We've been speculating for the past several months about which, if any, of Baylor's players would seek greener pastures. A few names have been bandied about as possible casualties of the roster crunch, but we had no certainties ... at least not until today. According to his twitter account (language warning!), Baylor NB Kiante' Griffin, a freshman this past season, has decided to transfer out. He's the first to announce such officially, but I doubt he'll be the last.
From the perspective of the fan, transfers are always a bittersweet situation. You have on the one hand a guy Baylor fans have rooted for since he first committed and always hoped to see. On the other, a scholarship situation always in need of massage. The whole thing often results from contravening interests where the player probably wants to play and may not get a chance and the school wants to keep him for depth and to realize the upside of their investment. The awkwardness/sadness of it is exacerbated in this situation by the fact that Griffin worked so hard to get here after not initially qualifying, played last season mostly on special teams, and then looked so good early in camp, reportedly. It's not a stretch to say that we had high hopes for his future at Baylor, just as I'm sure he did.
Then something happened, apparently, and Griffin didn't make the Post-Spring Depth Charts linked at right at all. Passed up by senior Collin Brence and sophomore Patrick Levels, Griffin seemed the odd man out at the NB position. Couple that with an apparent desire to play offense again, and you get the perfect storm of transfer preferences. It will be interesting to see if this news gives a younger guy like Travon Blanchard, now at NB, an opportunity he might not otherwise have had. It certainly doesn't do anything to dispel my worries about the NB position as a whole.
I've updated the chart portion of the scholarship post also linked at right. Griffin's departure gives us, by my count, 85 scholarships, the most we can have, at this exact moment. That doesn't mean we're entirely in the clear, though, since we might still have a player or two join the ranks of the 2014 class like Stefan Beard, a reported grayshirt candidate, or T'Kevian Rockwell, who is still working on his test scores. It's also unlikely that Griffin will be the only younger player that decides in the coming days or weeks to go somewhere else.
Best of luck to Kiante' in his future endeavors, obviously. Once a Bear, always a Bear. In case you didn't click the link to his twitter account above, he mentioned SFA as a possible destination. He'd be able to play right away for the Lumberjacks.