Waxahachie junior offensive tackle Patrick Lawrence has had 10 scholarship offers, but it didn’t take him long to verbally commit to Baylor after visiting the campus Saturday.

Lawrence liked everything he saw including the new stadium rising on the banks of the Brazos River.

“We’re going to be the first freshman class that gets to play there,” Lawrence said. “You look across the river and see how far it has come. Coach (Art) Briles said they’re ahead of schedule.”

The 6-6, 255-pound Lawrence chose Baylor over schools like Texas Tech, Oregon State, Michigan State and Arizona State. Staying close to home to play at a rising football program like Baylor was too good to pass up.

“It’s only 55 minutes to Waco,” Lawrence said. “I just believe it’s the right place for me. I love the coaching staff and the atmosphere Coach Briles has created. It’s great for me and my family because they can come down and see me play.”

A major factor in Lawrence’s decision is Baylor’s success in developing NFL-ready offensive linemen including first-round draft picks Jason Smith by the St. Louis Rams in 2009 and Danny Watkins by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011. Lawrence is looking forward to working under Baylor offensive line coach Randy Clements.

“Coach Clements does a good job of developing linemen and getting them ready for the next level,” Lawrence said. “I wanted to make my decision before the football season started.”

Lawrence is the eighth verbal commitment in Baylor’s 2014 class as he joins Texarkana Liberty-Eylau receiver-defensive back Davion Hall, Houston Bellaire offensive lineman Devonte Jones, Rockdale offensive lineman Josh Pelzel, Willis receiver Chris Platt, Kingwood Park tight end Jordan Feuerbacher, Magnolia West defensive end Xavier Jones and Ennis running back Terence Williams.

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