The optimist is something that is usually a stranger to fandom. Yes, they exist, but they are usually hunted and destroyed by the pessimist, or the so-called "realist" (Have to say, I fit the "realist" one pretty well). Optimism is a jinx waiting to happen. Optimism is getting your hopes up too high, only to feel the crushing weight and impact of truth knock you back down.
But, with optimists, we wouldn't have best case scenarios, right? So, with all of our optimistic hats on, let us take a look at the Bears 2015 recruiting class, and pick out the best case scenario, with also a more realistic guess for good measure. So, here is a guess on how the Bears will fill their 17 spots (another guess, but go with me) for the 2015 recruiting class. In the first part, we take a look at the offense.
Quarterback – 1
Committed – Chad President
Baylor commitment Chad President.
There is only going to be 1 quarterback in this class, just like Art Briles likes it. Normally, Briles doesn't like tying up too many scholarships in a position that he could probably make lemonade out of sewer water (though he has never had to try). In fact, he has had some pretty nice lemons come into his program and leave as some very tasty treats. Alright, enough with the lemonade puns.
Right now, Chad President is the QB for the Bears. That is unless Blake Lynch is, with both of their positions being loosely categorized as "athletes" right now. The better bet is on President to end up at quarterback though, a position that he was playing for the first time last year before injuring his ACL.
President's rehab is going very well, and he is going to start 7-on-7 camps later this summer. He has been at the top of the Bears QB wish list since last season, as he was the first recruit with an offer from Art Briles.
Best Case – Chad President
The first quarterback the Bears offered is the one they got, and right now is their best case scenario. Yes, a decommitment from Jarrett Stidham would cause the Bears to rethink things, but President has everything that Briles looks for in a quarterback, except for experience. With his coming up on his senior year, look out for how President develops.
Running Back – 2
Committed –JaMycal Hasty
JaMycal Hasty, Baylor commit.
With the Bears having a bunch of youth at the running back position (no one older than a Redshirt Sophomore in the Top-4), the Bears still went into this recruiting cycle looking for at least 1, and possibly 2 running backs. Depth is paramount at this position, as the Baylor offense found out last year, with 5 running backs getting substantial carries at certain points of the year due to injuries.
JaMycal Hasty was the Bears top target for the scat-back position, a player that could find himself either in the backfield or as an inside receiver. With the Bears having several players on the roster that fit much better at the inside receiver position, Hasty appears to be headed toward the running back spot.
The question is, what type of player could fit next to a guy like Hasty? Luckily, the Bears are in on several top recruits, including the 2nd best running back in the nation. Soso Jamabo is a perfect fit next to Hasty. He is a runner with much more power and the ability to carry a heavier load. It will be tough for the Bears to get the coveted running back though, as he has offers from schools all over the country including Alabama, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, and pretty much everyone else in Texas and the Big 12.
Another running back that could emerge is Chris Warren, a true thumper at the position. He is another one with a ton of offers as Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Auburn, Clemson and many more have offered the 4-star runner.
Best Case – Sotonye Jamabo and Hasty
4-star running back Sotonye Jamabo.
He is the top ranked running back in the state, and a guy with offers to go anywhere in the nation. So yes, Soso is the best case scenario. If the Bears miss on him and Chris Warren though, they might not take another running back, especially if they can redshirt 2013 signee Terence Williams.
Wide Receiver – 1
Committed – Devontre Stricklin
With the Bears going so heavy at the wide receiver position the past few seasons, this might be a rather small class. If another highly rated prospect wanted to commit to the Bears, I don't think they would turn them down, but they aren't going to just take anyone. If Demarkus Lodge, Ryan Newsome, or Cordell Broadus want to commit, the Baylor staff will find a way to get a spot open. But the fact is, they don't have to take another receiver, even with 3 starters graduating after this year in Antwan Goodley, Levi Norwood and Clay Fuller.
The Bears loaded up in the last two classes, bring in two for 2013 (Kyle Fulks did not make it to campus) and four in 2014. So, Baylor could easily call it a day with just Stricklin with the possibility of Blake Lynch or even Chad President switching over to wide receiver if other positions don't work out.
Best Case – Devontre Stricklin
Devontre Stricklin, Baylor commit.
I think the Bears are done at wide receiver. Quite honestly, they have more important needs than another 4 or 5-star receiver, as crazy as that sounds. Baylor is loaded at receiver right now, so they allocate their resources in other ways. Besides, they have JaMycal Hasty, Chad President, Blake Lynch and even John Humphrey that could all play receiver if they need more bodies at this position.
Tight End – 0
Committed – None
With Baylor taking two tight ends in the 2013 class, I don't see them taking another one in 2014. This is a position that is just not a big key for the Bears, and one that they can wait another year or 2 to balance the classes out a bit.
Guards/Centers – 1
Committed –Sam Tecklenburg
Baylor went very heavy on interior linemen in the 2014 class, with Blake Blackmar, Josh Pelzel, Devonte Jones and Jarell Broxton all better suited for the inside. With a small interior line class expected, the Baylor staff jumped on Tecklenburg early. The 2015 recruit from Plano profiles more as a center, somewhere all of the interior guys from last year don't really seem to fit.
The Bears are still recruiting a few other guards heavily, including 4-star Conner Dyer from Mesquite, TX. and Aaron Garza from Sherman, TX. Dyer is the higher rated of the two, and seems to be very interested in the Bears. They would probably take a commitment from him, as he does have the frame to move outside as well.
Best Case – Sam Tecklenburg
Baylor commitment Sam Tecklenburg.
Four positions in, and three of them are already at their best case. The Bears just don't have a ton of room for another interior linemen, especially with the recruits from 2014. The Bears would make an exception for Dyer.
Offensive Tackles – 2
Committed – Maurice Porter
Maybe the second time is a charm for the big-time junior college tackle from Navarro College. This is not Porter's first trip through the Baylor commitment line, as he verballed to Baylor as a high school recruit out of Marshall City, but could not qualify immediately. He went to Navarro and improved his body and performance and now profiles as a very good left tackle.
The Bears are in on quite a few more tackles in this class, led by Keaton Sutherland and Madison Akamnonu. Sutherland is a 4-star out of Flower Mound, TX while Akamnonu is a 3-star out of Arlington, TX. Akamnonu is a rising prospect and one that could get an additional star if he keeps showing so well at camps.
In addition to those two, the Bears have offers out to Juco Dominic Desouza and Deya Mhiesen. Deya is the most recent offer on the offensive line, and is intrigued by the Bears. It would be rather interesting to have two junior college commitments at the tackle position with no high school player in a class, however.
Best Case –Porter and Madison Akamnonu
Baylor target Madison Akamnonu.
Akamnonu is going to be a star, and is a guy that everyone is after now. The Bowie High School tackle has offers from Arizona State, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas among many more. He will be a guy that climbs up the rankings quite a bit on the next update, and is the Bears best-case high school tackle.