Baylor's 2017 class took a blow Tuesday evening when IMG Academy 4-star wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon tweeted that he was decommitting. Ausbon is the second athlete to decommit from Baylor this year. Kennedale, Texas, 5-star linebacker Baron Browning parted ways with Baylor last month, which means the Bears now have lost their two highest-rated pledges.
Baylor, with Ausbon and Browning committed, had a Top 10 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports.com composite team rankings. The Bears now currently sit at No. 18
Ausbon's surprising announcement means Baylor's 2017 class is down to five commits. It also means one of the nation's top-ranked receivers once again will weigh out options for his college future.
And Ausbon, the nation's No. 11 receiver, definitely has his options.
"I just don't really have much to say," Ausbon told Bleacher Report late Tuesday, "other than I'm going to make an impact wherever I go."
A shade under 6'3" and 217 pounds, Ausbon is the big, strong receiver that many schools want. He has 13 reported offers and is expected to add several more during the spring and summer seasons. Ausbon moved to IMG from Houston at the end of last semester and is adjusting well to his new team. He and 4-star quarterback Kellen Mond—who moved to IMG from San Antonio—have built a solid friendship and have chemistry on the field.
That chemistry, Baylor fans hoped, was expected to mature in Waco, Texas. Mond, who also is a Baylor pledge, told 247Sports.com's Colt Barber that Ausbon's decision caught him by surprise, but his commitment to Baylor is still strong. Mond also believes Baylor is still a contender in Ausbon's process.
As for the other schools in the state of Texas, keep an eye on Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Houston. Ausbon visited Texas A&M this week and could join 4-star Mannie Netherly as the Aggies' 2017 receivers. Texas Tech fields one of the nation's most prolific, pass-happy offenses, and Houston is fresh off one of its greatest seasons ever. Plus, the Cougars play minutes from his family in Houston.
And then, there are the schools farther from home. Oklahoma, LSU, Oklahoma State, Miami, Tennessee and Nebraska are among the out-of-state schools that have offered thus far. As a transfer student, Ausbon doesn't have a problem with playing college ball far from home.
Oklahoma is building a solid receiver class if he ultimately chooses to team up with 4-stars Charleston Rambo, CeeDee Lamb and Jalen Reagor. On the flip side, LSU doesn't have a 2017 receiver and is hoping to build off a strong 2016 receiving class that included the 4-star trio of Stephen Sullivan, Drake Davis and Dee Anderson. LSU, additionally, is a dream school of his, as he told Jerit Roser of the Times-Picayune last month.
Miami is intriguing, as well. Although the Hurricanes have 14 commits and the class is currently ranked No. 3 nationally, Ausbon could give that program a major boost in the rankings, as he would be the top-ranked pledge.
Baylor lost a solid pledge, but don't be surprised to see the Bears still alive when Ausbon begins to narrow his choices again. Look for Mond to do all he can to get his high school teammate and friend to recommit.
Whichever school lands Ausbon will get an athlete who displays consistency as a playmaker and provides an immediate spark when the ball is in his hands. Ausbon can be an immediate impact player at the next level and, ultimately, someone who claims multiple all-conference honors and accolades.