College football recruiting can be ruthless and unrewarding.
Decommitments have become a common, almost expected, part of every recruiting cycle and the Class of 2015 is no different. Multiple Big 12 schools have been hurt by longtime commitments reopening their recruitment but some of those defections are bigger than others. Here's a look at the impact of four ESPN 300 members who were longtime commitments to Big 12 schools but decided to decommit prior to signing day.
McKinney (Texas) running back Ronald Jones II
Rank: No. 34 in the ESPN 300
Current commitment: USC
Decommitted from: Oklahoma State
Impact on OSU: Quite possibly the most devastating decommitment in the Big 12. Jones was an elite prospect at a need position for Mike Gundy’s program. Since Jones decided to reopen his recruitment, OSU turned up its pursuit of several running backs including Georgia commitment Chris Carson, Wisconsin commitment Jordan Stevenson and ESPN 300 running back Chris Warren. Yet, the Pokes don’t appear to be the favorite to land any of those highly regarded running backs. OSU has signed junior college running back Todd Mays and earned a recent commitment from Temple (Texas) running back Jeff Carr but Jones still stands as the one that got away.
Stephenville (Texas) quarterback Jarrett Stidham
Ranking: No. 37 in ESPN 300
Decommitted from: Texas Tech
Impact on Tech: Losing Stidham is tough for Kliff Kingsbury’s program. The headliner of Tech’s commit list since the spring of 2014, Stidham changed his mind after Tech’s 4-8 season and left the Red Raiders searching to replace an irreplaceable part of their class. The good news for Tech is the late season emergence of true freshman quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who looks like he could become one of the Big 12‘s top quarterbacks during his time in Lubbock. Davis Webb joins Mahomes to give Tech a solid pair of quarterbacks heading into 2015 despite losing Stidham.
Impact on BU: The Red Raiders loss is Baylor’s gain. Stidham is signed, sealed and delivered for the Bears and is ready to battle to replace Bryce Petty this spring. His signature is yet another sign of BU’s arrival on the national stage as the highest-rated quarterback signee during Art Briles’ tenure. The spring quarterback battle between Stidham, Seth Russell and Chris Johnson will be fun to watch.
Albuquerque (New Mexico) Eldorado quarterback Zach Gentry
Ranking: No. 118 in ESPN 300
Current commitment: Michigan
Decommitted from: Texas
Impact on UT: This one hurts. Gentry was a longtime Longhorns commitment who decided UT wasn’t the right fit after Charlie Strong’s program began flirting with Kyler Murray. Jim Harbaugh and Michigan came in hard after Gentry and landed the 6-foot-7, 237-pound signal-caller during his Jan. 24 visit to Ann Arbor. Now, with Murray reaffirming his plans to sign with Texas A&M, the Longhorns are locked out of the house in below freezing weather with their pajamas on. Quarterback was a clear position of need yet with Gentry’s flip to UM, Strong’s recruiting class doesn’t have a elite quarterback to anchor an exceptional group of commitments.
Temple (Texas) receiver Chad President
Ranking: No. 279 in ESPN300
Decommitted from: Baylor
Impact on BU: President, who is rated as a receiver by ESPN.com recruiting analysts but is expected begin his college career at quarterback, made the decision to decommit from the Bears after Stidham flipped to BU. Losing President has the least impact of the decommits on this list thanks to Stidham’s arrival in Waco but President is a still an elite talent who could have helped Briles program if he had remained committed. Stidham’s choice and President's desire to play receiver combined with Philip Montgomery’s move to TU created the ideal situation for President’s flip.