DT Billings stays home in Baylor signing class
WACO, Texas (AP) - When defensive tackle Andrew Billings decided to stay home and play for Baylor, it was more than just exciting for coach Art Briles and his staff.
"That's quite an understatement. ... It was pandemonium, and it was a lot of fun,'' Briles said of the reaction when they found out that Billings, the four-star recruit from Waco High School, was signing with the Bears. "You put in a lot of long hours, and there is a certain amount of stress. It certainly was a relief when Andrew decided to come here.''
Billings made it official Wednesday when he was one of 23 players who signed national letters of intent with Baylor. That came a day after Billings made a verbal commitment to the Bears.
The 6-foot, 305-pound Billings was considered one of the top 12 defensive tackles nationally after playing both offensive and defensive line in high school.
"When you think D-lineman, when you think great person, great leader, passionate player, strongest guy in the state of Texas, maybe in the United States of America, you think Andrew Billings,'' Briles said. "I mean, you talk Robert Griffin III, you talk Ahmad Dixon, you talk Andrew Billings. These are big-name, big-time, stud players from central Texas, who are staying in central Texas, and making Baylor University a university that other high school students wish to be at.''
Some schools wanted to have the option for Billings to play either side, but the Bears committed to him as a defensive player like he wants to be.
Billings was among 15 defensive players in the 23-player class, and among four defensive linemen. There were two defensive ends in the group.
"We needed to be a little heavier defensively, because we lost some guys, and we're trying to make sure our numbers match out,'' Briles said. "So we were a little lighter on the offensive side of the ball than defensively, but that's the emphasis that we are making. We are doing everything we can to help both sides of the ball.''
The Bears got two other recruits rated four stars by Rivals.com, including linebacker Brian Nance, a Trinity High School product who was a 2012 signee before playing last fall at Hargrave Military Academy. Nance (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) has already enrolled at Baylor and is in the offseason program.
The other four-star signee was speedy receiver Robbie Rhodes, a 6-foot, 185-pounder from Southwest High in Fort Worth, Texas. He had 32 catches for 945 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior, and also ran 32 times for 296 yards and six TDs.
All but one of the Baylor signees are from Texas. Nance is among four who are already enrolled at Baylor. Another is Chris Johnson from Bryan, Texas, the only quarterback in the signing class.
For Briles' high-powered offense, still productive last season after Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III went to the NFL, the recruiting class included two receivers in addition to Rhodes, two linemen, a running back and a tight end.
Receiver Quan Jones (6-4, 200) had 50 catches for 934 yards and 12 touchdowns for East High in Wylie, Texas last season. Kiante' Griffin (6-0, 200) was a two-way standout at Hebron High in Carrollton, Texas.
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