Former five-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham was all set to play for Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech before he was convinced that a college career under Art Briles at Baylor was the smarter move.
Stidham starred at Stephenville, the school Briles turned into a powerhouse in the 1990s, so who knows exactly what went into Stidham’s final decision to ditch the Red Raiders and join the Bears.
Now as most of Baylor’s 2017 commitments are reopening their recruitments and many 2016 signees are trying to get out of their binding agreements, Stidham has assured distressed Baylor fans that he plans to stick around and help pull the program out of the muck of a sexual assault scandal that cost the do-nothing Briles his job.
The sophomore had some impressive moments last season after taking over for Seth Russell, who was sidelined for the season in late October following a neck injury that required surgery. Stidham’s season was also cut short by a broken ankle, but the 6-foot-3, 210-pound gunslinger showed plenty of promise.
Russell and Stidham are expected to be at full strength when fall camp opens in August under interim coach Jim Grobe, the successful former coach at Wake Forest. This will be an interesting race on several levels. With Stidham still having three years of eligibility, he might be seen by Grobe as the wiser choice to go ahead and start now unless Russell just shows to be well ahead of Stidham during camp.
Also of note is that Grobe’s offensive background is practically the polar opposite of Briles’ up-tempo, spread attack. With plenty of returning talent on the roster, it will be interesting to see if Grobe attempts to keep the offense similar to what these players are accustomed to, or if he takes last season’s record-setting rushing performance against North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl when Baylor was flat out of healthy quarterbacks and goes from there.
At any rate, at the lowest point in the history of Baylor football, at least Bears fans can take solace in knowing they have a capable quarterback to help lead the way, both on and off the football field, out of the darkness.