With or without Art Briles, Baylor was going to have an interesting quarterback scenario on its hands heading into the start of camp in August.
On Thursday, senior signal caller Seth Russell made it official that he will be ready to go to start camp coming off a scary neck injury last October that required surgery and ended his promising 2015 season prematurely.
Russell waited a long time to get his shot as the Bears’ starter, backing up Bryce Petty, who led the program to back-to-back Big 12 titles. Russell is surely going to do everything he can to win the job in his final season.
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But hotshot youngster Jarrett Stidham is going to have something to say about that. Briles, fired for his part in Baylor’s reluctance to do anything about sexual assault allegations over a period of years levied against Baylor football players, is gone.
The decision at quarterback will be left up to interim coach Jim Grobe and, presumably, Briles’ son and offensive coordinator Kenal Briles, assuming he keeps his job.
Russell completed 119 of 200 passes for 2,104 yards with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions. He went down against Iowa State on Oct. 24. Stidham, a former 5-star recruit from Stephenville, was 75 of 109 for 1,265 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.
He played against tougher competition than Russell, including on the road at Kansas State, against Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State, where he suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
As we head into the summer, both QBs are gearing up for what should be one of the more intriguing position battles in the Big 12.