Parrish Cobb placed the cherry on Baylor’s recruiting 2016 class on National Signing Day last Wednesday. After making a late switch from Oklahoma, Parrish and 21 more signees placed the Bears in the top 20 of all four major recruiting sites. Rivals, Scout, and 24/7 ranked Baylor 17th, while ESPN slotted the Bears at No. 19.
“The Baylor brand is hot,” head coach Art Briles said. “We have won more conference games than anybody in the Big 12 over the last three years and won more Big 12 Championships in the last three years; all that equates into being able to the sign the highest ranked class in the history of the university.”
Cobb opted to remain close to home rather than play north of the Red River. The top-ranked performer in Central Texas played at Waco La Vega, the Class 4A Division I state champion, a mere five minutes from McLane Stadium.
“It came all the way down to the wire,” he told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “I was committed to OU for a long time, but Baylor felt most like home.”
The newest Bears hail primarily from the Lone Star State. Baylor collected 22 letters of intent, 19 freshmen and three junior college transfers. Every freshman and one juco played high school football in Texas.
Baylor leaned slightly more to defense than offense in its 2016 class. Briles and his staff recruited nine offensive (three linemen, four receivers, one running back, one quarterback) and 12 defensive (five linemen, one linebacker, six backs) players. Donovan Duvernay, twin brother of signee Devin Duvernay, will position at either wide receiver or defensive back.
“They all chose Baylor because of their belief in our University, in our coaching staff, and in our direction as a football program,” Briles said.
Baylor’s reputation as “Wide Receiver U” helped secure the services of Sachse All-American Devin Duvernay, Navasota’s Tren’Davian Dickson, Mesquite Horn’s Jared Atkinson, and Daingerfield’s Denzel Mims. Duvernay won the Class 6A 100-meter at the 2015 state track meet, and Dickson holds the Texas high school record with 76 career touchdown receptions.
“Our four receivers that we signed this year – that’s the top receiving class in America,” Briles said.
Offensively, the Bears also inked Grandview quarterback Zach Smith, Port Arthur Memorial running back Kameron Martin, and linemen Patrick Hudson from Silsbee and J. P. Urquidez from Copperas Cove. Texas made a late push for Hudson, last year’s state runner-up in powerlifting, but the big man held true to his original commitment.
“Pat is the highest ranked lineman in the state of Texas,” Briles said. “The thing that really intrigued us about him besides his passion, his personality, and his mentality, is his overall physical strength.”
On the defensive side, Baylor brought in Plano Prestonwood Christian linebacker Deonte Williams, linemen Brandon Bowen of Trophy Club Byron Nelson, Michael Johnson of Fort Bend Hightower, Bravvion Roy of Spring, and DeQuinton Osborne of South Grand Prairie. Osborne originally signed with Missouri in 2013 where he redshirted one season before transferring to Kilgore College.
In addition to Cobb, the Bears acquired the service of defensive backs Grayland Arnold from Kountze, Kenan Ivy of Lancaster, Chris Miller of Frisco Lone Star, Rajah Preciado of College Station, and Raleigh Texada of Frisco Centennial.
“I’m just humbled by the loyalty and trust of our student athletes that signed letter of intent with us today because they all had numerous choices,” Briles said.