On the eve of the new NCAA early signing period, Baylor nailed down a major verbal commitment from Earle (Ark.) quarterback Gerry Bohanon on Tuesday.
Bohanon, the No. 1 overall recruit in Arkansas and a four-star prospect by 247Sports, is the first quarterback to commit to the 2018 Baylor class. Most of Baylor’s 23 commitments are expected to sign in the early period which runs Wednesday through Friday.
The Bears desperately needed a quarterback since freshman Charlie Brewer is the only scholarship quarterback on Baylor’s roster after sophomore Zach Smith said last week that he plans to transfer.
Bohanon is graduating from high school early to enroll at Baylor in January to begin competing for the quarterback job.
He announced his decision during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Earle High School gym, donning a Baylor cap and unveiling a Sic ‘Em Bears T-shirt. Bohanon chose Baylor over Arkansas, Louisville, Memphis and Indiana.
“It felt like home to me,” said Bohanon after announcing his decision. “They develop you as a man, not just as a football player. I’m going there in January to compete. I’ll go in and work hard and do what I do.”
The 6-3, 218-pound dual-threat quarterback led Earle to the Arkansas high school playoffs, but the team was forced to forfeit all its wins due to an ineligible player on the roster.
The addition of Bohanon capped a flurry of commitments leading up to signing day. Baylor landed a commitment from three-star DeSoto safety Byron Hanspard on Dec. 11, followed by two-star offensive lineman Princeton Pines from Baton Rouge (La.) Tara on Friday, and four-star wide receiver Tyquan Thornton from Miami Washington on Saturday.
The first Wednesday in February has always been like Christmas to college football coaches.
For the second straight year, Baylor will sign five high school offensive line recruits, including Pines, Franklin’s Casey Phillips, Katy’s Connor Galvin, Bryan’s Ylijaah Hall and Southlake Carroll’s Jackson Kimble. Baylor’s new class of running backs features Pasadena Rayburn four-star recruit Stanley Hackett, Cedar Hill’s Joshua Fleeks and Crosby’s Craig Williams.
The Bears have commitments from four wide receivers, including Thornton, Mansfield’s Jackson Gleeson, Silsbee’s Kalon Barnes and Friendswood Clear Brook’s Mark Milton. Baylor also expects to sign three tight ends — Cuero’s Bralen Taylor, San Antonio Clark’s Ben Sims and Christoph Henle of the Oakridge School in Arlington.
Leading Baylor’s defensive recruits is Houston Lamar four-star defensive end Joshua Landry.
Landry will be joined on the line by Marshall end Marje Smith, while Alief Taylor’s Joseph Ogunbanjo is the only linebacker in the class. The defensive backs include Hanspard, Humble Porter’s Christian Morgan and Cibolo Steele’s J.T. Woods.
Kicker Isaac Power from Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colo., is the lone specialist committed to Baylor.
While the traditional NCAA signing day will be held Feb. 7, the majority of the players will be thrilled to sign early to complete the recruiting process.
“I’m very excited,” Woods said. “I think it gives a lot of opportunity to be officially locked into the school they wanted.”