Head coach Art Briles discusses the Bears' 19-member signing class.
Feb. 2, 2011
Head Coach Art Briles
"I would like to look at it as the first victory of 2011 today with our signing class. I guess you could hear it anywhere you go across the country: we really filled a lot of needs. The thing that has really improved with us as our depth has gotten better our needs have diminished a little bit. So what we have got to be is very selective with the guys that we brought on campus that are going to be future Baylor Bears. I think and I really haven't studied the history, but I think you would be hard pressed to find a better defensive line and o-line than what we were able to sign today. I mean these guys on both sides of the ball fit exactly what we are looking for. Defensively, they are high motor guys, physical, very tough, very intelligent, multiple position guys, some of them play inside and they can play out. And then on offense just big physical, long guys that really have a presence. We really, really feel great about both sides of the ball up front. I think that is probably the strong areas of the class. Then we got some good skill people to bounce are to go with it. You always got to have those guys, so we feel really good about the class we have brought in. Offensively, the numbers aren't quite as high as what we brought in defensively. We didn't lose any guys on offense, we lost a few guys defensively we had to fill the needs for, so consequently that is why we went more on the defensive side."
On the offensive line recruits including Spencer Drango:
"He is a big, big pick up and the great thing about Spencer Drango, first and foremost, is his loyalty to the university, to Baylor University and our football program. That is something as you develop relationships with players that you really grow to appreciate in this process. The great thing about all of these guys that we signed is they all had choices. They had choices, good choices and they chose to come to Baylor. That to us tells us, we are moving in the right direction, we are going after the right people, but physically Drango, he is 6-6. He is 284 pounds. He plays basketball. He is a guy that has a great presence about him. Outstanding student. Has a brother, who is a student here and a very supportive mother and father. I guess if you jogged them out of the room, he might be the first one to jog out, but I am telling you those other guys are men now. LaQuan might be the biggest guy in the state of Texas. The future for him is very, very bright. He is 6-6.5 and 345 and can slam a basketball any way you want it slammed. He is very mobile. He will win state in the shot put again. Desmine Hilliard, the kid from Dallas Lincoln is 6-4.5 and about 300 pounds. He has a great chance to win the discus this year at the state track meet. He will throw up around 190 feet. Very agile, very loose, very athletic and very focused. Pat Colbert from Kilgore just another big, raw kid that we think is really the sleeper out of the group. He is 6-6 and weighs about 275 now and we think he has got a huge upside. Very physical. Very aggressive football player. That also doubles and plays basketball. Like I said that side of the ball offensively, very excited about those guys up front and we had to go a little heavy because we are having to make up for some lack in numbers on scholarship right now with our guys, the o-line particularly."
On if he felt he went head to head with Texas and Oklahoma more this year than in past years:
"We just find ourselves going after good football players and it seems that a lot of people are doing the same thing. We don't really look at who we are going against. We just look at who we are trying to get to be a Baylor Bear. If you are after the right folks, the folks that fit your needs then there will be some times that you will cross paths with some of those people."
On if it is a good feeling to be able to fill needs now:
"It is real good, because we got two to three scholarships left over and we are saving them for possible transfers, which we do feel like we will have at least one this summer, maybe two and then maybe a special, maybe a punter as we wind down through the process and get to August. We weren't just going to take people to take people and fill numbers, because we do have needs we have to fill. We filled those needs and now we have some bonus scholarships out there that we are going to use for transfers and possibly a punter."
On if there was an emphasis to get guys who can contribute immediately:
"Yeah, always. We want our guys coming in thinking they need to play now. We want them coming in thinking, `I want to compete and play now.' Is it realistic always? No, but if you don't dream you are never going to sleep. You got to get in there and have good thoughts and good attitudes and good hopes and we got some guys that can come in and play. Now I don't want to throw them out there individually, but we have some people that can step in and have an opportunity to help us play next year, no doubt."
On what he looks for in a player he is going to sign:
"Besides from being a qualifier, first and foremost, to having high character. Great practice habits. I am a little more concerned about how they practice how they prepare than sometimes how they always perform, because you spend more time on the practice field than you do on the game field. I want somebody that I don't have to make smile or juice up to get them excited about doing what they are doing. I want some self-starters. That to me is very important and then I guess the bottom line is always production. I don't want to contradict what I am saying, but the bottom line at the end of the day is always production. We have to look at do they produce and how they produce at the position they are playing and then look for multiple position guys."
