Kedrick James could have gone anywhere. North, south, east or west — he had options in every direction.
Ultimately, James decided that staying in Waco suited him fine.
The La Vega junior tight end made his pledge to Baylor Wednesday, adding some local flavor to a big day for the Bears that included two other 2017 prospects making their commitments. James was joined by Bellaire safety Donovan Stiner and Houston St. Thomas receiver Jhamon Ausbon.
“We’re definitely excited for Kedrick,” La Vega coach Willie Williams said. “He had some options, but to be able to stay in your hometown and get an education while playing football, that’s a blessing.”
James oozes potential. At 6-5 and 245 pounds, he casts an imposing shadow — and Williams believes he’s just beginning to tap into how good of a player he could become.
“He’s just scratching the surface,” the coach said. “He’s a big kid who can do a lot of things, but he’s just going into his junior year. … We expect him to take on a bigger role this year. For me, when you’ve got a kid like that, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
The recruiting services certainly think pretty highly of James, as he was projected as the No. 3 tight end nationally in the 2017 class by 247Sports and No. 2 by Scout. Of course, those rankings all tie in to how highly regarded he is by college scouts. James had more than a dozen other scholarship offers, including from the likes of Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Michigan and Miami.
In addition to James, it was a pretty good haul all the way around for Baylor.
Ausbon (6-4, 214) is ranked as a four-star recruit by both Rivals and Scout. He played at Bellaire Episcopal last year before transferring to St. Thomas this summer. He becomes the second four-star receiver in Baylor’s 2017 class, joining Stafford’s Hezekiah Jones. Ausbon also had offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, among others.
Stiner (6-1, 185) is the first defensive pledge in Baylor’s 2017 class. Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect. He played outside linebacker at Bellaire last year, but projects as a safety at the next level.
Baylor now has five players in its class for 2017.