Baylor received a surprise commitment from 4* DE Brandon Bowen, on New Year's Day. It was an excellent start to 2016 for the Bears and was a huge commitment at a need position.
The Trophy Club (TX) Byron Nelson HS standout is rated as the #107 prospect in the Scout300 and is the #4 ranked DE in the state of Texas.
Scout Regional Recruiting Analyst, Gabe Brooks, had this analysis 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."
Bowen will indeed need to gain some strength in order to compete at the level Baylor will want him to compete, but Bowen follows a patter of absolute freak athletes that have joined the Baylor program recently.
Brandon makes the 4th commitment along the defensive line, joining Jeremy Faulk, Micheal Johnson and Bravvion Roy.
Who else is out there...
Currently Baylor has 20 commitments for the class of 2016. With signing day less than a month away, Baylor is in on some of the states top talent and could see there #15 overall class ranking improve to top 10 when it's all said and done.
Baylor will likely take 4-5 more and there are some big hitters left on the table. Right now the Bears are in on the following:
Mark Jackson (Texas A&M Commit)
Quinn Nordin (Penn State Commit)
Taking a look at those 6 prospects, there are 3-4 that I think Baylor has the best shot at. Lets take a look at them:
Levi Onwuzurike - Baylor has picked up its recruitment of Levi over the past few months. Levi took an official to Baylor, when they played OU. He came away very impressed with his visit. In December Onwuzurike named a top 4 of Baylor, Michigan, Arizona State and Washington. Many believe that Arizona State could be a wild card here, but I think ultimately things come down to Baylor and Michigan. Levi has been made a priority of the Bears coaching staff and I expect Coach Gush and Coach Achuff to close this player and the Bears to gain his signature on February 3rd. I'd put the probability at above 80% for the Bears.
Malcolm Pridgeon - Pridgeon is one of the last biggest fish out there in the JUCO ranks. Pridgeon has taken an official to Baylor, and the Bears are in great shape with the talented JUCO tackle. With the Bears losing 4 starters along the offensive line, Pridgeon is a big priority for Coach Clements and the Bears. I'd put the probability of Pridgeon becoming a Bear at above 80%.
Brandon Jones - I go back and forth on whether or not I believe Baylor is a true player for the top safety in the country. A source told us last week, that Jones was speaking very favorably of the Bears, and word is the staff feels confident as well. If Baylor can get Jones on campus, then watch out. Jones added Baylor to his top 4, when all seemed lost for the Bears. That is a huge statement for how far the Bears have come in building a relationship with Jones. I'd put the probability of Baylor landing Jones at about 50%.
Amani Bledsoe - Bledsoe is a wildcard here. Baylor offered in early fall and have made some headway with the talented defensive end. Bledsoe made an official visit to Baylor during the last game of the season and had a good time. Oklahoma seems to be the team to beat here, but Bledsoe could surprise and pick the Bears. I think it all depends on what happens with Onwuzurike. I put the probability of the Bears landing Bledsoe at less than 50%.
It should certainly be an interesting month. The Bears have reality to sell these kids and right now they are the best program in the state of Texas. With that reality, it makes sense that the Bears will start to make headway with nationall ranked recruits. Stay with BearsIllustrated as we monitor the last days leading up to National Signing Day.