By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer
The football recruitment process is nothing short of non-stop phone calls, visiting universities and finding the school that matches your ideals and future goals. As National Signing Day and the stress of finding the closest definition of home-away-from-home comes to an end, the Baylor football program’s excitement has just begun.
Head coach Matt Rhule said the Bears added some exciting players into the fold on Wednesday.
“[It’s] an exciting day for us, adding four more players to a class that we’re already extremely excited about,” Rhule said. “Nine of those young men showed up here in the winter and started the spring. We’re excited and we really believe in the overall vision. I think at the end of the day these are all young men who all came here for the right reason. They all want to be part of something special. They all want to be part of a university that stands for something and be a part of a football program on the rise.”
Notable names who committed on National Signing Day and will enter the 2019 Baylor football class include tight end Garmon Randolph, offensive lineman Elijah Ellis and wide receiver Yusuf Terry. Offensive lineman Paul Matavao-Poialli and kicker Noah Rauschenberg also put pen to paper on Wednesday.
With Randolph standing at 6-foot-7 and Ellis at 6-foot-6 with 37-inch arms, all recruits have three things in common — size, a strong mentality and an emphasis on growth and development into the new season, Rhule said.
“They’re a hungry group, and that’s what you want. You want to bring people in that aren’t along for the ride, that they’re here to declare their destiny. And I see that from those guys,” Rhule said. “I like the edge that [Terry will] bring … but I think the biggest thing is his best days are ahead of him. … He’ll get big, he’ll get strong, he’ll get fast, but he’ll always have that edge, that toughness that I think separates him from a lot of other guys. … We want to give [Ellis] some time. But I think he’s going to be a huge, huge man, and I really like his demeanor and his personality. … [With Rudolph] at his size as he develops and fills out, I’m excited about what he’s going to be able to do.”
According to the Dallas News, Rhule’s 2019 class, which also includes 20 signees from the early signing period, is ranked 35th nationally. Rhule said his number one goal is developing his team this year.
“My goal is to make sure that every player is developed by the time they’re a senior so that they have their best year their senior year and go off to play in the NFL,” he said. “Would I love maybe one more defensive end or one more wideout? Yeah, probably. But I just like going out trying to get the best available players and letting fate take its toll.”
Another point of interest going into the 2019 season is the growth already happening in the locker room, especially with players putting on weight and creating a stabilized roster. Rhule touched on what the next few weeks have in store in preparation for their first game on Aug. 31 against Stephen F. Austin at McLane stadium.
“The guys are working really, really hard. But there’s a lot of work ahead of us. I think we got to the point where the roster is somewhat stabilized,” Rhule said. “This senior class that’s coming up, this next year’s team will be dependent upon if our senior class is ready to take the reins and really lead, and if those guys that are true juniors are ready to now be upperclassmen. So we’ll work on that really hard the next four weeks, spring break and then after that.”