Josh Mabin (Oklahoma State)

The Bears have a single linebacker committed for the 2014 class, and a ton of big-time names with other schools next to them. This was a disappointing year for the linebackers, with the Bears at one time leading for Christian Sam and Josh Mabin, but failing to secure either. David is luckily a special player and could play inside or outside for the Bears. Without him though, this would be one giant F.

Grade – C-

Safety / Nickel back – T'Kevian Rockwell, Cordell Dorsey

Still On the Board – Josh Keys

Off the Board – Edwin Freeman, Jamal Adams, Nick Harvey (Texas A&M), Dylan Summers-Gardner (Texas A&M), John Bonney (Texas), Brandon Simmons (Stanford), Armanti Watts (Texas A&M), Jason Hall (Texas), Jyaz Jones (Iowa)

There are a lot of names on that the Bears missed on, including John Bonney who seemed a hair trigger away from committing to the Bears. With him on board, this would be the second best group for Baylor. But even without him, the Bears got a possible star in T'Kevian Rockwell. He is a guy that could claim the nickel back spot or grow into a linebacker and start for several years.

Grade – B

Cornerback – Jourdan Blake, Verkedric Vaughns

Still On the Board – Nick Watkins, John Plattenburg, Travone Hobbs,

Off the Board – Tony Brown, Ed Paris (LSU), Cedric Collins (Texas A&M), Nick Orr (TCU), Chad Adams (Arizona State), Jawshawn Johnson (Texas Tech), Dravon Henry

With Blake possibly being a safety as well as a corner back, Vaughns is the best pure guy that the Bears have. It stung when they lost one time commitment Chad Adams to Arizona State, but they recovered by finally offering Vaughns his scholarship. But Vaughns was a backup plan. The Bears still have two huge targets in Watkins and Plattenburg that they are still heavily involved in, so this grade could still change drastically. This position has as much upside left in it as any for the Bears.

Grade – C+


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