Baylor hooks big recruit in Billings

Waco High’s Andrew Billings was a Super Centex selection on the offensive line, but wanted to play defense exclusively in college. He’s one of two four-star recruits committed to Baylor.

Baylor added a major piece to its 2013 recruiting class and kept a prominent Central Texas recruit at home as Waco High defensive tackle Andrew Billings announced his verbal commitment Tuesday afternoon.

Billings originally thought he’d want to leave his hometown to play college football, but chose Baylor over TCU and Texas.

“There was no pressure for me to stay here,” Billings said. “I wanted to leave Waco and go play football somewhere else, but the more I got to know about Baylor, they showed me the options I had there, and I saw myself fitting in there very well. Better than the rest of the colleges.”

With the addition of Billings, Baylor is poised to sign at least 18 players Wednesday on national signing day, including 13 defensive players. Billings and Fort Worth Southwest receiver Robbie Rhodes are the highest rated players among Baylor’s verbal commitments with both receiving four-star ratings from Rivals.com.

The 6-1, 308-pound Billings is rated the 12th-best defensive tackle nationally in the 2013 class and is ranked No. 168 overall in the Rivals.com top 250.

Starting on both sides of the line for Waco High, Billings dominated up front. He made Class 4A first-team all-state as an offensive lineman and was a terror as a defensive tackle as he finished with 30 tackles, five sacks and 15 quarterback hits while breaking up three passes.

Billings said Baylor’s football program, the university’s academics and the relationships he developed with the players and coaches weighed into his decision. He visited the Baylor campus last weekend, and everything fell into place for him.

“It was the whole package, the academics, the coaches, the play

ers, everything,” Billings said. “It was the relationships I had there. I really thought I could do what I need to do to graduate at Baylor. When I left, I just wanted to sit down and think about it, and it came down to TCU and Baylor. And in the end it was Baylor.”

Billings is looking forward to developing his talents as a defensive lineman under Baylor defensive line coach Chris Achuff.

“That’s my kind of coach,” Billings said. “He has always been on to me. I went to (Baylor summer) camp as a sophomore and I was working with him, and I really liked the way he coached.”

Though Billings was among the last of the state’s top recruits to verbally commit to a school, he’s glad he took his time and looked at his decision from all angles.

Constant phone calls

“At first, it (the recruiting process) was draining because you think you have to answer the phone every time it rings,” Billings said. “But then you notice you don’t have to answer these people, and it gets good. You can focus on the three schools and really get informed about them, and you can make an informed decision.”

Billings said he’ll be happy when he signs his letter of intent today with Baylor.

“I can just focus on me, school, and Baylor,” Billings said. “Just getting ready for college football. That’s what I have always wanted.”

The addition of Billings will give Baylor at least two defensive tackles in this year’s class. Allen’s Byron Bonds has verbally committed while Navarro College’s Terrell Brooks will reportedly choose between Baylor and Miami.

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