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Baylor football making run on tight end talent

Baylor football making run on tight end talent


Red Oak High School’s Kelsey Johnson saw how new Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes utilized tight ends during his three seasons at BYU.

He couldn’t wait to get on board.

Johnson committed to Baylor on Sunday and was joined by tight end Cody Mladenka from The Woodlands College Park High School on Monday. With their recent run on tight ends, the Bears now have five commitments in the 2022 class.

“I watched what they did with Isaac Rex at tight end in the (BYU) passing game, and it was impressive to me,” Johnson said. “In the blocking schemes, they’ll have you get down and block defensive linemen, but they’ll also put you in the slot and at H-back to block safeties and linebackers, and I feel like I’ll excel at that.”

In addition to his offensive coordinator duties, Grimes also serves as Baylor’s tight ends coach. In 2020, Rex made 37 catches for 429 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns for BYU.

Johnson, a 6-3, 230-pound three-star recruit, has been interested in Baylor since visiting campus two years ago. He chose Baylor over offers from 14 schools, including Tennessee, Arizona and Kansas.

But football is only part of the picture for Johnson. The university’s academics and support system are also important to him.

“When I visited my freshman year, both me and my dad were impressed with the campus and university as a whole,” Johnson said. “Baylor is a family school with people who will be there to help you. I just felt a certain vibe from the people there.”

Johnson has played on the Red Oak varsity since his freshman year. During the past two seasons, he’s made 45 catches for 831 yards and 14 touchdowns.

As a senior in 2021, Johnson could also see some action at defensive end.

“I haven’t been playing on both sides of the ball, but this year they might line me up at defensive end,” Johnson said. “I’ll be in a speed package and go get the quarterback.”

Mladenka is a 6-5, 235-pound three-star recruit who made 16 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns in 2020. He said Baylor has recruited him since December, and is happy he made his decision to commit early.

“Honestly, I can’t think of anything I don’t like about Baylor,” Mladenka said. “I like the high academics, the high athletics and the religious aspect of it. Coach Grimes seems like a great guy, and I like that he’s both offensive coordinator and tight ends coach.”

Mladenka will be on College Park’s varsity for the third year in 2021, and is a key part of the Cavaliers’ running and passing game.

“We have more of a run-heavy offense and they put me in the slot once in a while,” Mladenka said. “I block a lot for sure, and I enjoy it.”

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