Art Briles will no longer be the coach of the Baylor Bears football program.
According to a release from the university, effective immediately, Briles “has been suspended indefinitely with intent to terminate according to contractual procedures.” The move comes as part of the response to the sexual assault allegations and investigations coming from the Waco campus which led to the school “conduct[ing] an independent and external review of Baylor’s institutional response to Title IX and related compliance issues through the lens of specific cases.”
From a perspective focusing solely on football and actions on the field, Briles had the program trending upward for the better part of the last decade. In 2010 he and Robert Griffin III led the Bears to their first winning season in 15 years. From there, the man who preceded Kevin Sumlin as the University of Houston head coach led the Bears to double-digit wins in four of the next five seasons while winning three bowl games.
The football program began thriving in Waco. With the Aggies in the SEC and the University of Texas struggling to find success, there weren’t many Texas storylines that overtook Baylor’s ascension as one of the Big 12 powers. Recruiting took off like a rocket. Signees in the 2012 class, the group following Griffin’s Heisman winning campaign, included Corey Coleman, Shock Linwood, and Seth Russell, among others.
According to the 247Sports Composite ranking, the program benefitted by jumping from national rankings that toiled in the 40-50 range to having the 17th ranked class, second overall in the Big 12, thanks in large part to the success that Briles helped create.
Now that he is out, what role will that play for the recruiting class of 2017? The Bears currently have six verbal commitments, five of which date back to the middle of 2015. All six players also hold offers from A&M. Reactions from some of those recruits were shared on Twitter shortly after news broke.
— .. Kellen™ ♛ ♰ ♛ (@TheKellenMond) May 26, 2016
— Jeremy Crabtree (@jeremycrabtree) May 26, 2016
Kellen Mond, the dual-threat quarterback out of Bradenton, Florida, currently holds offers from Ohio State, Texas A&M and 15 other schools. Standing at over 6-foot-2, his profile fits the type of quarterback that A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone would typically go after. The Aggies recently received the verbal commitment of 6-foot-6 Connor Blumrick, but it would be reasonable for the Aggies to swipe two QB’s in this year’s class.
In addition to Mond, other four-star athletes currently pledged to Baylor include wide receiver Hezekiah Jones and tight end Kedrick James. James has been to College Station on multiple occasions, including Junior Day and the team’s Friday Night Lights event in April. Jones, the owner of 24 current offers, would fit right in with the Texas A&M offense. A successful track and field athlete, his speed could easily translate into the return game for the Maroon and White.
Jalen Pitre and Donovan Stiner are both safeties committed to the Bears in 2017, while 6-foot-6 Jayden Peevy rounds out the list as a three-star defensive tackle.