Football inks 15 in early signing period

Baylor head coach Matt Rhule addresses the media prior to the Bears' season opener against Liberty. Rhule has already 22 commitments to the 2018 class, which ranks 17th according to ESPN. Lariat File

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

Baylor football has landed 22 commitments so far for its 2018 recruiting class. Of these, 15 players have already signed national letters of intent to play for the Bears, thanks to the NCAA’s new early signing period, which ran from Dec. 20-22.

Baylor has the 17th ranked class, according to ESPN, while Rivals puts the Bears at No. 27 and 247sports has Matt Rhule’s second recruiting class at No. 25.

Rhule said this class means a lot to him because they stayed committed despite a 1-11 2017 season.

“They will always be a special class to us in that so many of them committed before the season,” Rhule said. “And to go through the year, to not have any de-commit, to have them stay with us, is truly something special … In the end, these guys are going to do something special. They’re going to be a part of this remarkable turnaround.”

Three-star wide receiver Jackson Gleeson is one of the recruits to sign during the early signing period and said he made his decision early on, there was no point in waiting until the regular signing period in February.

“I’m very excited because it’s been a long process,” Gleeson told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “I would have chosen Baylor whether it would have been this date or February, but it’s nice to get it done now and not have to think about it. I’m happy as I can be to pick Baylor. Now I can get ready to come in during the summer and work out with the team.”

Three-star defensive back JT Woods is one of a few early signees who is enrolling for the spring semester. Woods said there are a few benefits to getting to Waco a semester early.

“Definitely some of the reasons to leave high school early are to get on the field a lot more, learn the playbook and get acclimated to college life,” Woods told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “A lot of it is academic because I get an extra semester. I think the December signing date gives guys a lot of opportunity to officially lock into the school they wanted.”

Baylor’s recruiting class consists of four four-star players, 17 three-star players and one two-star player, according to 247sports.

The top recruit of the class is four-star quarterback Gerry Bohanon of Earle, Ark., who has yet to sign a letter of intent but has verbally committed to play for the Bears.

Many of the commits made their decision before the 2017 season, so they closely followed the Bears during Rhule’s first season.

Woods said he sees potential in the Baylor program, despite a 1-11 season.

“You could see in November that the players were starting to understand the process,” Woods told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “I know it’s there and they have potential. It will be very exciting to be a part of what turns Baylor around.”

Rhule and his staff are bringing in three four-star wide receivers after injuries to wide receivers derailed Baylor’s offense during the 2017 season. BJ Hanspard, Joshua Fleeks and Tyquan Thornton will bolster the depth at the wide receiver position.

The Bears look to lock up the rest of their recruits on Feb. 7. Baylor opens its 2018 season against Abilene Christian on Sept. 1.