Jarrett Stidham's Baylor Exit Gets 2017's Transfer QB Market off to Early Start

Justin Ferguson@@JFergusonBRCFB National AnalystJuly 8, 2016

Former Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham
Former Baylor QB Jarrett StidhamPeter G. Aiken/Getty Images

That sound you heard Thursday afternoon was the opening bell to college football's next quarterback transfer market.

Jarrett Stidham, who was expected to be the No. 2 quarterback at Baylor this fall, tweeted that he would be transferring from the Bears program that continues to lose players in the aftermath of the school's sexual assault scandal:

Last month, Stidham made an Instagram post that seemed to confirm he would stay at Baylor. But whispers of a transfer picked up Wednesday morning, and he confirmed them later that day.

As Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer and Barrett Sallee put it on Twitter, the news of Stidham's departure should excite a lot of college football coaches across the country:

By announcing that he was leaving Baylor, Stidham immediately became the hottest quarterback recruit in the entire country for the 2017 season. He'll start an early recruiting war among programs that could use a dual-threat quarterback of his caliber.

Stidham came off the bench last year for Baylor after an injury to No. 1 quarterback Seth Russell and put up 419 yards and three touchdowns against Kansas State in his first career start. He had two more starts before suffering a season-ending injury of his own. For a true freshman, his numbers were phenomenal:

Jarrett Stidham's 2015 Statistics
SituationComp-AttComp %YardsYards/AttemptTDINTQB Rating
IN 3 STARTS51-of-8163.0%93411.562177.08
OVERALL75-of-10968.8%1,26511.6122198.96
CFBStats.com

The Texas native would be an extremely talented option at quarterback for any program looking for an instant-impact player. Stidham would be an immediate upgrade at starting quarterback for a lot of teams.

Stidham was the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 38 overall recruit in the class of 2017, according to 247Sports' Composite Rankings. 247Sports' own ratings had him as a 5-star. 

That's like throwing another elite quarterback into a Class of 2017 that is almost completely booked up when it comes to blue-chip commitments at the position. Of the 25 5- and 4-star quarterback recruits in the Class of 2017, only one of them—Jack Sears—is uncommitted.

Programs that need a quarterback for 2017 could flip one of these pledges, but that would almost definitely require them to have had a good relationship with the recruit before his commitment. It's extremely tough to pull off, even for powerhouse programs.

With Stidham, though, things are different. It's a wide-open recruiting battle again for a blue-chip, dual-threat quarterback who now has collegiate starting experience in a Power Five conference. Any school that wants him can get to work right now at recruiting him.

According to David Ubben of Sports on Earth, Stidham is "considering enrolling at McLennan Community College in Waco and working out during the season." By not playing anywhere this fall, Stidham would maintain the remaining three years of his eligibility and be able to transfer to any FBS school for 2017.

There's also a chance Stidham could directly transfer to another FBS program and use 2016 as a redshirt year, keeping the three eligible seasons intact. But as Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated reported, if Stidham goes that route, his options might be limited to schools outside the Big 12:

Stidham could also transfer to schools in nine FBS conferences right now and use 2016 as his redshirt year, but he could not do that in the Big 12. Big 12 transfer rules require players transferring between conference schools to lose a year of playing eligibility. This is why Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield initially lost a year while sitting out 2014 after transferring from Texas Tech. Mayfield got 2014 turned into a redshirt year because of a conference rule tweak that lifted the penalty for walk-ons leaving to be walk-ons elsewhere in the league. Stidham, who was on scholarship at Baylor, won't be able to do that.

Either way, the race is on for Stidham, and plenty of schools could come calling for the quarterback who picked up 23 scholarship offers as a high schooler.

Stidham could stay in-state with Texas A&M, which has a thin depth chart at quarterback and only one year of Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight. He would be the perfect fit for the Aggies' high-powered offense and would keep them from possibly having to start true freshman Kellen Mond in 2017.

There's a chance Stidham would go with one of the other Big 12 schools in the Lone Star State. Texas could use another talented quarterback in its new-look offense. Texas Tech, the school Stidham was originally committed to in high school, might lose the strong-armed Patrick Mahomes to the NFL this offseason.

Schools outside the Big 12's footprint will clamor for Stidham as well. Auburn and Oregon, two famous spread-offense programs that have had great success with transfer quarterbacks, will undoubtedly go after Stidham again.

Ubben also noted that if current Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles—the son of former head coach Art Briles—doesn't stay with the Bears past this season, Stidham could follow him to his next school. Kendal Briles was Stidham's primary recruiter at Baylor and helped flip him from Texas Tech:

The race to secure an elite quarterback on the recruiting trail is a long and difficult process, and almost all of the options out there right now for 2017 are already claimed. 

But Stidham's transfer gives a fresh start to plenty of schools in what will be a complex and highly publicized second recruitment. 

It gives an early and eye-opening start to 2017's transfer quarterback market, the form of college football "free agency" that has overtaken the last several offseasons, especially in Stidham's home state of Texas.

Recruiting never stops, and Stidham's summer departure from Baylor should start a domino effect of quarterback decisions among high schoolers, JUCO players and graduate transfers for the rest of the 2017 cycle.

Those who respond the quickest to the market's opening bell could leave with what might be its most coveted asset.

Stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com. Recruiting rankings are courtesy of 247Sports.

Justin Ferguson is a National College Football Analyst at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

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