Jarrett Stidham, who started three games as a true freshman last season for Baylor, is leaving Waco. Stidham announced the decision early Wednesday evening on Twitter.
July 7, 2016
Stidham had previously indicated a desire to stay with the Bears, one bright spot of football potential for the beleaguered program. That's not true anymore.
Early Wednesday, news broke that the former blue-chip recruit was exploring his transfer options for 2016.
Stidham is now the latest high-profile departure from a scandal-ridden program. The university fired head coach Art Briles in the wake of a damning report that profiled the program's many failures in handling allegations of assaults against women on campus. Former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe was brought in to help stabilize the team, and Stidham had indicated his desire to stay even before Grobe's hiring.
But Baylor's 2017 recruiting class disappeared nearly overnight. Many 2016 signees wanted out, as well, and several flipped their commitments to Baylor's rivals. Top 50 recruit Patrick Hudson left the program for Texas. Four-star standouts Devin Duvernay and JP Urquidez latched on with Texas, Parrish Cobb to Oklahoma, and Brandon Bowen to TCU.
Stidham was a four-star Texas high school standout when he enrolled at Baylor in 2015 and fell into second place on the team's depth chart behind emerging starter Seth Russell. His stock soared once a Russell injury pressed him into the starting lineup. Stidham passed for 419 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Bears to a 31-24 victory against Kansas State in his first college start.
A back injury hampered his effectiveness in a loss to Oklahoma. He returned to the field in a win against Oklahoma State, but suffered an ankle injury in the first half that wound up shutting him down for the final three games of the season.
In all, Stidham ended his first college season with 1,265 passing yards, a 68.8 completion percentage, and a 12:2 TD:INT ratio.
He was still likely looking up at Russell on the depth chart for the 2016 season. His departure means the Bears will have only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster -- Russell and true freshman Zach Smith.
There's no real indication of where Stidham will end up, but a year at junior college would give him the opportunity to keep his academics in order while sitting out a redshirt year. Texas Tech, to whom he was committed as a recruit before flipping to the Bears, could be a possible destination for the Stephenville, Texas native -- and Texas Tech fans are pretty okay with that idea.