With 13 commitments for the Baylor Bears are lined up for the 2014 class, the Bears are putting the finishing touches on their first class as Big 12 champions. Really, it might not be the finishing touches, it might just be the ribbon and the bow on the box. The bulk of the work is done. The Bears have stars on both sides of the field, but lack the mega-watt power that highlighted last year's class courtesy of Davion Hall and KD Cannon. They are still involved with a few of those caliber of players, including one of the top players in the nation. How could the 2015 class end up? Lets take a look:
What do the Bears have?
QB - Chad President
RB - JaMycal Hasty
WR - Devontre Stricklin
DL - None
NB - Montrel Wilson
Specialist - Andrew Galitz
The Bears currently have no commitments on the defensive line, something that is looking more and more likely for 2015. It is just not a focus for this class, especially with just 1 senior on the defensive line, and maybe 1 more player leaving for the NFL. They have great depth and had a big DL class in 2014. Darrion Daniels could get some more attention late in the process, but it seems the Baylor staff has prioritized other positions.
Outside of that, the Bears are still looking for another running back, and will gladly take one of their top two targets. Outside of those two though, they will probably use that spot for another high impact player somewhere else on the field. Earlier in the summer, it looked like a third spot for the offensive line would be a necessity, but the addition of transfers Rami Hammad and Ishmael Wilson seem to have answered that need.
The Bears do have some flexibility at key positions with Blake Lynch able to fill needs on either side of the ball and possibly at multiple positions on the defensive side of the ball where he could play safety or nickel back. Tony Nicholson is listed as a wide receiver, but is seen as a defensive back for the Bears. Montrel Wilson could play safety or cornerback, especially if the Bears finish out their defensive backfield with a key recruit. Even Jameson Houston could slide down from safety to nickel back depending on how these last few spots fill up.
Best Case Scenario
The Top guys on the recruiting market that are listing the Bears are Malik Jefferson, Sotonye "Soso" Jamabo, and Kahlil Haughton. The Bears would happily fill their last three spots in 2015 and call it a day. There are no questions about that. Could Ronald Jones take Jamabo's spot? Of course, and the Bears would make that trade of a guarantee for one (even the lesser if the Baylor coaches think that way) over the hope of another. Could Holton Hill jump above Haughton? Maybe, as the Bears look to be done at corner back, and need another safety in this class. Does the newly looking around DaMarkus Lodge have spot no matter what? Probably.In the end, it is those three main guys, listed first.
Who outside of those top guys could get a spot with the Bears? With the addition of Tony Nicholson, the Bears will probably not offer another corner back like Tyler Horton who they recently started speaking with. Baylor could also take another look at J.W. Ketchum if Haughton chooses to go elsewhere for their last defensive back spot. At linebacker it appears to be Jefferson, or a guy off of the radar. Jefferson is one of the best high school prospects in the nation, and would be a game changed for the program. He is the aforementioned bow on the package, and a big one with streamers all over it that your wife "ewws and awwws" over and gets upset at you for throwing away cleaning up after opening gifts.
The question about who to fill the running back spot could be more complicated. With the "scat-back" role filled by JaMycal Hasty, the Bears are looking for a larger back to fill the cliched "thunder" role. The main guys on the lists are mainly speed guys like Tyreik Gray. With all of the scholarship running backs returning with eligibility in 2015, this isn't a main need, but one that the Bears want to hit a home run with.
The season will of course find a few late risers that will get plenty of attention, or even some late qualifying kids that flew under the radar. Those names will be known in the months to come before, or even after February. With just a few spots left, the quantity won't be there, but the Baylor coaching staff certainly hopes quality will be at the front of the conversation.