In less than 24 hours, Baylor picked up three highly-rated recruits as Prestonwood Christian senior linebacker Deonte Williams, San Antonio Reagan junior quarterback Kellen Mond and Stafford junior receiver Hezekiah Jones made verbal commitments.
Williams made his commitment late Tuesday night before Mond and Jones committed to Baylor within minutes of each other on Wednesday afternoon. Mond and Jones are the first commitments in Baylor’s 2017 class.
The 5-11, 175-pound Jones, a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, is the highest rated of the trio. Jones chose Baylor over schools like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Florida and Michigan.
“I just feel like it’s a good fit for me and my family,” Jones said. “I like the receivers at Baylor, the coaching staff and the environment. I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan and Terrance Williams is my favorite receiver, and it means a lot that he came from Baylor.”
The 6-3, 194-pound Mond is a three-star dual-threat quarterback who has been recruited by TCU, Texas Tech and Texas A&M among others. As a sophomore last season, he passed for 1,745 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,242 yards and 14 scores.
“Kellen is certainly an outstanding pocket passer who can run,” said San Antonio Reagan coach David Wetzel. “He’s much bigger and faster than people think. People see his great arm and fast feet and decision making, but his composure and coolness are his greatest attributes.”
Williams, a TAPPS all-state player, picked Baylor over schools like TCU, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Iowa, Louisville, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and SMU.
“Baylor does a good job of knowing what they’re looking for,” Prestonwood Christian coach Chris Cunningham said. “They know when they see a great football player. They don’t have to see stars and rankings. I’m thrilled for Deonte.”
Williams got a powerful taste of Baylor football when he attended the TCU game last fall at McLane Stadium. He watched the Bears storm back from a 21-point fourth quarter deficit for a thrilling 61-58 win.
“My dad always tells me not to leave before the fourth quarter clock is over,” Williams said. “Oh man, that was exciting the way they came back. It was a great atmosphere.”
Williams is the 12th commitment in Baylor’s 2016 class. He said Baylor offered him a scholarship as a sophomore and he has since maintained a strong relationship with linebackers coach Jim Gush.
“He’s always made me feel welcome,” Williams said. “I feel good about Baylor’s coaches and how they treat kids.”
Entering his fourth season as a starting linebacker for Prestonwood Christian, the 6-2, 215-pound Williams features explosiveness off the edge. He sees himself playing outside linebacker for the Bears.
“He’s a phenomenal physical athlete,” Cunningham said. “He’s been outstanding since the first game in so many ways. He’s got a tremendous pass rush off the edge and can drop in coverage and run with the slot receivers.
“But the thing that sets him apart is he’s got a tremendous understanding of the concepts of the defense. He doesn’t just know his position, he knows how it fits in the overall defensive scheme.”
BEAR FACTS — SFA coach Chris Conque announced that former Baylor offensive lineman Devonte Jones has joined the Lumberjacks. Jones signed with Baylor in 2014 and grayshirted last fall before going through spring drills.