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Report: QB Jarrett Stidham Leaving Baylor, Will Not Play 2016 Season

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ESPN 1660's David Smoak is reporting that, barring a change of heart, last year's freshman sensation QB Jarrett Stidham will not play for Baylor this coming season.

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Over the past few months, Baylor has lost, either to transfer, release from LOI, or being kicked off the team, at least thirteen football players that we thought would be a part of the 2016/17 Bears.  That number includes eight 4* or better members of the 2016 recruiting class, two JUCO DTs that we were hoping would play right away and solidify the interior, one former QB-turned-WR-turned-TE, and now a 5* QB that started three games last season.

According to David Smoak on Twitter, Jarrett Stidham, Baylor's highest-rated QB signee ever, has decided to leave the school and enroll at MCC in Waco to retain eligibility.  The idea, apparently, is that Stidham can sit out this season as a redshirt year of sorts and then transfer wherever he wants in 2017 with three remaining years of eligibility remaining.  It's a tactic often mentioned with high-profile players, particularly those that don't want to sit out two years if they try to transfer in-conference, but only rarely used.

I should note that Smoak was careful to mention that this situation is "fluid," and that Interim Coach Jim Grobe is involved. Baylor is going to do everything in its power to keep Stidham in the fold, likely because they believe, as I do, that of all the departures mentioned above, all the recruits we've lost in 2016 and 2017, this would be the biggest hit of them all.  For 2016, Baylor has Seth Russell back from injury and supposedly ready to play right now, but what if he gets hurt?  And what about 2017, when Russell is graduated?  In both cases, now we'll have to turn to Zach Smith, a true freshman that, like Stidham, enrolled early to gain experience.  That's not exactly ideal.  Most of the losses we've experienced hurt Baylor down the line, when guys like Patrick Hudson or Parrish Cobb would be starters or big-time contributors.  A new coach, provided he could recruit well immediately, could weather those losses.  This hurts Baylor now and in the future, and it hurts us badly.  Nobody is more important than the QB.

As for where Stidham might end up, I'm going to hold off on speculating about a specific destination at this time.  There are rumors that Oregon might be involved, but if that were the case, he'd probably just transfer immediately.  It's more likely, I think, that he's looking closer to home and would need the flexibility that actually sitting out a season would offer.

I'd ask, as always, that people think carefully before they post.  This situation is still developing, and we will try to keep you as informed as possible.  Also, though I shouldn't have to say this, please do not be that person that tweets something negative at Stidham about his decision.  It doesn't help, there's not a good reason to do it, and it doesn't make you some kind of superfan.  It makes you a jerk.