Recruiting Roundtable 2/3

BearsIllustrated sits down with Scout.com Regional Recruiting Analyst Greg Powers, Annabel Stephan, and Gabe Brooks to get their thoughts on the 2015 Baylor recruiting class.

With Signing Day approaching, BearsIllustrated spoke with Scout.com's Midlands Recruiting team to get their thoughts on Baylor's 2015 Recruiting Class. In this edition of our Recruiting Roundtable, Greg Powers, Annabel Stephan, and Gabe Brooks join Kevin Barrera and Tim Watkins to discuss which recruits Baylor fans should look out for in this class.

--- Which recruit do you see contributing the quickest?

GP: Outside of the JuCo offensive linemen I would put my money down on one of the East Texas guys making a a pretty big splash early on. Blake Lynch is an early enrollee and getting a shot to play receiver and Ja’Mychal Hasty is a lightning bolt style runner who could star in that offense.

GB: I could see J.W. Ketchum have an instant impact, particularly if he lands on the defensive side of the ball. He has the frame and athleticism that translate well to the safety position, though he might even be able to play some nickel. The receiver position is stacked, so it'll be hard for any incoming freshman to make a splash there, but Ketchum as a defensive back intrigues me.

AS: Offensive lineman Maurice Porter out of Corsicana (Texas) Navarro Junior College will be able to come in and contribute immediately. He is a 6-foot-6, 295-pound tackle, part of Scout's JUCO Top 100, who played a significant role on Navarro's line this year, helping them to a top fifteen finish this season. Porter is ready to come in immediately and bring size, power, and strength to the Bears' o-line.

TW: J.W. Kethcum to me is the guy that could step on the field very quickly for the Bears. One of the best athletes in the state, Kethcum could help Baylor at running back, wide receiver or safety. That last position is the one that I think he could be the best at, and it also happens to be an area of need for the Bears. With his strength, speed and play-making ability, the 3-star athlete could rise up the depth chart quickly.

--- Which recruit was the most underrated?

GP: Underrated is not a term I like to reference when talking recruits because then everyone just discusses the lowets rated, but for me the guy who is not talked about enough is Jameson Houston. Rangy safety who will hit. Should be as good as any player in the class.

GB: Tony Nicholson is a guy I've liked since first seeing his film last spring, then getting to see him in person at South Grand Prairie's spring scrimmage. He's another guy who has the ability to play either side of the ball, but I agree with SGP head coach Brent Whitson, who believes Nicholson will be at his best in college at cornerback. From what I understand, that's where Baylor recruited him to play. He's got good quick-twitch athleticism and he's a smooth athlete, qualities that translate well to playing the type of coverage Big 12 offenses require. He's not the biggest guy, but at 5-foot-11, he's not small, and he's a bit wiry strong with some space on his frame to add bulk if needed.

AS: I'm going to go with a player in my area, Austin (TX) St. Michael Academy athlete Jameson Houston. Houston is a three-star prospect, but when he committed, many people were surprised because they hadn't yet heard of him. Chalk that up to his playing for a private school, not for his ability. At 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, Houston is a talented receiver and defensive back prospect, and though he primarily played corner in high school, will likely line up at safety for the Bears. He's a physical athlete with great size and will prove that small school talent is not to be undervalued.

TW: With the Baylor coaching staff getting three linebacker commits in 2 days recently, all of those could make a claim for being underrated. However, the one that pops out to me is the linebacker that has been committed since early June; Clay Johnston. A tremendous athlete that is currently ranked as a 3-star outside linebacker seems destined to play the nickel back, or Bear backer position that Collin Brence played last year. Johnston has the size and speed you want at that position, and his fit for the Bears there makes him much more valuable.

--- Who is your favorite recruit in this class, that you've followed?

GP: Hasty is my favorite recruit to follow in the class. Not only is he fun to watch, he has always been great to interact with off the field, having a smile on his face and loving the game.

GB: That's a tough call for me. Baylor has two guys in this class who I've known since my previous job in East Texas: JaMycal Hasty and Blake Lynch. I met JaMycal in the summer of 2012 prior to his sophomore year at Longview and his offensive coordinator told me he was going to be special. I've really enjoyed following JaMycal and talking to him ever since. Not too long after that, I started getting to know Blake Lynch once he began popping up on colleges' radars following a big sophomore campaign. Covering these guys in my previous gig and continuing to cover them since arriving at Scout last February has been awesome. Everyone who knows me knows that I love my East Texas guys, and these are two of the best. Always polite. Always friendly. Always respectful. Baylor fans will love these two guys and I look forward to following their college careers.

AS: I really like both of the commits out of Waco (Texas) Midway, linebacker Lenoy Jones Jr. and wide receiver Devontre Stricklin. They are both individually talented, but on top of that, both play with a team first mentality. I got that impression after watching Midway scrimmage and play over the past year, and their 12-1 season is an obvious reflection of that. They will arrive at Baylor having already played in a disciplined program under head coach Terry Gambill. While safety Kahlil Haughton may have been the biggest prospect in Midway's 2015 class, Jones and Stricklin are not to be overlooked. Bonus: having them both in this class helps Baylor's pipeline with the Midway program, which pumps out talent each year.

TW: Blake Lynch is the Bears longest committed player and no doubt the largest figure in the class. He has been all over the state of Texas flinging the green and the gold trying to do his part to bring more talent with him. In a few cases, it didn't work out, but his impact on this class has been massive. Seeing him interact with the other recruits has been fascinating, even dragging 4-star CB Kris Boyd to almost every Baylor home game it seemed.

--- Which recruit will have the biggest impact and best career overall?

GP: I do not doubt there is much of a debate on this one as Jarrett Stidham is a guy who I expect to come in and push for early playing time as well as potentially developing into an NFL quality player. I would wager he is the first five-star Baylor has signed at quarterback, with RGIII checking in as a four.

GB: Hard to go with anyone other than Jarrett Stidham, who will be the first five-star quarterback who quarterback-whisperer Art Briles will have landed. Stidham has serious upside and should thrive in Baylor's offense. When a recruiting cycle dictates that you don't have a ton of spots for new guys, you've got to land a couple of big-time guys and Stidham is exactly that.

AS: I'm going to have to go with Stephenville (Texas) quarterback Jarrett Stidham. He was such a big land for the Bears and the fact that he was able to come in early and learn the system will only be to Baylor's advantage. There is an opportunity for Stidham to come in and make an early impact and for that reason, he could have quite the career and enjoy time as the starting quarterback for multiple seasons.

TW: The obvious answer is the 5-star guy that will be on top of every Baylor recruiting list, Jarrett Stidham. I thought about picking someone else, but really, Stidham has to have the biggest impact. The floor for a Baylor quarterback right now is an All-Big 12 caliber season. That is the worst we have seen under Briles in Waco. The best? You are talking about a trip to New York and a certain stiff-arming trophy courtesy of RG3 having a buddy to hang out with. No one else could have that type of impact in this class.


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