In today’s college football recruiting, the earlier a recruit is noticed and evaluated, the better off he is.
Carroll senior offensive guard Henry Klinge had none of that going for him. A broken leg during the 2015 spring football season wiped out his opportunity to perform for visiting coaches, much less go through the summer camp season.
That’s why he fell behind and didn’t get the exposure someone who stands 6-5 and weighs 295 pounds would typically receive. Klinge missed the first four weeks of the regular season.
I’ve been worried about having an opportunity to play somewhere, and the fact I didn’t have a junior day film was disappointing. But I know the Baylor coaches saw some things and were pretty impressed. They felt like I was under-recruited and that they liked the style of my play.
- Carroll lineman Henry Klinge
Yet Klinge’s hopes of playing at the highest level of collegiate football came as a result of Baylor’s head coaching transition. New head coach Matt Rhule and his quickly assembled staff needed players. They turned to Carroll. Former Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire, now Baylor’s tight ends and special teams coach, called Carroll head coach Hal Wasson.
They discussed Klinge and Baylor offered on Dec. 16. Klinge committed to the Bears over last weekend’s official visit. He is the third Division I commit for the Dragons. Safety Robert Barnes is committed to Oklahoma and fellow offensive lineman Carson Green is committed to Texas A&M. All three will sign their letters of intent on Feb. 1.
“We really didn’t have to say a lot [to the Baylor staff],” Wasson said. “Henry had a great senior season. He also had the measurables you look for in an offensive lineman.”
Klinge played a full season in 2016 and was part of an offensive line that helped the Dragons average nearly 250 rushing yards per game and produce a 1,000-yard rusher in Audricke Gaines. A significant part of the Dragons’ zone and base running attacks went through the “A” gaps, the center and the guards. Klinge wasn’t asked to pull as much.
He should fit into Baylor’s new offensive approach that will look like Oregon under co-offensive coordinator Matt Lubick. Lubick came to Baylor after leaving Oregon.
“I’ve been worried about having an opportunity to play somewhere, and the fact I didn’t have a junior day film was disappointing,” Klinge said. “But I know the Baylor coaches saw some things and were pretty impressed. They felt like I was under-recruited and that they liked the style of my play.”
Of course, the awkward part of recruiting is that no school wants to be the first to offer a recruit because they don’t want to be wrong on an evaluation. Technically, Baylor wasn’t the first; Bowling Green was. But the Bears’ offer triggered more attention. Weeks later, Houston followed, and Virginia offered as well.
This moment has been surreal for Klinge. But beyond his size and footwork, Baylor will be getting someone who is pretty good with his hands, quickness and ability to move laterally. He’s on Carroll’s wrestling team. Klinge missed a tournament over the weekend but will return to action this weekend.
“When I talked with [Baylor offensive line coach George DeLeone], he just said that he felt what I do emulates what they look for in their linemen,” Klinge said. “It’s a pretty awesome opportunity I have in front of me.”