The quarterback position is the lynchpin of the team. Without a quarterback, your team just will never take off. Even with 5-stars all over the field, having a capable or better quarterback will take your team from fighting to be bowl eligible to very good or better quickly. Just ask Texas.
Baylor is no different. Their quarterback play since 2010 has been elite, barring injuries. The past two years, following back-to-back Big 12 titles, are proof of this concept. With injuries to Seth Russell, the Bears had to go to to the bench to mixed results. While still a solid team, they were nowhere near as good with Zach Smith, Chris Johnson, or even Jarrett Stidham under center.
With just three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster in 2017 (and one is a senior), the quarterback position is once again critical in the 2018 class. Simply put, the Bears will take at least 1, and maybe two quarterbacks in this class. During Matt Rhule's first few months on the job, he identified three primary prospects and offered them quickly; local product Tanner Mordecai, Jalen Mayden, and Idaho native Colson Yankoff.
Those three were the first offers for the Baylor staff at the quarterback position. Mayden, a 4-star from Sachse High School, is the highest rated QB in the state, and rated as the 100th best recruit in the nation. He has narrowed his list down to 5-schools, including Baylor. Louisville, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Nebraksa. The Cornhuskers and Volunteers are both considered long shots, while Mississippi State is considered the leader, with Baylor and Louisville as question marks.
Yankoff, also a 4-star, is currently committed to Washington, having pulled the trigger March 22nd. The Bears went after Yankoff with former offensive coordintator Jeff Lubick leading the charge, along with current Co-OC Jeff Nixon. Both were familiar with him due to their West Coast ties. With Lubick gone to Washington, the Bears were really not in the running after his departure.
Mordecai is also uncommitted, with offers from Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Kansas, Missouri, and Indiana. He has been visited the Bears several times over the Spring, and will visit once again in the fall. On April 1st, Mordecai told Yancy Porter that Ole Miss, Teas Tech, Indiana, and Baylor were his top-4 schools, and nothing appears to have changed. Most still believe that Baylor is the leader, though nothing has been finalized yet.
With one of the board and two in limbo, the Bears extended two very intriguing offers this week. The first went to the third ranked QB in the class, Justin Fields. Ranked as the 23rd best recruit in the class, he is nearly a 5-star player. Currently committed to Penn State, the Georgia prep has offers from everyone, and has been identified as a primary recruit for Oklahoma after they lost their longtime QB commit.
The second offer is closer to home, to Louisiana 4-star QB Justin Rogers. Rogers was a top tier target starting his sophomore year for the previous Bears staff, and has visited the campus. He was a big fan of Robert Griffin III during his Baylor career, and likes the Bears. Ranked just behind Mayden as the 12th best QB in the class (and 110th nationally), Rogers is a big-time prospect.
His current leader is assumed to be TCU, though LSU is also making a big push with their new offensive coordinator, Matt Canada, visiting Bossier City to see Rogers already. However, the offer by Baylor might push back Rogers commitment to TCU. Stay tuned on this as the Bears try to make a push for the 4-star Louisiana quarterback.
Those two new offers show us a lot about what the Bears are thinking their chances are with Mayden. The odds on favorite is still Mississippi State, though the Bears offensive scheme and playing time appear to be very favorable for him. Mordecai is taking his time during the recruiting process, though his local ties will keep the Bears in it.
Baylor needs to get one of Mordecai, Mayden or Rogers, and probably needs to take a look at a junior college or transfer to fill out the depth chart for the 2018 season that currently would hold Zach Smith and Charlie Brewer.