October 26, 2012

Baylor Blitz: Recruiting

Waco in Romar's travel plans
The Baylor coaches are focused on finding defensive line help with the 2013 class, and Matthew Romar would fit nicely into their plans -- be it at end or tackle. The Port Arthur Memorial prospect believes he could play both at the next level.

"I'm very active and a physical guy," he said. "That's a hard question about what I want to play more. I really don't know what right now. I could play either, but I play defensive tackle right now."

Romar had 45 tackles as a junior last year for a program that came one game short of playing for a state title. And in a show of athleticism, Romar also had six touchdowns -- one on an interception return, and five more on just seven carries playing in a short-yardage role at running back. He's added five more rushing touchdowns this season.

Two of his teammates from that squad, Terrance Singleton and Tre'Von Armstead, are current freshmen at Baylor. Both are in Romar's ear about picking Baylor.

"Terrance, I talk to him daily," he said. "With Tre'Von, I talk to him every other week. They say that it's a nice school to come to. They're trying to recruit me."

At some point before signing day, both Singleton and Armstead can expect to hang out in person with Romar. He says Baylor, along with Arkansas, Missouri, Texas Tech and possibly Utah, are the schools he wants to visit before making a decision.

"It's just how I will fit in the defense and what my role will be on the team -- how much playing time I get and how I like the atmosphere," Romar said of some of the factors in his decision. "It's also how my mom and brother will feel about the school. It's not really just my choice, it's theirs too. I don't want to leave them out."

Romar gives a lot of credit to his older brother for his development. After his sophomore year, Romar's brother -- who was "a great player, but undersized," Romar said -- would stay up with him into the early hours of the morning working on his strength and conditioning.

"I finally got a chance my junior year," Romar said, "and all the work paid off."
-- Jake Shaw

New Bears impress
Baylor can score. The Bears reminded their fans -- including a nice student turnout -- of that with a 103-75 exhibition win over Abilene Christian at the Ferrell Center.

picked up where left off in the NCAA Tournament, making 6 of 8 3-pointers.
The Bears went with a three-guard starting lineup featuring Heslip, Pierre Jackson and A.J. Walton.

Baylor had 25 assists as the coaches felt like the team shared the ball well in their first outing together. The coaches felt like the Bears rebound and defend better, but that's a given at this time of year.

Freshman center Isaiah Austin started and had a nice debut with 13 points and four rebounds. Rico Gathers almost has a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. L.J. Rose played well too.

Walton will stay in the starting lineup as long as defends and moves the ball.

All in all a solid first night.
-- Todd Wills


Basketball Recruiting Update
As the Nov. 13 early signing period approaches for basketball, the Bears hope for one or two more commitments.

They are in solid for Dominic Woodson, who is down to Baylor and NC State. A Rivals report from Eric Bossi seemed to read that Woodson leans to NC State, but Baylor is very much in this. It could come down to how much away the player has with his AAU coach.

South Plains JUCO star Yanick Moreira is down to Baylor and SMU. The question is will Moreira decide during the early signing period? I would say Baylor has the edge.

Finally there's Stevie Clark, who just visited Oklahoma State to complete trips to UCLA, OSU and Baylor. Clark didn't pull the trigger on the Cowboys coming out of his visit, so this is a very close race.
-- Todd Wills

Checking in on Tony Brown
When you look at 2014 Beaumont Ozen's Tony Brown, it just screams playmaker.

That's why Baylor is one of 20 major Division I programs, which have offered the defensive back. Brown is likely headed toward play cover corner.

"I haven't kept up with my stats, but the thing that's helping me is that I'm three-year starter and I feel like my savvy for the game is there,'' Brown said. "The game is slowing down for me. My coaches moved me to outside linebacker this week because everybody has been running away from me.''

Brown said he anticipates receiving an offer from Oregon and has plans to go to Baton Rouge on Nov. 3 when LSU plays Alabama and then will be in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 10 when the Crimson Tide faces Texas A&M.

But he's very well aware of Baylor's interest. And Brown's father has kept a steady dialogue with Baylor assistant Carlton Buckels.

"I talked to them right around the beginning of the season, but my dad has talked to coach Buckels a lost,'' Brown said. "Wherever somebody wants me to play, I'll play because I want to make an impact.''
-- Kevin Lonnquist


Bryan coach talks Johnson
Sometimes, building a quarterback's psyche takes more than just reps. When Ross Rogers arrived at Bryan, he knew he had a talented but very raw quarterback in Chris Johnson. But he endured a difficult 2011 season in which he missed half the season with an injury and was in a run-oriented offense.

So bringing him along in this spread has taken a little more time than all parties would have liked. Before this weekend's game against The Woodlands, Johnson has completed only 47 touchdowns for 1,202 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions.

While Johnson hasn't hurt himself or his team with turnovers, there hasn't been that explosive game where he's thrown for 300 yards and four touchdowns.

"He's got the intelligence and the arm and touch,'' Rogers said. "The thing we're trying to do is just for him to go through his progressions more. He's played hard. And I know I would have liked to see him at about 2,000 yards right now. We just haven't had the total game.''

