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December 13, 2012

Baylor Blitz: The race to Feb. 6 heats up

Blanchard re-thinking January visits
The more he's thought about it, the more West Orange-Stark linebacker Travon Blanchard is leaning toward not taking any visits in January.

There was talk that he might go to TCU, Kansas State and Texas Tech next month.
There's other interest. Oregon came by during the week and asked for some film on him.

Blanchard committed to Baylor on Feb. 16 and is considered one of the ring leaders of the 2013 class. But a recruiting class is like a team too.

"I probably won't do the visits,'' he said "I got texted by a couple of other recruits who told me not to go and that we needed to stick together. I don't know where the Tech stuff came from. I was offered recently, but I really haven't heard from them.''

Thursday night, Blanchard had an in-home visit from head coach Art Briles and defensive backs coach Carlton Buckels. To call it a good visit would be an understatement.

"They first came to watch me at basketball practice at school, and coach Art asked me if I could dunk,'' Blanchard said. "I told him yes, but he said everybody says that until they ball in their hands. So I had to do it.''

Following practice, the trio headed back to Blanchard's house. All Briles and Buckels asked was for him to gain a little weight before he arrives at Baylor in June.

Again, the plan is for Blanchard to play in the nickel back position, occupied by Ahmad Dixon. But there will be situations where he will slide into pass coverage.

"Right now, Baylor is on the rise,'' Blanchard said. "The last two recruiting classes we've had are a big upgrade. We have a great class coming in.
"I think we can contend for the Big 12 championship in at least two of my five years there. That's realistic. If the defense can play at 50 percent of what the offense plays, we're going to be dangerous. I told someone that they better get used to the bowl games.''


The Billings dilemma
So what now with Waco High lineman Andrew Billings?

Billings was expected to announce his choice between Baylor, Texas and TCU this week. But he decided early in the week to put off his decision.

Now according to his coach at Waco High, Marty Herbst, Billings might not make up his mind until after the new year.

"I'm almost positive it's going to be mid-January," Herbst said.

Billings took an official visit last weekend to Texas, but went without his father, Anthony, who had the flu (he's feeling better now). It was Billings' first official trip.

"When he went to Texas his dad wasn't with him," Herbst said. "His dad was sick. He wants to be a part of that too."

The delay could work to Baylor's advantage. Billings may have left Austin with the Longhorns at a slight advantage. The Bears seemed to have an upper hand because they were recruiting Billings to play defense - his preference - while Texas wanted him the 6-1, 305-pound linemen to play center.

But Texas coaches told Billings he'll get a chance to play defense, Herbst said.

"He is open to both sides of the ball he prefers to play defense," Herbst said. "At Texas they did tell him he can play defense. They are going to allow him to play defense unlike pre-visit."

Baylor coaches still have time to make up ground. Billings will likely make it to a few of the Bears' bowl practices. He is expected to make an official visit to Baylor Jan. 11-12.

- Todd Wills


Nance getting closer
Brian Nance is scheduled to leave Hargrave Military Academy next Friday, Dec. 21, and return to Texas and make final preparations before coming to Waco.

There is just one little hiccup. Although he has his qualifying score in the SAT, he said he's trying to work with dean at the school regarding the arrangements of taking his final in his math class.

Nance, the former Euless Trinity standout who committed to Baylor on Jan. 7, said he hopes to get the situation resolved before he leaves. He said the players leave campus for Christmas break before returning to Chatham, VA., to take their finals. Nance's issue is that the timeframe to take it could interfere with him getting to Baylor in January. Baylor' spring semester begins Jan. 14.

Of course, Hagrave has come across this situation numerous times. Nance was working on improving a math grade from his junior year. That's the credit where he was short at Trinity. Nance will be re-signing with Baylor. He said he received his paperwork within the last week. Signing day is Wednesday.

"I'm done with classes, but I'm hoping everything will work out so I don't have to come back,'' Nance said. "I would be late getting into Baylor. But I really feel good about what I did academically. I worked hard to keep up my grades.''


About Kenny Hill
Southlake Carroll's season ended last Saturday with a heartbreaking 49-45 loss to DeSoto in the Region I final
.
But well before this game, rumors have persisted about quarterback Kenny Hill and his commitment to Texas A&M. The No. 136 player in the Rivals 250 remains committed to the Aggies at this point.

However, the talk has surfaced about several schools still in the mix including Baylor, Texas Tech and Kansas State. When asked about the rumors of all three schools and if any were in play, Hill said, "I'm not sure. I really don't know right now.''

A dual threat quarterback, Hill accumulated 60 rushing and passing touchdowns and 4,792 running and passing yards.

We'll keep an eye on this.


Future watch
Baylor fans can get a glimpse of the future Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Floyd Casey Stadium when No. 1 Katy takes on Cibolo Steele in the Class 5A Division II state semifinals.

Katy features Baylor commit and defensive back/wide receiver Kyle Fulks will have a chance to step on his future home field (of course, he'll have a new one in 2014). Fulks' playing time has been limited all season because the Tigers have been involved in so many blowouts including the playoffs.

Last week in the regional final against Cy Ranch that Katy won, 70-21 (see what I mean?), Fulks only played three series and has been bothered by an Achilles heel injury. It's not considered too serious. But the opportunity to play at FCS brings signing day a little closer to home.

"It's going to be a fun and exciting atmosphere,'' Fulks said. "I can't wait.''


On the road
Here is where some of the Baylor coaches were earlier this week and Thursday:
*Speaking of Fulks, Texas coaches stopped by Katy high school on Thursday to look at him. But as fate would have it, Art Briles was at Katy as well. Fulks said he had a good talk with Briles.

*Wide receivers coach Kendal Briles made two stops Thursday. He visited with Wylie East wide receiver Vequan Jones and Fort Worth Southwest wide receiver and Rivals No. 53 prospect Robbie Rhodes. We understand both visits went very well.

*San Antonio East Central defensive back Austin Jupe visited with Baylor defensive line coach Chris Achuff.

*Frisco Centennial defensive end K.J. Smith met with linebackers coach Jim Gush Tuesday.


Emptying out the notebook

*Hutchinson C.C. offensive lineman Devonte Danzey finishes his on campus vist at Baylor today (Friday) and is scheduled to go to Auburn this weekend. A decision should follow shortly after that.

*Cy Woods defensive back Alfred Pullom on his recent official visit to Baylor: "It was amazing! They really had everything planned out well, and they took great care of us.''

*Baylor will host Louisiana-Monroe for Parents' Weekend on Sept. 21, 2013 and welcome Iowa State for its 82nd Homecoming game on Oct. 19, 2013.

*The two big January recruiting weekends likely we be Jan. 18 and Jan. 25.




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