Baylor finally did something right.
The Bears, who have been raked over the coals nationally for their unwillingness to let some of their 2016 signees out of their commitment to the school in light of the legal issues and coaching changes surrounding the Bears' football program, announced Thursday that at least five of those players will be free to go elsewhere.
Baylor, who had already seen one of the gems of their class - top rated wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who signed with Texas this week after a filing error made him a free agent - will now likely lose five more players from a group that was ranked in the top 25 nationally with 25 signees. Amongst the players is Duvernay's twin brother Donovan, a three star athlete who was expected to play corner for the Bears, and will now likely join his brother in Austin.
Also expected to sign elsewhere are offensive tackle J.P. Urquidez, the no. 17 offensive tackle in the country and a four star recruit, Kameron Martin, a four star running back, Parish Cobb, a four star corner, and the number one guard in the country, Patrick Hudson. The loss of these five players will drop Baylor significantly in the recruiting rankings, and more importantly, leave them lacking at depth - especially along the offensive line.
The Bears, who have maintained that they just wanted to talk to the players prior to releasing them, have now saved a little face in the midst of the bad publicity.
"I wanted the opportunity to talk with our signees and their families before providing any releases," interim Baylor coach Jim Grobe said in a statement. "This has never been about whether or not we would ultimately provide individuals with a release; we simply asked that we go through the process outlined by the NLI, take some time and have the chance to speak with the student-athletes and their parents. I've enjoyed those opportunities to meet with these families and wish each individual success in all that they do in life."
Now that the young men are free to move on, it becomes a question of finding the right fit, as well as a school that has scholarships open for them. Texas has been very active in pursuing several of these athletes - though unofficially so, as there are still some logistics to work out before they can officially sign elsewhere - and Hudson is another guy expected to give the Longhorns a good look. Originally a Texas A&M commit, the offensive lineman flipped late to BU and had been interested in the Horns throughout the process as well.
From a TCU perspective, Devin Duvernay was a big time target, and after losing that battle to UT, they have at least one open slot. The only player released that the Frogs pursued aggressively throughout the process was Parish Cobb, the corner out of La Vega in Waco. He was also pursued by Texas, but they might be out of roster spots before his name is called.
Whether or not any of these players end up in purple, good on Baylor for allowing them to pursue other options in the wake of all of the changes occurring on campus and the issues surrounding the program. Ultimately, we all just want them to get things right, and this is a good step in the right direction, from a football perspective.