What the Jarrett Stidham transfer means for Baylor, others

The Bears' true freshman QB was one of the most productive passers in the country in 2015.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

What the Jarrett Stidham transfer means for Baylor, others

Baylor Bears quarterback Jarrett Stidham announced that he is transferring from the school on Thursday, with head coach Jim Grobe saying that the decision was based mostly upon playing time. Stidham was likely going to have to backup Seth Russell, the player he replaced in the starting lineup last season after Russell suffered a season-ending neck injury.

Despite the fact that Russell is a potential breakout candidate, this is still a big loss for Baylor, after Stidham was very productive as a true freshman during his time on the field.

Stidham saw limited mop-up duty through the first seven games of Baylor’s schedule last year. He played just 32 snaps and went 24-of-28 for 332 yards and 6 touchdowns. Those are extremely impressive numbers, but they came at the end of blowout victories, so it was hard to take much notice of them in comparison to other quarterbacks across the nation.

However, when Russell was injured, Baylor had no choice but to turn to their true freshman backup to take over the starting role. Stidham quickly showed that those garbage-time numbers were not solely the result of going up against backups at the end of games. In Stidham’s three starts before he too was injured, he completed 51-of-81 passes for 934 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Five of those incompletions were dropped passes, three were thrown away and four were batted at the line. He had very few inaccurate throws in any of those games, and he managed to lead Baylor to two wins and was easily the team’s best player during its loss to Oklahoma.

Stidham’s accuracy was one of the most impressive things about him last year. On the season he had an adjusted completion percentage of 81.0 percent, which is a ridiculously high rate. Even if we just look at the games he started he had a rate of 76.7, which would still be one of the best rates in college. On deep throws (passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield) he proved to be just as effective, with a 57.1 percent adjusted completion rate that ranked fifth in the nation last year. Almost half of his yards were gained on deep throws and he threw seven touchdowns to just one interception.

Further evidence of the high level of throws he made: Stidham had a +16.0 passing grade in just 337 snaps. That was the fourth-best grade-per-snap ratio among any Power-5 college quarterback, behind only Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and California’s Jared Goff, who went on to become the No. 1 overall pick of the Rams. That’s some pretty elite company to be in. Here’s a near-perfectly thrown ball with no step-up thrown 40 yards down the field:


When watching Stidham play last year it was easy to forget that he was a true freshman, as he played with skill beyond his years. Having him available in the event that Russell doesn’t stay healthy for the entire season was a huge advantage for the Bears, so keeping Russell on the field now becomes even more important.

But for other teams in the market for a quarterback, coaches should be lining up to try to convince Stidham to come to their schools. He would be an upgrade for many teams as their starting QB when he’s eligible to play again in 2017.

| Analyst

Bryson has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, and has also been a contributor to 120 Sports.

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