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Baylor Moves To Make Replacements On Signing Day

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A Baylor Bears football helmet shown on October 4, 2008 in Waco, Texas. (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

A Baylor Bears football helmet shown on October 4, 2008 in Waco, Texas. (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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WACO (AP) – The biggest name among Baylor’s departing seniors was on offense. The biggest numbers were on defense.

Bears coach Art Briles moved to fill those voids Wednesday by signing four offensive linemen and five defensive backs among 19 recruits that were the first class since Baylor ended a 15-year bowl drought and had a winning season.

Canadian firefighter Danny Watkins, an offensive tackle likely to be taken in the NFL draft, is gone. Four high school players from all over Texas are joining a group in charge of protecting standout quarterback Robert Griffin. Topping the list is Spencer Drango from Cedar Park near Austin, Baylor’s lone four-star recruit, according to the recruiting web site Rivals.com.

The Bears lose three of four defensive backs, and three junior college transfers are among the five newcomers. Another, Jay Johnson, is leaving Lago Vista High School early to join the Bears.

Even though three starters and six of the top eight defensive linemen are returning, the Bears signed five more, including a pair of early enrollees in Nick Johnson of Navarro College and Trevor Clemons-Valdez of Copperas Cove High School.

“This class was about filling needs,” Briles said. “We always start up front with o-line and d-line and this is without a doubt the strongest o-line, d-line class that’s been put together at Baylor in many years. Defensively, you just can’t get enough guys that can play up front on defense.”

Starting with Griffin, Baylor returns most of its skill players on offense. A notable exception is starting tailback Jay Finley, who set Baylor’s single-season rushing record with 1,218 yards last season. Houston-area running back Jermichael Selders is among Wednesday’s signees.

“We were a little younger offensively last year so we didn’t need to take as many on that side of the ball,” Briles said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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