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Big 12 Impact Freshmen: Baylor

 With the Big 12 season less than three months away, here’s a look at the potential impact freshmen for each team. Recruiting rankings are based on the 247Sports Composite which calculates the average of all four major recruiting websites (247Sports, Rivals, ESPN and Scout.)

11-2 (8-1 Big 12); 1st in Big 12

2015 Team Ranking

National Rank: 37

Big 12 Rank: 5

Class Breakdown

5-star: 0*

4-star: 3

3-star: 14

Top Incoming Prospects

  • DUAL Jarrett Stidham, 4-star, Stephenville (Stephenville, TX), 6-4, 195 lbs, No. 2 QB, No. 38 overall
  • WR Blake Lynch, 4-star, Gilmer (Gilmer, TX), 6-3, 195 lbs, No. 23 WR, No. 186 overall
  • APB JaMycal Hasty, 4-star, Longview (Longview, TX), 5-8, 185 lbs, No. 7, No. 236 overall
  • WR Devontre Stricklin, 3-star, Midway (Waco, TX), 6-3, 180 lbs, No. 50 WR, No. 407 overall
  • ATH J.W. Ketchum III, 3-star, Lamar (Houston, TX), 6-0, 201, No. 30 ATH, No. 414 overall

Class Overview

Last season Baylor fans saw the emergence of freshman wide receiver KD Cannon and linebacker Taylor Young after absences in the starting roster. This season the Bears see 18 starters returning to action, leaving little room for incoming freshmen to step into the spotlight. But in the probable case of more injuries, Baylor offers one of their best recruiting classes to step up.

The most notable recruit is quarterback Jarrett Stidham who enrolled last semester, reporting to spring practices. He’s listed as a 4-star dual-threat QB, but many scouts are touting him as the first 5-star recruit in Baylor history. He’ll be sitting behind junior Seth Russell, but will likely find some playing time in less important games to help develop his already deep skill set. Briles has churned out great quarterbacks in the past, just imagine what he can do with a top recruit like Stidham.

Baylor’s success at quarterback has been a product of great wide receivers, and this class looks to continue that strong lineage. The Bears’ receiving corps is crowded, so it will be difficult for Blake Lynch and Devontre Stricklin to get playing time. Like last season’s Chris Platt and Ishmael Zamora, they will likely be redshirted, saving their eligibility for the next four seasons.

On the opposite end of the field there’s a dropoff in talent. Baylor was on the radar of top defenders such as Malik Jefferson (Texas), only securing defensive back JW Ketchum. Of course, anything is welcome, as the Baylor defense was the team’s kryptonite last season especially the secondary which looks to have improved this off-season with sophomore Chance Waz among other impressing during spring scrimmages.

But defense and offense aren’t the only teams on the field, there’s the overlooked special teams as well. There have been whispers Briles may ditch punting, though not because they’re losing All-Big 12 punter Spencer Roth. Drew Galitz comes in from Rowlett, TX as the nation’s No. 2 kicking recruit, but will be coming in as the punter as sophomore Chris Callahan has the placekicking gig wrapped up. If he struggles though, fans will have plenty to be excited about considering Galitz nailed a 71-yard field goal.

The Bears have plenty of talent coming in this season, but there’s only so many players on the field at a time so our look at freshmen may be limited. But we said the same thing last season and saw Cannon emerge as a top talent. Next year’s class is where things really heat up though, holding a top 20 class and only gaining speed with recent signings and their first consensus 5-star recruit in offensive tackle Patrick Hudson looking to fill the void Spencer Drango will leave next season.

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