January 25, 2009

Where do they fit in?

Baylor made huge strides in upgrading their talent during the off-season, but nowhere more so than on the offensive side of the ball, and rightly so, considering Baylor has on their roster one of the most dynamic, young quarterbacks in the nation in Robert Griffin.

When a team gets their hands on a player like Griffin, a simple formula exists for how to succeed, with the first part of that equation being to provide him with the protection he needs in the pocket to make plays downfield.

So far this off-season, that's exactly what Baylor has done, collecting seven talented offensive linemen from around the country. Danny Watkins, the highly touted junior college prospect out of Butte, was brought in to fill the huge void left behind after the departure of Jason Smith at left tackle, Phillip Blake will likely do the same for Dan Gay on the right side, and Ivory Wade has a good shot at pushing for major playing time at one of the guard positions.

Giving a quarterback time in the pocket is all well and good, but it means nothing if he doesn't have players to actually make the plays downfield, bringing us to the second part of the equation: Weapons.

With all the talent brought in this off-season, fierce pre-season battles lie ahead for the 2009 Baylor class of skill positions players.

At the inside receiver position, four-star-prospect Glasco Martin and former Oklahoma commit Darius Jones will be battling for the inside slot opposite Baylor standout Kendall Wright.

Wright is actually a good comparison to Jones; both played quarterback in high school, both have the same build, and both are about as athletic as it gets. Jones decommitted from Oklahoma recently for the chance to play offense, something the Baylor coaches were more than happy to give him.

Martin will likely split his time between running back, his position in high school, and the inside slot. The Stony Point standout rushed for 1,613 yards his senior year, and finished with a respectable 480 yards and five touchdowns through the air during his junior and senior seasons, and would have finished with more had Stony Point not had Stephen Williams on their roster, the shifty sophomore spell back to Martin who ran a 4.30 at last year's National Underclassmen Combine.

Along with three-star-athlete Chance Casey, the three will have their hands full trying to beat out the explosive veteran, Mikail Baker, as well as redshirt freshman Lanear Sampson, whose size projects more to the inside, but ability to beat people deep actually fits the other niche in Briles' offense: the outside wide receiver.

As it stands right now, the only outside wide receiver who is a shoe-in to start is David Gettis, the 6-foot-4 senior with gobs of potential who has yet to fully transition his talent to the next level. Skyler Scott, the big, athletic wideout from Lancaster who has the speed needed to stretch the field and the natural knack to win jump balls, was told by the Baylor coaches he'll get the chance to start opposite Gettis. With the likely commitment of Josh Gordon, however, Gettis will join the list of Baylor veterans who will spend their spring training fending off the highly touted 2009 Baylor recruits.

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