Amidst a flurry of rumors this afternoon, Baylor has confirmed that QB Seth Russell will undergo season-ending neck surgery. Rumors circulated early this afternoon suggesting Russell would miss anywhere from 4 games to the rest of the season. Baylor put an end to all speculation by confirming the news:
QB Seth Russell to undergo season-ending surgery. https://t.co/f2a9aLXeES— Baylor Football (@BUFootball) October 26, 2015
According to the article on baylorbears.com, Russell visited a specialist this morning that recommended surgery as the best course of action. The recovery time for the surgery that the specialist recommended is six months.
Noticeably absent from this release is an actual diagnosis. Instead of specifying exactly what happened, the article merely states, "Russell was injured in the fourth quarter of Baylor’s win over Iowa State Oct. 24, and suffered damage to the cervical vertebra."
This is absolutely devastating news for Russell, who was having an undisputedly amazing season in his first season as the starting quarterback for the Bears. This from the article on the official site:
Individually, Russell leads the FBS in passing efficiency (189.7), passing TDs (29), passing yards per completion (17.68), points responsible for per game (30.0) and passing yards per attempt (10.52). The junior is 15th in passing yards per game (300.6) and his total offensive output of 358.0 yards per game is seventh-best nationally.
Russell has also helped Baylor rise to a program-best ranking of No. 2 in both the AP Top 25 and the Amway Coaches Poll. With Russell at the helm, the Bears are 7-0 for the third time in program history (1980, 2013) and 4-0 in Big 12 conference play for the second-time ever (2013).
For his performance in a win over West Virginia (540 yards of total offense and 6 TDs), Russell was recognized as the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, the Athlon Offensive Player of the Week, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose National Player of the Week.
The Bears will now turn to true freshman Jarrett Stidham to take over at QB, and former QB-turned-WR Chris Johnson will return to the quarterback position to back up Stidham. Stidham has played in every single game this season, and has 10 days to get comfortable with the first-team offense. Briles has already repeatedly expressed confidence that Stidham can take the reigns. In the coaches' conference call today, Briles said the following:
Briles on Stidham: "He doesn't seem like a freshman, act like a freshman or perform like a freshman."— Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) October 26, 2015
Stidham is the highest-rated QB recruit ever for Baylor in the Briles era, and he gets his chance next Thursday night against Kansas State in Manhattan.