In Johnson's defense, Rogers' offensive line has been banged up and nothing hurts an offense more when the offensive line is struggling and he's been hurt by drops in critical situations. Plus, Johnson still may not be right after suffering a concussion four weeks ago. Yet it comes down to a quarterback trusting himself too.

"He's got to see things a little quicker, especially with throws downfield,'' Rogers said. "He's a player in the Big 12, no doubt,'' Rogers said. "When I was at [Killeen Harker Heights] I coached against Robert Griffin III and watch him as a junior and senior. I know Chris' ability is as good at Robert's at that point.

"Maybe not with the speed, but he just has to be sharp on the throws. When he becomes more comfortable with the anticipation and trusts himself that he can make those throws, it'll come together. I wish I had him for another year so we could develop him more.''

And as far as his character is concerned, Rogers validated it this way:
"I have grandkids, and I would have no worries about having Chris watch them.''
-- Kevin Lonnquist


Big 12 Weekend
A look at the upcoming weekend action involving the Big 12 along with their TV listings. All times are Central. All rankings are BCS.

No. 23 Texas (5-2, 2-2) at Kansas (1-6, 0-4)
11:00 a.m. Saturday, Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS. (FX)
What to Watch:
The Jayhawks are starting with freshman Michael Cummings at quarterback. But it's unknown if that will last. Running back James Sims has four consecutive 100-yard rushing games. That could help against the Longhorns who are last in the conference in rushing defense at 215 yards per game. The Longhorns continue to give more work to true freshman running back Johnathan Gray.

No. 14 Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1) at No. 3 Kansas State (7-0, 4-0)
2:30 p.m. Saturday, Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS. (FOX)
What to Watch:
The Red Raiders get to prove themselves in one of the marquee conference games of the year. Kansas State's pattern suggests a tight game. In the first four conference games, the Wildcats have gone from winning by one score to a blowout. They are coming off a blowout at West Virginia. Collin Klein has set a FBS record for QB rushing touchdowns in two seasons (41). The Raiders have the most first downs of any conference team with 199.

TCU (5-2, 2-2) at Oklahoma State (4-2, 3-1)
2:30 p.m. Saturday, Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK (FSN)
What to Watch:
The first of back-to-back roadtrips for the Horned Frogs. TCU has been very up-and-down with turnovers. It went from committing five against Iowa State to none at Baylor to three last week against Texas Tech. The Cowboys are hopeful freshman QB Wes Lunt (knee) will be ready to go. Redshirt freshman QB J.W. Walsh is out for the season with his own knee injury.

Baylor (3-3, 0-3) at Iowa State (4-3, 1-3)
6:00 p.m. Saturday, Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA. (FSN)
What to Watch:
A big game for each team if it hopes to attain bowl eligibility. The Bears are the nation's worst defensive team surrendering 553.2 yards per game. Can Iowa State take advantage? The Cyclones have the Big 12's worst offense at 342.6. Baylor won last year's game, 49-26, in Waco.

No. 5 Notre Dame (7-0) at No. 8 Oklahoma (5-1)
7:00 p.m. Saturday, Owen Field, Norman, OK. (ABC)
What to Watch:
Oklahoma has dominated a lot of teams in its history. The Irish aren't one of them. Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 8-1. QB Everett Golson, who missed last week's game against BYU with a concussion, has been cleared for this week. The Sooners are second in the Big 12 in total defense at 301.7 and that might play into their favor as Notre Dame's offense has struggled to score points.
--Kevin Lonnquist


Big 12 Power Rankings
Each week, SiceEmSports.com unveils its weekly power rankings. Agree or disagree, these make for great water cooler talk.

1.Kansas State -- QB Collin Klein now a serious Heisman Trophy contender.
2. Oklahoma -- Already with one loss, Sooners need a win against Notre Dame to stay in the BCS race.
3. Texas Tech -- QB Seth Doege's 28 TD passes are the most of any college football signal caller.
4. West Virginia -- The bye week could not come at a better time as the Mountaineers have allowed 104 points in the last two games.
5. TCU -- Place-kicker Jacob Oberkram's 6 FGs against Texas Tech are school and conference records.
6. Oklahoma State -- Quarterback issues persist with the loss of J.W. Walsh.
7. Texas - DE Alex Okafor tied for the conference lead in sacks with 7.5.
8. Iowa State -- History repeating itself as the offense struggles while the defense tries to hang on.
9. Baylor -- May be one of the worst defensive units in the history of college football.
10. Kansas - Jayhawks are last in the Big 12 in red zone offense (68.2 percent).
--Kevin Lonnquist


Emptying the Notebook
*Houston Lamar 2014 defensive back John Bonney continues the dialogue with Baylor assistant Carlton Buckels and said he plans on coming to Waco for the Nov. 3 game against Kansas or Nov. 17 against Kansas State. "I'm looking forward to it,'' Bonney said. While he holds offers from Baylor, SMU and Houston, Bonney said he's drawing interest from Oklahoma, LSU, TCU and Texas A&M.
-- Kevin Lonnquist

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