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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Baylor recruiting needs

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Having a scintillating player like Robert Griffin should clearly benefit Baylor's recruiting for the next several seasons -- even though the Bears likely won't getting too many quarterback prospects.

Coach Art Briles won't mind that much. As he works to lure a recruiting class that will help send his team bowling for the first time since 1994, Briles likely will lean on the same philosophy he employed to turn around Houston in his first college head-coaching job. It will likely include a heavy concentration of players from smaller Texas high schools rather than those from the Dallas and Houston areas.

Briles has clicked on that strategy over the years and appears set to do that with his second recruiting class with the Bears.

The Bears need an upgrade in the trenches after losing starting tackles Jason Smith and Don Gay and they will start seniors at both guard positions and at center in 2009. Smith and Gay combined for 73 career starts. The depth at the position is aggravated because only redshirt freshman Joe Korbel was in the late-season depth chart.

Most of the skill position talent is young -- Griffin and leading receiver Kendall Wright are coming off their freshman seasons and leading rusher Jay Finley was a sophomore. But an upgrade of talent still could be used at all positions.

Most of the defensive talent is back as the Bears lose only two starters. But the Bears could use some additional young personnel at linebacker where both potential All-American Joe Pawelek and Antonio Jones will be seniors next season. And replacements will need to be cultivated for seniors-to-be like nose guard Trey Bryant, defensive end Jason Lamb and safeties Jordan Lake and Jeremy Williams.

Briles knows his way around Texas high school recruiting after a legendary career as a four-time state championship coach at Stephenville High School after earlier stops at Hamlin and Georgetown. Don't be surprised to see him lean on some of that familiarity as he beats the bushes to help fill in the roster around Griffin.