Coach Briles 2016 National Signing Day Quotes

Feb. 3, 2016


Baylor Football Head Coach Art Briles 2016 Signing Day Quotes

Opening statement…
“First of all, going back to the bowl game, it was a great team victory, a well-deserved victory against a very good football team in UNC. I’m extremely proud of our players and coaches for overcoming the odds. I was really proud of our football team and the way they represented Baylor, the Big 12, and Waco. That was a huge accomplishment for our football team, and in hindsight, any time you can go in somewhere and set national marks, it’s a big-time deal.

"All that equates into today, signing arguably the best class in Baylor’s history. Certainly it’s the best class we as a coaching staff have signed since I’ve been here. Some polls have us number one in the Big 12. We’re a top 15 class across the board in nearly all the rankings. This is a big deal for us. We signed some extremely good football players. The great thing about this class is that these guys stayed extremely loyal to us. Every one of the guys who was committed to us, signed with us today. At 9:07 a.m., we had all of our commitments signed and accounted for, and quite honestly, that’s awesome. We developed a lot of great relationships. We have a lot of trust in each other, their parents and those players trust our direction and this university and vice versa. We trust those players. They really hung tough with us. A lot of these guys had multiple opportunities to go elsewhere. A lot of their decisions came down to the last two or three days. The class looks good. We’ve got some really good football players coming in. I think this class will greatly benefit from the development that coach Kaz will bring, physically, and how we will develop them, schematically and mentally. We’re certainly in for some big things ahead. If you look back to the classes we signed in the past, they were not this highly ranked, but we won Big 12 championships, bottom line. This is a high class group, so we are going to win Big 12 Championships and be looking to win the national title, as well. A few other things that are facts that I’ll touch on before we go into anything else, but Baylor has had more NFL draft choices over the last five years than anybody else in the state of Texas. Our Pro Day this year will be one of the most anticipated pro days in the nation, with the possibility of having anywhere from five to seven guys drafted off the board. We’re third in the country in early entries, and we’re first in the Big 12 with three early entries. In the Combine, we’ve got about five or six guys already in there, and that’s going to probably be about second or third in America. Senior Bowl, we had four guys there, which I think, was third in the nation with invitees to the Senior Bowl, so that’s all pretty good stuff. The stuff that I really care about is our national brand, and that’s the fact that we’ve won five championships in a row: Alamo Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Big 12 Championships in 2013 and 2014, and the Russell Athletic Bowl. Try it. Check it out, see how many other universities have done that in the nation. There have been two others, Clemson and Michigan State, and we kind of helped one of those get in that category. That’s reality, and that’s what we deal in. We’re going to deal in reality. That’s the part that we’re as proud of as anything else, is that consistency in our football program. RGIII was here yesterday, and of course everyone here knows what he did, won the Heisman in 2011, which is generally given to what’s considered the number one football player in America. Robert’s a dear friend, I love him to death, but what has Baylor done since Robert? Won four championships. He won us the first one in the Alamo Bowl. That shows a little substance to our program. Over the last three years, we’ve won more games than anybody in the Big 12. We’re 22-5, and we’ve won more Big 12 Championships in that span as well. Those are the things we’re proud of as a program, and that’s why we signed the best recruiting class that we’ve signed since we’ve been here. Other people are looking at that. They’re looking for substance. They’re looking for stability, they’re looking for consistency in a staff, and that’s what they get at Baylor. Other than that, we’ve got a little bit of flair. I’m at the Senior Bowl, and Mike Tomlin walks up to me and says he’s got a 15 year-old son that loves Baylor and thinks we have the best uniforms in the nation. I said, you’ve got a smart one. This is a guy who lives in Pittsburgh, PA and he’s coming up and telling me that and then he nudges me and says, ‘Hey, tell me about that number 80.’ So that’s all good stuff, and things we’re proud of as a program, and as a university. Today, just speaking in general terms, we signed the fastest guy in the United States of America that plays football in Devin Duvernay, the fastest football player we’ve ever signed. We also signed the strongest player in America in Pat Hudson. We’ve also got a lot of guys who we’ll more than likely have on the track this spring. That’s our class. Like I said, we’re extremely excited about it. Highest-ranked class in the Big 12-era for Baylor, I haven’t looked back prior to that. Highest-rated class we’ve had since we’ve been here, and now it's our job to develop them and turn them loose and let them play a little bit and win a bunch of championships for the Baylor Bears.”

On if this signing class has a specific strength…
“I would say the strength is the overall athletic ability of the class and need fulfillment. We got guys that you need to have. We have been in the Big 12 a while and I think you need a lot of secondary guys, we did that. You have to have a bunch of offensive lineman and defensive linemen. So we are pretty good on the offensive line, we just took three. Took a few defensive linemen. We have a little depth in the offensive line right now, got some young guys we redshirted and some junior college guys we redshirted, so it is going to be a really good battle in there. You know, both sides of the line, we’ve got some good defensive lineman here, too, a lot of redshirt freshmen-type guys that are kind of set to play. It is going to be interesting, I like our 2016 football team. The guys we have on campus right now, these guys are going to add a lot to it. I really love the mentality of the way our guys are right now, because it’s like we feel, as coaches, like we haven’t done anything. We are struggling to try to become a formidable threat to everybody we play, and we haven’t done that yet.”

