May 18, 2013

Baylor lands its tackle

For any future player committing to Baylor, Waxahachie offensive lineman Patrick Lawrence offers the best way to celebrate.

"We went to George's and ate chicken fried steak and crazy wings,'' he said.

If that doesn't say Waco, then nothing does. The restaurant is a Waco favorite and has been for years. Oh, and it has entertained its share from the Baylor community.

As expected, Lawrence's Saturday visit to Baylor with his parents resulted in him becoming the eighth member of the 2014 class. Verbal commitments are non-binding. The first day a recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 5, 2014.

"We kind of knew what we were going to do before we went down there,'' he said. "I was so blown away from the facilities through the first two visits. This one was to look more at the campus and dorms. I love the dorms. The school is amazing. It's the best fit for me.''

Baylor made its charge over the last two months and appeared to overtake Texas Tech and Oregon State once Lawrence came down for the April 6 controlled scrimmage. But then that probably was expected because the Bears offered that day. He held 10 offers including Michigan State and Arizona State.

Lawrence becomes the third offensive lineman for this class and the first tackle. The Bears are looking to take four linemen in this class. While the likes of Devonte Jones and Josh Pelzel are big, they are viewed as guards.

What Lawrence (6-6, 255) provides is length. He has an 80-inch reach. The early thinking is as a left tackle.

"The reach is something they're high on,'' Lawrence said. "I think they can take my weight and grow me in their system to fit what they want to do so I can play tackles. They want people on the edge who are built like me.''

The commitment timeframe is a little earlier than Lawrence expected. Originally, he thought he would wait into the summer before he decided. However, Baylor's persistence finally broke through.

"Really, when I committed I felt a lot of pressure off my shoulders,'' he said. "I felt relieved. I met a lot of great people along the way. I know Baylor can put players in the NFL. But you can't rely on that. With a Baylor degree, you can do a lot more than football. That's one of the reasons I chose it.''

Lawrence said he plans to attend Baylor's June 9 on its campus.

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