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Texas Mid-Term Recruiting Report: Baylor

Running back Qualan Jones is currently the highest-ranked commit in Baylor's 2019 class
Running back Qualan Jones is currently the highest-ranked commit in Baylor's 2019 class (Nick Lucero/

Football prospects looking to make their college football commitments before the start of their senior season is nothing new in Texas. However, in the first full cycle of changes made to the NCAA football recruiting calendar, many players took advantage of the opportunity to knock out many - if not all - of their official visits from the end of spring through early summer. Many top programs in-state, as well as those out-of-state teams that frequently recruit Texas, have seen their classes fill at an advanced pace with a higher likelihood that products from the Lone Star State will remain committed with an eye on signing their letters of intent in December.

In 2016, 258 players from Texas ranked as 5.4 two-stars or higher signed with Power Five or Group of Five programs. In 2017, that number grew to 297 and again in 2018 to 334. Currently, 216 players in that demographic are committed to Power Five or Group of Five programs in the 2019 class. While the number of signees at the very top of the rankings has remained relatively consistent since 2016, the growth in total players signed during that time is an indicator that the overall quality of talent in the state has grown as well.

With that in mind, and the start of football season just around the corner, now is as good of a time as any to take stock of which teams have recruited Texas most successfully this year. Here is a look at the job Baylor has done with the fall approaching.



Much has been said about the job that Baylor continues to do, recruiting players to a program that has had plenty working against it over the past few seasons. If the Bears can move past the paltry win total from last season and be so bold as to find themselves back in a bowl game this season, it may finally be time to put that sort of thinking to bed. Regardless of circumstance, Baylor has done a savvy job finding players that often fall just below the radar of other Big 12 teams that draw from the Texas talent pool and is off to another fantastic job with its in-state recruiting again in 2019.

Qualan Jones is a perfect example of a player that the Bears have been able to identify and give an opportunity to when others haven’t. He is Baylor’s highest-ranked commitment in 2019, but has simply not been recruited by other programs to a significant degree. That doesn’t seem to be an indicator about his value as a prospect, however, as he is one of the most powerfully-built and productive runners in the state.

Baylor didn’t see many of its commits come away with many significant moves for better or worse in the most recent Rivals rankings update, other than Logan Compton, who until recently, has been ranked as a tight end, but was moved to athlete following his commitment to Baylor with the expectation of playing defensive end. He had been previously ranked as a 5.5 three-star, but after this summer climbed to 5.7 and made his debut in the Texas state rankings as well at 83.

Otherwise, Baylor has a few players that seem on the cusp of making another positive move and could continue raising the profile of the class by showing progression this football season. The player most are optimistic about is quarterback Jacob Zeno. As a calm and smooth passer, Zeno could show this fall that he’s taken a step towards becoming a more dynamic player and climb up to four-star status. Jaylen Ellis is a wide receiver, but in a similar position where it’s clear he has many of the tools to be elite at the position, but just hasn’t shown consistently that he’s put it all together all at once. He could easily change that perception this fall and find himself with a higher ranking as well. New commit Gabriel Hall is another player that many were excited about this spring and in another year without a wealth of top-end defensive tackle talent within the state, he is certainly on the shortlist of players that could see a dramatic change in status.

Baylor has done well to get in first with many of the players that it’s recruited and turned that into commitments that have often come out of the blue. With a pretty well-balanced group of commits to this point, picking out who the staff’s next big target will be could largely be anybody’s guess. That being said, of the players offered in-state, Brant Banks seems to be the type of player that could be a prime candidate for the Bears to focus on. Like Compton, he’s a bit of a project, but would find opportunity to grow as an offensive tackle for a team that is still trying to shore up its numbers along the offensive line.


This grade could easily be an A at the end of the fall considering the potential for many of Baylor’s commits to see their ranking take another positive bump. Again, the job the staff has done selling a program that is still not recruiting from an advantageous position has been pretty remarkable. Should head coach Matt Rhule and his staff hold this class together and add a few more important pieces, whether in- or out-of-state, it will have been another successful cycle for the Bears. Perhaps equally as important, this season is another opportunity to show recruits from Texas things are very much moving in the right direction while giving them a great opportunity to play early in their careers.


1.) Texas A&M ● Story: Aggies TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report

2.) Oklahoma ● Story: Sooners TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report

3.) Texas ● Story: Longhorns TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report

4.) Texas Tech ● Story: Red Raiders TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report

5.) Baylor Bears

6.) TCU ● Story: Horned Frogs TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report

7.) Arkansas ● Story: Razorbacks TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report

8.) Houston ● Story: Group of Five TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report

9.) Oklahoma State ● Story: Cowboys TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report

10.) North Texas Mean Green

11.) Southern Methodist Mustangs

12.) Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners

13.) Rice Owls

14.) Texas State Bobcats

15.) Tulsa Golden Hurricane