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Baylor's Early Signing Period Class Superlatives

December 21, 2017
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Baylor signed 21 of their 23 commitments during the first ever early signing period (Dec. 20-22) and it is only right to hand out superlatives for those who were sure enough in their commitment to give a pledge.

Class Theme: Speed

#BFast was more than just a theme or a wish. From top to bottom at the skill positions on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, Baylor loaded their roster with a lot of new speed. Want laser time 40-yard dashes? Baylor has those. Want speed in the 100 meters and 200 meters on the track? Baylor definitely has those.

Biggest Playmaker: Craig Williams

Are you kidding me? An average of 9.4 yards on 423 career carries throughout high school?  A rushing touchdown once every 7.7 carries in four years as a varsity running back? Those numbers improved to 10.0 yards per carry and a touchdown every 6.4 touches in his senior year. Williams tallied 4,894 total yards and 68 total touchdowns in four years.

Highest Potential: Tyquan Thornton‍ 

Not only does Thornton have the best size and speed combination of all the receivers signed in the early signing period, but the hands he shows on film make him a prospect that screams NFL potential. He will need to add weight and learn the ins and out of the position after playing at a smaller school in Florida, but those are part of natural progression.

Highest Floor: Joshua Landry

Landry will arrive on campus with the size to immediately play on Saturdays at the defensive end position. His film shows an explosion that can't be taught and the ability to be a disruptive force behind the line of scrimmage. Learning techique and gaining strength will be needed, especially if he is asked to move inside, but Landry has the potential to have an early-career impact much like Baylor defensive lineman KJ Smith who totaled 5.0 sacks as a redshirt freshman.

Most College Ready: Kalon Barnes‍ 

Landry could have easily been placed here as well, but Barnes deserves to be somewhere on this list. At 6-foot-0 and 172 pounds, Barnes possesses elite speed, has a thick frame, is very agressive as an offensive and defensive player, and will have the guts to battle with the best of the best in all situations. Matt Rhule says Barnes will be used all over the field... and I expect that to be the case early in his career. 

Most Important: Gerry Bohanon‍ 

Not a lot more can be said about why this is the case, but the most important thing to note is that Bohanon's decision to join the class did nothing but improve the status of several commitments. The class looked to be sticking together, but the commitment of Bohanon was a good adhesive less than 24 hours before signing. (Actually, it was a little longer than that.)

Biggest Luxury: Bralen Taylor‍ 

Baylor signed a good group of wide receivers and a good group of tight ends, but a guy like Taylor (6-7, 225) can provide a lot of flexibility at both positions. Taylor will eventually fill out his lanky frame and be a great redzone threat for the Baylor QBs, but his ability to be a mismatch for anyone that lines up across from him is why he is considered a luxury.

Most Underrated: JT Woods‍ 

As a safety Woods provides two plusses physically: elite size and above average speed. Include those things with his ability to finish downhill and you understand why Phil Snow targeted Woods early on. Snow asks a lot of his safeties mentally and Woods, who spent many hours with the staff in camp, checks that box as well. The early enrollee will have a lot to learn in the spring.

Least Obvious Need Filled: Tight Ends

Baylor played the majority of the 2017 season with two active tight ends on the roster, and more often than not, they played a game with only one active. Now both of those of those options have graduated. What does Baylor do? Sign Ben Sims‍, Christoph Henle‍ and Bralen Taylor‍ to come in and provide depth behind redshirt freshman Tyler Henderson.

Best Position Group: Offensive Line

The Bears signed a total of five high school offensive lineman in the early signing period. While no composite four-star prospect highlighted the group, the entire unit was courted by multiple programs including Arkansas, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, TCU, Texas Tech, UCLA and more. There is no doubt the depth is needed, but the overall quality of the OL class is impressive.

Most Surprising Signee: Byron Hanspard‍ 

Hanspard was all but locked in with the Arkansas Razorbacks, but the firing of Brett Bielema gave the Bears an opportunity and they pounced on it. Great in-home visits and a near-perfect official visit put the Bears in position to grab the commitment late and they capitalized.

Least Surprising Signee: Jackson Kimble

There's only one thing to post:

Most Athletic: Christian Morgan‍ 

OK, these last two were too easy. In case you forgot, Morgan was named the top high school athlete in the country based on the SPARQ scoring system.

 
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