Waco High School DT Andrew Billings has decided to stay put and attend Baylor next fall. TCU and Texas would have certainly benefited from the 12th overall DT, but not nearly as much as Baylor will. Why?
Well, although the Longhorns ranked 88th in rushing defense last season, they managed to rank 19th in sacks with 35 on the season. The last thing any QB in the Big 12 wants to see is yet another Longhorn DL who follows in the footsteps of guys like Brian Orakpo, Roy Miller, Sergio Kindle and Alex Okafor. Of course, touching up that rushing defense wouldn’t hurt either.
Billings could have been a large contributor to the success of both, especially with a DT position that has many questions going into spring practice and next season. It wouldn’t have been that shocking to find Billings in the mixture of names to replace DT Brandon Moore, who left for the NFL, but for now it appears the job is still Ashton Dorsey’s to lose.
The Horned Frogs, on the other hand, ranked 10th in rushing defense last season and although they’re tied at 47th for sacks, they were only six behind Texas with 29 in 2012. They are already a defensive threat and adding Billings would have only continued that trend. Texas really needed to get a guy like Billings to try and patch up all the holes on defense–it was a necessity.
That’s not to say TCU wanted Billings any less than Texas or Baylor, but they clearly have been better off than either of the two schools in competition for him. Obviously Billings would contribute to either of the two schools that are missing out on his talents, but why was this better for Baylor?
The Bears have been hurting on the defensive side of the ball more than either of their two conference rivals. Unlike Texas, where they gain in pass rush what they lack in rushing defense, Baylor is terrible at both. They ranked 76th in rushing defense and 96th in sacks last season.
In fact, when Baylor went to Austin last season, there was an understood notion that the last team to have the ball will probably win or have a “first team to 60 points” type of game and it was almost just that. Also, who could forget the Baylor-West Virginia game? It raised the question of whether it’s better to have a pass rush or a solid rushing defense as if Baylor and West Virginia fans had to settle for one or the other.
With Andrew Billings, Baylor will never have to settle for anything less than a disruptive pass rush and a dominant run stopping defense. It will be interesting to see what Baylor tries to add around him and how he will develop on a team that seems to always be playing keep up in a conference where defense is a rare commodity.