Here is an idea of where Baylor stands in June. The number in parentheses indicates the number of recruits Baylor is looking to sign at the position for the Class of 2016. The names do not necessarily reflect Baylor’s official board but are the best guesstimate of who Baylor is targeting, based on research done by BearsIllustrated.
Defensive End (3-4)
A JUCO DE recently named Baylor in his top 3, and will be making a visit to Baylor in July. That player is Karon Crump. Crump is an elite JUCO DE who has a long line of offers. Crump has an incredible burst and quick step off the line of scrimmage. He's a little slight for the position, but he has the speed, explosion, and quickness to overcome that. His length also prevents offensive linemen from stoning him in his tracks and overpowering him. He uses his arm length to keep opponents off of him, and letting his arsenal of skills take over.
Another elite pass rusher that recently named Baylor as one of his favorites is Allen (TX) HS DE Levi Onwuzurike. Levi is another in a long line of elite prospects to come out of the Allen program. Scout.com Recruiting Analyst, Gabe Brooks, had this to say about Onwuzurike: "Onwuzurike is a tough even-front defensive end who could possibly play that spot or odd-front standing edge rusher at the P5 level. Factor vs. the run thanks to quick, strong hands that aid good disengaging skills. Often beats significantly larger O-linemen vs. run. Can bend the edge as a pass-rusher. High-motor player who plays through the whistle. Sure tackler. Quicker get-off would help him become even more dangerous pass-rusher." Baylor will have some big names to battle against for Onwuzurike, but being named as one of the leaders will help as Onwuzurike gets closer to making his commitment.
In keeping with the theme here, another elite DE to name Baylor as one of his top schools was Houston (TX) MacArthur HS DE Isaiah Chambers. Chambers is currently ranked as the #2 DE in the State of Texas. Chambers is looking to narrow things down, but don't look for a commitment from his just yet. What should keep Baylor fans feeling good, is Isaiah has been known before as a Baylor lean, but at the very least Baylor fans can know that Baylor will be in it to the end for Chambers. Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst, Greg Powers, had this to say about Chambers: "Chambers is an impressive end prospect. He has a very nice combination of height and size and possesses the upper and lower body strength to squeeze and shed blockers who also have size. He moves well for his size with above average short area burst, which allows him to consistently put pressure on quarterbacks and deliver hits. It seems like he is hitting the quarterback or pressuring him more often than not. Can and will deliver big hits."
A recent offer for the Bears came in the form of DE Andrew Fitzgerald out of Flower Mound (TX) Marcus HS. Fitzgerald had been waiting on a Baylor offer since earlier this year. Fitzgerald fits the mold of what the coaching staff looks for in a player. Someone who will come in and go to work, is coachable, has heart, loves the game of football, and plays with a chip on their shoulder. Fitzgerald was named the defensive player of the year in his district, and is currently a 4* rated prospect with Scout.com. Greg Powers, National Recruiting Analyst, had this to say about Fitzgerald: "Fitzgerald is a strong and powerful defensive end prospect, who plays with a blue-collar type of style. A good combo of skills he is perfectly suited to play strongside defensive end. With a big frame he is able to be physical at the point of attack, holding his ground allowing him to track ball carriers and make tackles. He also has a very quick get off for a prospect with his size, collapsing the pocket and putting pressure on quarterbacks."
Next In Line:
Justin Madubuike is the #1 DE in the State of Texas, out of McKinney (TX) North HS. Madubuike has been somewhat quiet on the recruiting front, but he was seen at the last Baylor camp a few weeks ago. Madubuike is a beast at end and Baylor at least has a shot in this one. Scout.com had this analysis of Madubuike: "A high effort player. He is one who plays with maximum effort on each and every snap. He plays inside at defensive tackle in a 4-3, and despite being a bit undersized for that position he is able to control the line of scrimmage and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Causes disruption with his penetration. Has the edge rush ability once he moves out to d-end. He has strong hands to shed blocks if he gets locked up. Plays low and gap sound."
Mat Boesen is a DE out of Torrance (CA) Long Beach JC that was offered by the Bears several weeks ago. Boesen was once a part of the Boise St program, but was removed from the program for a violation of team rules. Boesen landed at Long Beach and has flourished in that system and had earned some nice offers. Boesen has a visit planned to visit Baylor on July 23rd. Getting him on campus is big news for Baylor, but they will also have to battle against Big 12 foe, TCU, for his services.
Brandon Bowen is another 4* elite DE out of Trophy Club (TX) Byron Nelson HS. Bowen is a 6'6, 230 lb end prospect and plays both way for his team. Bowen is exceptionally athletic, but also possesses great strength. Bowen has been on the Baylor campus a few times, but Baylor has some work to do to gain his commitment. Scout.com's Regional Analyst, Gabe Brooks, had this to say about Bowen: "Bowen is a versatile and athletic player capable of playing either side of the ball at the high-major level. That said, Bowen's frame potential and athleticism make him an elite pass-rushing prospect. Very tall and long with ample space for bulk addition. State champion-caliber high-jumper with rare athleticism for DE position. Disengages well with fast hand-fighting ability. Needs to build strength for P5 level, but very high ceiling."
On The Radar:
Xavier Kelly, a 6'5, 230 lb DE prospect out of Kansas, is one the Bears could make a move on. Kelly is an elite prospect and a national prospect the Bears have started going after. Kelly recently discussed his relationship with the coaches, one he says is growing. Will be interesting to see if the Bears can make up some ground with Kelly.
The Bears are in the drivers seat for several elite defensive end prospects. As mentioned above, I believe the Bears will take 3, maybe 4 Defensive Ends in the 2016 class. Although things could certainly change, I believe the Bears will land end prospects Karon Crump, Isaiah Chambers, and Andrew Fitzgerald. The wildcard here could be Levi Onwuzurike. The Bears sit in good shape with him, and he could be a candidate for that 4 position.