Baylor has become a consistent winner on the field, with 50 victories the past five seasons along with the Bears’ first two Big 12 championships.
That is translating into more and more wins in recruiting.
Coach Art Briles signed 22 players Wednesday to national letters of intent, including exceptional wide receivers Tren’Davian Dickson and Devin Duvernay for a big-play offense that gets back quarterback Seth Russell. The top-rated FBS passer when he suffered a season-ending neck injury Oct. 24, Russell was cleared this week to resume football activity.
Four of Baylor’s starting offensive linemen were seniors last season. On the defensive line, there were two senior ends and junior nose tackle Andrew Billings, who is bypassing his senior season for the NFL draft.
The Bears signed three highly touted offensive linemen, along with five defensive linemen, in a class Briles called the best Baylor has ever signed.
"If you look back to the classes we’ve signed in the past, they were not this high and we won Big 12 championships," Briles said. "This is a high class. We’re going to win Big 12 championships, but we’re looking for the national title too."
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: Yes
Best in class: Tren’Davian Dickson, WR, Navasota, Texas.
Best of the rest: Devin Duvernay, WR, Sachse, Texas; Patrick Hudson, OL, Silsbee, Texas; Kameron Martin, RB, Port Arthur, Texas; Zach Smith, QB, Grandview, Texas.
Late addition: Cornerback Parrish Cobb had committed to Oklahoma before his senior season at Waco’s La Vega High, but decided to stay at home. He had 56 tackles and four interceptions as La Vega went 16-0 and won a Texas Class 4A state championship.
One that got away: Brandon Jones, considered by many to be the nation’s top safety, signed with Texas after having Baylor as one of his finalists.
How they’ll fit in: Dickson, who set a Texas prep record with 76 career TDs receiving, and Duvernay, who Briles called the fastest player he has ever signed, should be able to contribute right away to a receiving corps still loaded even with All-American Corey Coleman bypassing his senior season. Hudson (6-foot-4, 325 pounds) is considered one of the top offensive linemen in the country, filling an immediate need with junior college transfer B.J. Autry (6-3, 320) and local standout J.P Urquidez (6-6, 300) from Copperas Cove.