On if any newcomers will make an immediate impact…
“I think quite a few quite honestly, and I think it’s really hard to do now, and that’s a good thing. I certainly think, I don’t really want to say names specifically, but I think that you could say at least two, maybe three, on each side of the ball will certainly come in and play, potentially have a chance to start, certainly, at a couple positions.”

On if the successful class adds pressure to succeed…
“I hope so, I actually mentioned that in the staff meeting a while ago. There is always pressure, but we put enough pressure on ourselves. We have done okay, we have won 50 games in five years. But to us that is just okay, we want to win 110 in 10. We still have a lot of things out there that we need to do and these guys are certainly going to help us do it. You increase our skill level and our level in the trenches. We can handle that mentality, and it has increased, but that’s a good thing, because the days of Baylor sneaking up on someone… You better pull out the old book to look at that one, because they are over. People know about us. And we’re certainly not going to allow that to change.”

On the emphasis of recruiting OL and DL and if it intensified with Andrew Billings’ departure…
“Certainly escalated, it really did, because we thought he might go out. I think that is honestly a testament to our program and how we have recruited over the past two to three years. We have the most guys in the Big 12 with early entrance, guys leaving early. Some people look at it as a bad thing, I think it is a good thing. They can come back and get their degree, they either leave with it, or come back and get it. We have a bunch of guys go off and play, and the great thing about Baylor is they can always come back and we will pay for the undergraduate degree, that is a big time deal. We are always going to make sure they get it, and that’s why we have the highest graduation rate in the Big 12, because we are going to take care of our people. But when Andrew (Billings) made it formal, we had to hustle around a little bit and make sure we could cover what he brings to the table, which is complete dominance. He is completely a dominant football player. So, it is going to be interesting. We feel good about our prospects. We love Andrew, we are proud of him. He has stayed here basically two and half years, three seasons. Being good enough to go out early, it’s a big deal. If you are going to go, go high, that’s what I tell him. We are hoping he goes high. We will cover it up. You lose your point guard, and you’ve got two guys who can maybe equal one, you play both those guys. I don’t know if we will have one guy that can do what Andrew did.”

On early commitments from Smith, Martin, and Hudson setting the tone for the class…
“It’s crazy getting those guys in early. You’re talking about Zach Smith, the third or fourth most highly ranked quarterback in the state of Texas; there are a lot of guys who can spin the football, Kam Martin, the number one ranked running back in the nation and anchored the national 4X2 last year, and Pat Hudson, the strongest football recruit in America. I think if you tried to match up the offensive side of our class up against anybody in America, I don’t think anyone would match up well right now. It was huge getting those guys, because it created momentum. And we use momentum in recruiting the same way we use it on the field: if you’ve got it, you better run with it. If you don’t have it, you better figure out a way to stop your opponent from getting it. So it created a lot of momentum for us in the recruiting world, just like our 2017 class already has a lot of momentum. Getting commitments from those three guys early on was critical. The great thing about it is that Zach committed in early ’14; Kam and Pat followed right after and that was a year and a half ago. That’s a long time. For us to have these guys sign with us today, who committed 18 months ago, with everything that goes on in the world and with everything that they are subjected to in the recruiting process, it’s amazing to see. It’s not like they get an offer from Baylor and then they’re left alone. They commit to Baylor and then everyone comes after them. We can get you a scholarship offer, and that’s what happens. You know if we give an offer to a 2017 kid right now, he’ll have 15 others the next day, because people watch us and they know what we’re doing. So getting these guys to commit early and follow through was a tremendous feat for our staff and a testament to our relationship with these guys.”

On securing Patrick Hudson early…
“The great thing about Pat and his commitment to us in June of ’14, he never ever wavered from us in personal conversations. He didn’t waver, his mother, Bridget, didn’t, and his sister, Patricia, didn’t. Never once. A lot of times you really like to take people for what they tell you. So throughout this process, as everything was unwinding over the last month, we were all on the same page about what was going on from an internal standpoint. I really applaud him for staying extremely loyal to us in the face of all the outside pressures he had and the volatile situation in the recruiting world. It takes a lot of courage to stay true to the end. He did that for us, because he knew that we were the best place for him, and his mother knew it as well. So I’m very proud of what we achieved with Pat and his family. As far as official visitors this year, we had 27, and I would guess we offered 80-85, which is kind of low honestly. We got some yeses early, and that was coming off of winning that third championship, and that helped us in that standpoint.”

On if there seemed to be pressure towards the extra media exposure in other conferences…
“You know, there’s always pressure in recruiting, it’s kind of its own world. As far as pressure to go to the SEC, for reference, publicity-wise, they get their fair share. But really, at the end of the day, a lot of the time, home wins. Parrish Cobb, home. JP, home. All these guys you’ve mentioned stayed at home. Mommas matter, daddies matter, grandmas and grandpas matter. You’re talking bloodlines at the end of the day. That’s the thing that helps us, and we’re fortunate to be sitting right in the middle of the best state in the United States for student-athletes. That’s what helps us more than anything. When I was fortunate enough to get hired at this job eight years ago, I understood that. I knew where Waco was located, I knew where I-35 was, and I knew where Highway 6 was. I knew this place was as easy to get to as any in the state of Texas. I think that’s the reason we’ve been able to recruit the way we have, and because we know the vision of Waco and Baylor. It’s been proactive, but it’s gotta stay proactive not only as a university, but also as a city. If you’re trying to get on top, you better not think you’re there. You better find ways to get better at what you’re doing.”

 

 

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