Baylor Football

Baylor head coach Matt Rhule grins at halftime of the Bears' spring game.

Staff photo — Jerry Larson

It seems like first-year Baylor coach Matt Rhule has a unique ability to be in five different places at once.

We’ve seen him in the middle of the Bear Pit for Baylor basketball at the Ferrell Center. We’ve see him in the community lending support for Mission Waco to bring food to neighborhoods in need. We’ve seen him speak for various coaching clinics and Baylor alumni groups across the state.

We saw him at the NFL draft last month back in his old stomping grounds in Philadelphia.

“I don’t know when he sleeps,” said one Baylor assistant coach.

Despite his busy schedule, Rhule hasn’t lost sight of his two biggest tasks: Coaching and developing his current Baylor players and recruiting new players.

Since the Cactus Bowl on Dec. 27, Rhule and his staff have landed a remarkable 40 recruits in less than five months.

When Rhule arrived at Baylor on Dec. 7, Stafford defensive back Jalen Pitre was the lone verbal commitment left from the Art Briles era. Since late December, Rhule nailed down 26 more freshman signees in the 2017 class, two scholarship transfers who joined the Bears in the spring, and 12 verbal commitments in the 2018 class.

At this rate, Rhule will have the bulk of his 2018 recruiting class completed by the end of the summer. With the NCAA recently approving an early signing date in December, it’s a good idea to haul in as many early recruits as possible and get their names on the dotted line.

For an East Coast guy, Rhule has quickly learned the Texas landscape pretty well. It’s become quite clear Rhule and his staff are finding speed wherever they go.

Among the 12 commitments in the 2018 class, eight are receivers, defensive backs or running backs. They’re all fast and most of them star for their track teams.

There are few faster players in the country than Silsbee junior receiver Kalon Barnes, who committed to Baylor two weeks ago. Nicknamed Boogie, he set a Class 4A record at the state track meet last weekend by running 10.22 seconds in the 100 meters, the fourth fastest time in the country this spring.

Barnes also won the Class 4A 200 meters with a time of 21.48 seconds, and for good measure anchored the Silsbee 4x100-meter team to a second-place finish at 41.11 seconds.

Running back-receiver Joshua Fleeks anchored Cedar Hill to a second place Class 6A finish in the 4x100 with a time of 40.37 seconds.

Hempstead defensive back Delarrin Turner-Yell placed fifth in the Class 3A 200 meters with a time of 22.05 seconds. Cibolo Steele defensive back J.T. Woods took seventh in the Class 6A 100 meters at 10.80 seconds. Woods had previously been timed at 10.4 seconds in the 100 and 21.7 in the 200.

Mansfield receiver Jackson Gleeson has been clocked at 10.5 in the 100 and 21.4 in the 200. Wide receiver Tyquan Thornton from Miami (Fla.) Washington High School has almost identical times of 10.5 seconds in the 100 and 21.3 in the 200.

Clear Brook defensive back Mark Milton and Humble Porter defensive back Christian Morgan also bring some wheels to the field.

Baylor’s 2018 recruiting class isn’t even halfway finished, but that’s already a lot of speed to go around.

Baylor will likely need to fill out other positions in the 2018 class as the summer and fall progress. The Bears have commitments from four linemen, but no linebackers or quarterbacks.

Rhule and his staff have seen the warp speed at which Big 12 teams operate and how important it is for defensive backs to match fast receivers step for step.

They’re off to a quick start in the speed department, and that’s a good place to start.

Don't Miss...