June 21, 2011

Unveiling the Unknown

The first question Baylor football followers probably asked when they learned about Burkburnett running back Devin Chafin committing was, "Who is he?"

Well, that's a good question. Let's dive in shall, we?

• Chafin burst on to the scene for the Bulldogs in 2010 by rushing for more than 1,300 yards, helped the program advance to the Class 3A playoffs with just a 3-8 record and was named District 6-3A Newcomer of the Year.

• He missed 1 games in 2010 because he suffered a concussion. He said he is free of those post-concussion syndrome aftereffects.

• Among his performances, Chafin rushed for 196 yards in 27-26 loss to Iowa Park on Oct. 23, 2010. He also rushed for 252 in a 55-42 playoff-clinching victory over Bowie on Nov. 5.

• He appears to be an emerging athlete as he competed at the Class 3A state track and field meet in Austin. Chafin finished sixth in the 100 meter dash with a time of 10.82.

• Chafin attended Baylor's June 12 skill position camp in Waco and worked out exclusively at running back. He was offered later in the week.

• And if you're on the Baylor coaching staff, it helps to have deep Texas roots. Chafin's mother Shawna went to high school with Baylor offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Randy Clements at Wichita Falls Hirschi.

• Chafin just turned 17 in May.

Verbal commitments are non-binding. The first day a recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 1, 2012. Written offers will be extended beginning on Aug. 1. Chafin (6-0, 208) becomes the 12th member of this class and the second in as many days.

"Well, I'm not the kind of back that will run through people,'' said Chafin, who had also drawn interest from Colorado State and North Texas. "I like making moves and juking the defenders. That's pretty much the way I run. That's not going to change.''

Running back is where the Baylor coaching staff will mostly likely play him. Recent history shows that this is the kind of running back commitment coach Art Briles and his staff pursue. See Tatum's B.J. Allen.

Keep in mind that when the Bears picked up Allen's commitment last fall, he had not received any offers but drew some interest from Oklahoma St.

Once you cut through the top tier backs - such as Aledo's Johnathan Gray - there can be some sameness among the remaining candidates. But this doesn't mean that the coaching staff will no longer pursue Blinn's Marion Grice or Arlington Bowie's Russell Hansbrough. In recruiting, you're never out of it until you're told you're out of it.

The Baylor offense has shown that it will reward running backs if they put in the time. In 2010, there were questions surrounding the Bears' running game. In his senior year, Jay Finley set the single-season school record with 1,218 yards. He rushed for 1,442 yards in his previous three years combined.

Obviously, there is some risk here. But then recruiting is based on risk. The Bears wouldn't have extended the offer if they weren't sure. Plus, Chafin wants to demonstrate that he will be a solid recruit.

"My family is real important to me and Baylor isn't far away,'' he said. "My goal is to be an all-state running back. I just want to get my name out there.''

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