Caleb Benenoch will finally announce his college decision on Monday.
The 2013 offensive line prospect plans to announce his choice on Monday during 5th period (11:20 a.m.) in the Katy Seven Lakes fieldhouse. He does not have any college or in-home visits scheduled for this week or weekend. He is choosing between Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, and UCLA.
In least a decade or so of covering recruiting in Texas, Benenoch is one of the guys who ranks among those who enjoys the attention. Who doesn't say much. Who tweets like crazy. But also plays his cards close to his vest. I've had several phone and text conversations with him over the last several months and he hasn't once tripped up and let something slip. And he says he knows where he's going, so he truly is tight lipped.
He did tweet after Baylor's win over Oklahoma State Saturday that of the visits he's made, only one of his schools won their game that day, and it happened twice on his visits to watch the Bears. Maybe that's a good omen. I saw Caleb ont he field after the game -- didn't talk to him or acknowledge him per the rules -- but he was enjoying the win and the hugs from coaches (Randy Clements) and players.
There's no doubt Benenoch likes Baylor. His brother Josh is a walk-on for the Bears. Caleb close to the coaches and several of the players. He truly cares about his education, thus his decision coming down to Baylor, UCLA, Texas and Oklahoma).
I thought for many months that Waco High OL/DL Andrew Billings would pick Baylor and Benenoch would go with his childhood favorite Texas. And I still like Billings for the Bears.
But it appears now, as far as it goes with Benenoch, that Baylor and UCLA are neck-and-neck heading into the final weekend. Will proximity come into play? Will Caleb choose to stay in his home state? Or will the allure of SoCal come calling?
We've called upon Jason Howell, the Rivals.com Southwest/Midlands Football Recruiting Analyst and of course a familiar name on this site. Jason goes back with Benenoch further than any recruiting analyst out there. Here's his take:
"If I had to guess right now the signs are pointing towards a two team race between Baylor and UCLA. There has not been much buzz about Oklahoma for the past month or so, so I get the feeling the Sooners are at the back of the pack. Texas is the wildcard, but he is not taking an official visit to UT this weekend and to me that says something. I could be wrong though because he has taken a few unofficial visits and did grow up a fan of the Longhorns.
"He has been very open about growing up a Longhorn fan and has developed a strong relationship with coach Searels at Texas. But right now I say they are No. 3. Now Baylor and UCLA are pretty much neck and neck if you ask me. Benenoch says he knows where he will go, but he hasn't even said who his leaders are between the four much less name a top two so he is not giving any hints. Both Baylor and UCLA offer a lot and there is a lot of buzz behind both of these programs and Benenoch. It's honestly too close for me to call, gun to the head I get the feeling he may pull a shocker and head out west."
Waiting in the wings
Baylor coaches will definitely be monitoring this weekend's events as Lavon Hooks takes his final official visit to Miami (Fla.).
His decision will impact how the coaching staff addresses its defensive line needs. Of course, Andrew Billings is still out there. And Baylor will definitely wait for him regardless.
Should something change, one player the Bears are still maintaining some form of contact is Shreveport (La.) defensive tackle Christopher Robinson. A product of Woodlawn High School, Robinson first saw Baylor at the camp in July. He last spoke with defensive backs coach Carlton Buckels two weeks ago.
"He was checking up with me on my grades and said they continue to have interest in me,'' said Robinson, who took the SAT last week. "But Baylor made an impression on me. When I went there, it was the nicest campus I've ever been on. Everything was sharp. You don't find that with a lot of schools.''
Robinson added some weight to his frame and is now at 280. He said he could play at 300 in college. He recently added an offer from Southern Miss and said there have been talks with the Texas coaches about potentially taking a visit to Austin as early as next week. The Longhorns haven't offered him.
For the last three years, Robinson was a two-way starter on both sides of the line. But his college home will be on defense. He shifted from defensive end and played tackle out of the three and four technique. Defensive tackle numbers can suffer; however, he still collected four sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
"I take my conditioning real seriously,'' Robinson said. "It was a tough season, but I thought I had a good season. I'm ready to go. I'd jump at a chance to go to Baylor. But we'll see. I'm planning a visit to Southern Miss. I'm blessed.''
-- Kevin Lonnquist
Kicker closing in on a decision
Baylor has two advantages over other programs when it comes to the recruitment of Sherman K/WR . One, Baylor is in state, and Harvey wants to play college football in Texas. Two, and more importantly, Baylor has offered, the only program to extend an offer so far.
The only disadvantage? Harvey, who broke Sherman's receiving records for yardage, receptions and touchdowns during his career, would love to keep playing receiver at the next level.
"I've put a lot of work into the position," he said. "I'd love to play receiver also in college, but most big schools are wanting me for kicker only. I can deal with it, but I'd love to go as a receiver in college."
Still, that won't count Baylor out of it.
"They said they want me for kicking but they'd give me the opportunity to see me play at receiver," Harvey said. "I thought that was cool they'd give the opportunity."
Even though Memphis, New Mexico and Tulsa have expressed a lot more interest lately, the two schools giving Baylor the biggest competition are Texas Tech and Texas A&M. He's expecting to talk to coaches from both schools pretty soon. Once he knows what their plans for recruiting him are, he'll be ready to make the call.
"I'm just going to wait and see when A&M and Tech comes in and make my decision based off Baylor, Tech or A&M," he said.
I'll be in touch with Harvey, so stay tuned for more.
-- Jake Shaw
Big 12 Power Rankings
Each week, SicEmSports.com unveils its weekly power rankings. Agree or disagree, these make for great water cooler talk. We will have one more following the bowls.
1.Kansas State (11-1, 8-1) - A magical season culminates in a BCS berth
2. Oklahoma (10-2, 8-1) - The Sooners lived on the edge for the final three weeks
3. TCU (7-5, 4-5) - This team is very close to contending for the 2013 Big 12 title
4. Baylor (7-5, 4-5) - The Bears led the Big 12 in rushing offense (225.5)
5. Texas (8-4, 5-4) - Never has a program had done so little with so much talent
6. Oklahoma State (7-5, 5-4) - Cowboys only surrendered 10 sacks
7. West Virginia (7-5, 5-4) - Tavon Austin at RB became entertaining football
8. Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5) - Red Raiders lost four of their last five
9. Iowa State (6-6, 3-6) - In QB Sam B. Richardson we trust
10. Kansas (1-11, 0-9) - While they struggled, they have hope for 2013
Emptying the notebook
*Don't look for any official visits for the next two weekends. As has been the recent Baylor pattern, the coaching staff would prefer those be used in January. More than likely, there will be a weekend in January when most of the commits will be on campus as a bonding event.
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