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TAKING IT ON THE ROAD: Briles Making Stops in SA, Houston, Dallas, Marshall

May 30, 2013

By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Insider

With college recruiting, the theory is to "go where the talent is."

Sixth-year Baylor head football coach Art Briles takes it a step farther, taking his camp on the road to stops this year in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Marshall, Texas.

"Honestly, I started doing that in 2003 at the University of Houston," Briles said, "because it was hard for people to get to Houston. So instead of getting to Houston, we brought Houston to the kids."

Now, he's bringing Waco and Baylor "to the kids."

Starting with Friday evening's camp at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio (5-8 p.m.), Briles and his staff will make the rounds with scheduled stops at Cy Falls High School in Houston on Saturday, Lake Highlands High School in Dallas the following Friday, June 7, and then Marshall in East Texas on Saturday, June 8.

"It's our lifeline. That's what we do," Briles said. "If kids can't make it to Waco or Baylor, then we try to make it to them. That's why we hit specific areas - the (Dallas-Fort Worth) metroplex; the Houston area; we've been to San Antonio a couple times; and then out to East Texas every year. . . . We try to get it out of a 2, 2 ½-hour range, to where if kids can't make it, at least we have contact with them, and then maybe we can get them to campus later on."

And Briles isn't exaggerating when he says the camps are the "lifeline" of the football program. Other than a handful of out-of-state players, he estimates that "90 percent of the kids we sign go to one of our camps, either here or on the road."

Baylor will also do a series of three-hour camp sessions in Waco, beginning with an O-Line/D-Line "In the Trenches" Camp from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Allison Indoor Practice Facility. There is also a Skill Position Mini-Camp from 3-6 p.m., with other Waco dates on June 9 and July 19.

Each three-hour session is $35 and is limited to about 120-180 student-athletes.

"We're not trying to financially get a gain out of it," Briles said. "What we're trying to do is see prospective student-athletes."

With that in mind, the camps are "skills-, technique-based," Briles said.

"We're not doing the standardized testing like height, weight, 40 (time), vertical," he said. "We're doing football skills and drills."

Of course, the Bears' success on the field has helped grow the numbers at the camps in Waco and satellite camps around the state. Baylor's offense has ranked among the best nationally in each of the last three years, and the Bears are coming off their third straight bowl game and second consecutive bowl victory.

Still more than eight months away from the February 2014 signing date, Briles already has right at a dozen players committed to Baylor.

"It's just the nature of the business," he said. "You always have to be a year ahead in recruiting, and now it's gotten to where you almost have to be two years ahead. So, it's encouraging that so many student-athletes have that much belief in Baylor football right now."

Now, Briles' recruiting efforts are getting another bump with the construction of the new on-campus, riverfront Baylor Stadium that's expected to be finished by August 2014.

"Production on the field (helps recruiting), and then the proactiveness of our facilities, without question," he said.

Assisted by the Rocky Willingham Kicking Service and KICKNATION, Baylor will also have specific kicking and special team camps on June 11 and July 18 that cost $125 per session.

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