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 second part, we take a look at the defense.
Defensive Tackle – 1
The Bears are loaded at the defensive tackle position with 2 defensive tackles in the 2014 class, and 4 in the 2013 class. The Bears are involved in some top level prospects for 2015, with Darrion Daniels leading the way. The 4-star tackle from Dallas, TX is the 15th best defensive tackle recruit in the nation.
The Bears are also heavily involved with Kingsley Keke, a 4-star tackle from Richmond, TX with offers from most of the Big 12 and the SEC.
Best Case – Darrion Daniels
Bishop-Dunne defensive lineman Darrion Daniels
Daniels has been at the top of the Baylor recruiting board for a long time. They aren't alone, as he is at the top of a lot of schools wish list. Daniels has kept his recruiting quite secret on where schools stand, but he has shown interest in the Bears. If Daniels chooses elsewhere, Kingsley is not a bad 2nd choice.
Defensive End – 2
Committed –Louis Brown
The talented athlete from Burton, TX, Brown was the pure defensive recruit in the 2015 class. He is a 6-foot-6 athlete, that could play multiple positions. However, defensive end might be his best position. He has a great frame and if he can keep his agility, could be a special pass rusher once he puts on enough weight.
The Bears have another spot open for a defensive lineman, and at the top of the list is James Lockhart. The 4-star end from Ennis has long been favoring the Bears, but a recent offer from Texas A&M might have him leaning down to College Station now. Lockhart would be a great catch for the Bears, and give them two high-end pass rushers.
If the Bears do miss out on Lockhart, they could quickly offer Burleson lineman Kenneth Mann, a project-able 6-foot-4 end, who could grow into a tackle. However, if they miss out on Lockhart and Mann, they could put the scholarship elsewhere.
Best Case – Louis Brown and James Lockhart
Ennis High School's James Lockhart
Lockhart is one of the most coveted defensive players in the whole state of Texas. A pure defensive end, Lockhart is a top level recruit, and a guy that could make a big difference quickly.
Linebacker – 1
Committed – Breckyn Hager
The newest Baylor commitment, Hager is the younger brother of All-Big 12 linebacker Bryce Hager. The 6-foot-3 linebacker isn't currently rated by Scout, but projects to be a 3-star caliber recruit. With offers from San Diego State and Oklahoma, Hager jumped on the Bears offer.
Outside of Hager, the Bears have offers out to one of the best recruits in the country. 5-star, and top rated linebacker Malik Jefferson is a star in the making with a list of pretty much every Top program in the nations offering him. Along with Jefferson, the Bears have offered Richard Moore, a 3-star outside linebacker from Cedar Hill and 4-star Anthony Wheeler from Dallas Skyline.
Best Case – Breckyn Hager
Make no mistake, the Bears are involved in two of the best linebackers in the whole state. If Anthony Wheeler or Malik Jefferson want to commit, the Bears will open up a spot. With the commitment of Hager though, that makes opening another spot harder. So right now, Hager is the man for the Bears.
Nickel Back - 2
Committed – Blake Lynch
The guess here is that Lynch will be moved to safety, though that is no sure-bet. He is a multi-purposed athlete to the fullest, one that could see time at Safety, linebacker, wide receiver, or even quarterback among many positions. With his size, he could grow into the nickel back role quite easily, or slide to safety as well. Another big safety the Bears are in on is Waco-Midway star Khalil Haughton. He also could play deep safety or closer to the line of scrimmage.
One of these spots could be taken by recent visitor Clay Johnston, who came to Waco last week with his father. He is also going to visit with Texas and Texas Tech, and could make a decision in early-June. He has been told by the Bears staff that nickel back is where they see him, so his commitment could shuffle some things around.
Best Case – Blake Lynch and Khalil Haughton
Baylor commit Blake Lynch
Blake Lynch has to go somewhere, so why not here? At 6-foot-3, he is bigger than what the Bears have traditionally done at safety, so sliding him closer to the line of scrimmage makes sense. Haughton is another bigger safety, and a pure player. He could be asked to play multiple roles for the Bears as well.
Safety – 2
Committed – None
Baylor has an option on the commitment list for Safety, with Blake Lynch committed (listed above as a Nickel Back). They are also involved in some high caliber safeties as well, led by current Alabama commit Deionte Thompson, who has been rumored to be wavering on his pledge to the Crimson Tide. The Bears would jump at the chance to bring the 2nd best safety in the 2015 class.
Along with Thompson, the Bears could use the previously mentioned Khalil Haughton at safety as well. Another star player with a Baylor offer is athlete J.W. Ketchum, a 4-star recruit from Marshall City. Other offers include Roney Elam from Newton, TX and Carson Shaw from Tennessee.
Best Case – J.W. Ketchum and Deionte Thompson
You can hear the back flips and high-fives now in Waco if this were to happen. You get the commitments from two of the best athletes in the state, you figure out where to put them later. Ketchum could play at corner, wide receiver, or safety while Thompson could even play at the nickel back spot as well, though he is a game-changer at safety.
Cornerback – 2
Baylor commit Jordan Tolbert
The Bears have two of their corners on the books, so they are pretty full, however with the right recruit, they could add another player. Baylor has offers out to several top prospects, including 5-star corner Kendall Sheffield, 4-stars Kris Boyd, Holton Hill and P.J. Mbanasor.
Best Case – Jordan Tolbert and John Humphrey
With their numbers limited, it is just hard to see the Bears opening another spot for a cornerback, especially with everyone on the 2-deep coming back in 2015. Tolbert is a pure corner, though will be coming off of a serious knee injury he sustained recently. Humphrey is a speedster that could see time at wide receiver, though corner seems to be a more logical spot for him. If one of the other 4 or 5-star guys want to commit to the Bears, they will just have to find a way to open a spot.