Hours after Baylor announced that coach Art Briles was going to be firedin response to an investigation into the school's response to allegations of sexual assaults by students, the Bears lost a key member of their 2017 recruiting class.
Kedrick James, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound tight end from Waco (Texas) La Vega High School, announced on Twitter on Thursday afternoon that he was backing away from his longtime commitment to Baylor because of Briles' departure.
James, the nation's ninth-ranked tight end and the No. 259 player in the ESPN 300, originally pledged to the Bears in July 2015 and was the third-highest-ranked recruit in the Bears' class.
Even before news of Briles' pending dismissal broke, James had been looking at several other schools, namely Texas A&M, which he visited in early April. James also has scholarship offers from more than a dozen other schools, and he said Thursday afternoon his "phone has blown up with texts from recruiters all over the country."
It's unlikely that James will be the only recruit the Bears lose.
Kellen Mond, the nation's No. 2 dual-threat quarterback and the Bears' top commitment, said he is going to have an in-depth conversation with his parents about his status. Even though Mond has been committed to Baylor since last June, he has been looking at other schools, such as Ohio State and Auburn.
"I'm not sure yet how it will affect my recruitment," said Mond, who attends Bradenton (Florida) IMG Academy but is originally from San Antonio. "I definitely committed there because of Art Briles, but I won't know or do anything until I talk to my parents more in depth."
Asked for his thoughts on the situation, Baylor ESPN 300 receiver commit Hezekiah Jones of Stafford (Texas) High School said, "It's crazy."
When asked if he'll decommit, Jones said, "We'll see." Despite his pledge, Jones has continued to be heavily recruited by Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and many others.
With James' departure, the Bears now have five commitments for the 2017 class. Baylor's 2016 class, which signed in February, ranked as the 17th-best in the country and featured third-ranked receiver Devin Duvernay and top-ranked offensive guard Patrick Hudson.