On K.J. Morton:
"We watched film on him a couple of weeks ago and saw a guy that has a great journey. I like guys that have a little journey. He has got a great journey to where he is at, how he got there and why he is there and where he is going. As a person very focused, very dedicated, very disciplined with his mental behavior and his psychical preparation. Three for three guys, so he has got three years left, which is good. He is a multiple position guy. He can play cornerback. He can play safety, so all those things really made us get fired up about him and when we got to know him as a person then we really appreciated him a lot more. He is a really good football player and a really focused individual."
On Jermichael Selders recovering from a knee injury:
"He is doing extremely well. We have known Jermichael since last spring when he came to one of our Junior days. He was a high scholarship offer guy from all over the nation. Tore his ACL in September, committed early to West Virginia and came down and visited last week. He is a guy that we think can be a really good football player. He is a downhill runner, tough kid, very physical and very focused right now. A lot of times when you get something taken away from you, you want it back a lot more and thankfully he has got a second chance. A lot of times you don't get second chances, but he has got one and he is going to make the most of it. We are proud he is going to be part of us."
On only signing one receiver and it being Jonathan Lee:
"One receiver, because we are pretty heavy at receiver, pretty young, pretty heavy at receiver. We think we will pick up a JC guy here in the next year without a doubt, maybe this summer and he is dang good. He is a good football player. You don't just take a guy that you are going to put out there in space, just to take a guy. We know exactly what we are looking for inside and outside. Jonathan to us was an outside receiver all the way. Tall, lean kid that can stretch and go get the football. He is fast enough to gain respect out of a lockdown corner and rangy enough to make plays across the middle. He is a big time player and he once again has been very loyal to us since last April and we are really proud he is part of our team."
On Beau Blackshear:
"Of course, Beau is just a big guy that is an athlete. Of course, he played the short yardage quarterback at Midway. He is very athletic, very light feet, very intelligent, very high motor and just brings a winner's mentality to that side of the football. He is a can't miss guy. Like I mentioned early, d-linemen we got this year, I think are really going to be beneficial for us. It is a step above."
On his recruiting class being ranked higher each year that he has been at Baylor:
"Honestly I have not looked this year. As far as putting stock in it, we are recruiting student athletes, if they fit what we are looking for and they happen to be a one-star, great. If they happen to be a four-star, outstanding, because what some people perceive as being the best guy may not always be the reality and the reality is getting people that we think fit what we are looking for and we have been able to do that. If that consequently falls in line with a higher rating then that is good."
On if there is a relief once he sees the name of a recruit on the dotted line:
"A sense of relief, yes, because what you hoped is going to happen happens, so when the names come across the board and it is official that they are Baylor Bears that is a big day for us."
On the strength of the recruiting crop in the state of Texas:
"You got Texas, you got Florida and you got California as probably the top three states in America as far as producing high school athletes that go on to collegiate football. I think the numbers don't lie about the state of Texas. There is no reason to drive to Fort Worth if you like the food they are serving here. I mean if we can find what we are looking for in the state of Texas, we are going to do it, because most of the time at the end of the day home wins in recruiting. Not all of the time, but most of the time when it comes right down to it. You got a good chance if you are close to them."
On giving a punter a scholarship:
"If we can find a guy that can come in and do it right now, we would go with it, because you have got to have that guy. He flips the field position. Now Parks, we feel like can do it. We got a guy on campus we think can do it, so we will evaluate through the spring and go from there."
On the recruits signed as athletes:
"B.J. (Allen) is probably one of the more dynamic players we have signed the last two or three years without a doubt. He will win state this year in 300-hurdles and their team will win the state track meet and he'll run a 46. 2 or 3 on his mile relay and he will have a top five time in America in the 300 hurdles. He is a guy that can run that is really elusive. We will use him on the offensive side of the ball either as a running back or inside receiver. He fits us perfectly for what we are looking for. (Anthony) Webb, right now we are kind of projecting as a DB. He is coming off shoulder surgery, so we are kind of going to see how that goes, but he is a high school running back, tough kid that is a great kid that we think can come in there and play a little DB for us, if not then we will search around on offense a little bit."