Starting a season 0-5 isn’t an ideal way to recruit talent, especially to a school without much historical success. But five games into this season, recruits don’t seem to be giving up on Baylor coach Matt Rhule.
On Wednesday, Rhule got good news from a couple of different places. First, U.S. Army All-American punter Isaac Power committed to Baylor, which filled a need that will materialize once Drew Galitz graduates.
A few hours later, 4-star defensive lineman Bobby Brown announced Baylor among his top-eight. The rest of the list contains some familiar names: Alabama, LSU, Florida State, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Houston.
Even with the horrifically slow start, Rhule is building relationships. Recruits still believe in what Rhule is doing at Baylor.
Outpacing the competition
There are seven teams in the Power Five – including BYU – with one win or fewer. One of those is Florida State, which lost a guaranteed win because of hurricane issues. Take a look at how the rest of the teams stack up in the chart below. (Ratings from the 247Sports Composite)
|Team||Class rank||Commits||Avg. rating|
Despite being the lone winless team on this list, the Bears are out-recruiting every team except for Florida State. In fact, the other five teams on the list average a class ranking of 64 with an average of 13.2 commits per class. It doesn’t get much better when two-win teams are included.
Other than Baylor and Florida State teams with two or fewer wins barely average a 60th-ranked class. They also average just 13.4 commits per class at this point.
Granted, there are several top teams with incomplete recruiting classes. A couple of teams will likely pass Baylor in the recruiting rankings before National Signing Day. However, it’s a great spot to be heading into Week 7, particularly considering Baylor’s current record. After blowing through his first recruiting class in barely a month, Rhule has taken full advantage of the resources at Baylor.
Building major relationships
Baylor never recruited at a true national level under Art Briles. Despite winning two Big 12 titles, the Bears brought in just three top 30 recruiting classes and one top 25. Rhule brought in a top-40 class in his abridged 2017 group; Briles had just one top-40 class in his first four.
Granted, there are some intrinsic advantages Rhule has that Briles didn’t. McLane Stadium is a major selling point. Baylor also has the advantage of recently being a national power. The name means something different to recruits than it did a decade ago.
But still, Rhule is taking full advantage. Rhule came into the 2017 season with 18 commits in the Class of 2018. All 18 players are still firmly committed. That’s not for lack of opportunities.
Four-star wide receiver Josh Fleeks has offers from Georgia, Tennessee and UCLA. Running back Craig Williams could go to Auburn, Utah or Oklahoma State. Ten different SEC schools have at least one offer out to a Baylor commit. Almost the entire Big 12 does too. Regardless, Rhule is hanging onto his guys and looking at several other top prospects.
Brown named Baylor to his top-eight. If the Bears show improvement, he could be an option. 247Sports Crystal Ball considers No. 237 overall quarterback Gerry Bohanon a Baylor lean.
No. 175 overall wide receiver Tommy Bush is also expected to go to either Baylor or Texas. He recently told SB Nation that Rhule is a “great human.” If the Bears – somehow – landed all three players, the class would compete for top-20. Most likely, it would be the best in Baylor history by ranking.
Baylor still has not won a game under Rhule. Until the Bears do, all talk about future success is moot. However, recruits are buying what Rhule is selling.
Rhule is achieving this level of recruiting success at Baylor despite not having personal Texas ties or success to sell to high schoolers. At some point, he will have results and success to peddle. When that time comes – watch out.
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