The firing of Art Briles and uncertainty surrounding the Baylor football program has led to an immediate impact on the Bears' incoming recruiting class for 2016 and beyond. Following an investigation that found the program and school to have mishandled, and at times ignored, sexual assault allegations, many recruits are bailing on the Bears.
A number of Baylor's top signees are reportedly not enrolling in classes on Monday for the summer semester. Four-star offensive lineman JP Urquidez was the most recent to make the declaration official, as he stated on Sunday that he will not be enrolling at the school.
I will not be Enrolling at Baylor University tomorrow morning... Thank you Baylor Nation for the continuous support!— JP Urquidez (@JP_OT2016) May 29, 2016
ESPN's Gerry Hamilton reported on Saturday that four-star offensive guard Patrick Hudson would also not enroll on Monday and consider his options.
Four-star running back Kameron Martin has also requested a release from his letter of intent and will not enroll on Monday, according to ESPN, and four-star receiver Devin Duvernay is also looking to get out of his commitment, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
Baylor's 2016 recruiting class was one of the best in school history, ranking 17th nationally according to 247Sports Composite, but the possibility of four (or more) four-star recruits leaving would put a serious dent in that class. Baylor will have to determine whether to allow those players release from their letters of intent.
As concerning as the exodus of the 2016 class is, the decommitments from the 2017 class Baylor has seen in recent days is just as concerning.
On Friday, three-star defensive end Jayden Peevy and four-star tight end Kedrick James announced they were re-opening their recruitment and would no longer be committed to Baylor.
Due to the departure of Coach Briles, I'd like to open my recruiting and decommit from Baylor. Thank u Baylor staff esp Coach Lebby & Bedell— Kedrick James (@kedrickjames044) May 26, 2016
Four-star receiver Hezekiah Jones announced on Saturday that he was decommitting from Baylor and re-opening his recruitment, as well as three-star safety Donovan Stiner.
Those departures leave Baylor, which was already light with six commits before the firing, with only two recruits committed for the 2017 class.
The run of decommitments is completely understandable from the recruits. There's a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the football program, from who could be the next coach to whether the NCAA will impose any further sanctions on the program.
The concerns from Baylor's point of view should be far bigger than losing recruits as there is a severe culture change needed within the program, but the task of rebuilding on the field for whoever is leading the program in the future will certainly be made more difficult by these departures of young talent.