Baylor is now most certainly among the game’s elites. A big key in Baylor’s ascent is success on the recruiting trail. The Bears have signed top-30 classes three out of the past four years and have an average finish of 24 during that same time frame. This past February, the Bears finished with the second-best class in the Big 12 and 17th overall.
Here are five reasons why you can expect even more success from Baylor with its 2017 class.
Uncertainty at Texas and Texas A&M
With Charlie Strong and Kevin Sumlin on the hot seat at Texas and Texas A&M, Baylor should be able to use that to its advantage in recruiting. Even though Texas was able to overcome some of the question marks about Strong’s future with a top-10 2016 class, the criticism will be back quickly if the Horns don’t win big this season. The same is true in College Station, where Aggie fans are demanding success this season. Those question marks about the flagship programs in Texas gives Baylor a unique opportunity to sell stability to local prospects, and it’s a pitch that should work quite well with 2017 recruits.
The swag factor
Baylor has about as many costume changes as a Broadway production. The vast collection of different uniform combinations the Bears roll out has amped the program’s cool factor with the Xbox generation of recruits. #BaylorSwag has become a real thing and is a huge selling point that recruits. That factor is something very few teams in the Big 12 can match.
If you stroll into a high school football stadium in the Lone Star State, you’ll notice both teams running almost the same offensive system as Baylor. Art Briles is a legend with high school coaches throughout Texas, and his success at Stephenville High School helped usher in the spread offense throughout the state. OK, not every Lone Star State team runs the spread, but a majority of Texas schools use some of the system as a part of their core offensive philosophy. That philosophy has bred familiarity in recruiting with what Baylor does, and offensive skill players have gravitated toward Waco for years because of it. What quarterback, running back or receiver in Texas wouldn’t want to play for an offense that had two 1,000-yard passers, two 1,000-yard rushers and three receivers with more than 750 yards in 2015?
While sophomore Jarrett Stidham will have to compete with Seth Russell for the starting spot this upcoming season, he proved as a true freshman he’s more than ready to be the next big thing at quarterback for the Bears. In front of a hostile Kansas State crowd in a nationally televised game, Stidham made his first-ever start and threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns. He had other big games before getting injured and missing the rest of his freshman season, but it became crystal clear Baylor has their quarterback of the future already on campus and that’s something it can easily sell to recruits for the 2017 and 2018 recruiting cycles.
Baylor used to be ridiculed for its football facilities, but give credit to the university for stepping up and spending $250 million to build an 860,000-square foot McLane Stadium that sits along the Brazos River. The new digs have been given rave reviews by recruits for the atmosphere it creates. With recruits wowed by fancy locker rooms and hulking video screens, Baylor now has all the bells and whistles from a facility standpoint to compete with virtually anybody they’ll battle on the recruiting trail.