After getting banged up in Baylor’s latest victory en route to a possible Big 12 championship run, starting quarterback Seth Russell will see his season come to a premature end. Baylor announced this afternoon Russell will undergo season-ending surgery on his neck. The decision to move forward with the surgery was made after meeting with a specialist, leaving with the recommendation of going through with surgery for a more secure long-term future. According to a release from Baylor, the recovery period for the surgery typically takes about six months, meaning Russell will be out for the remainder of Baylor’s 2015 season and possibly at least some of the spring football practices.
“Seth exemplifies the spirit and will of our football team,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said, “and through this our team will keep that spirit alive and well for him.”
Russell injured his cervical vertebra during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Iowa State. His season will end having thrown 2,104 yards and 29 touchdowns as well as 402 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. With Russell now on the shelf for the remainder of Baylor’s promising 2015 season, the fate of the Bears now falls in the hands of freshman Jarrett Stidham. Stidham, a four-star recruit in Baylor’s Class of 2015 and a former commit to Texas Tech, has appeared in all seven games in relief of Russell this season. In his relatively limited action, Stidham has thrown for 331 yards and six touchdowns without an interception, while completing 24 of 28 pass attempts.
Baylor made some roster adjustments in the offseason to help make room for Stidham as a possible starter this season by moving Chris Johnson to wide receiver. That allowed Baylor to bump Stidham to No. 2 ion the depth chart. Johnson will slide back to the quarterback position as the new backup behind Stidham, according to a Baylor statement.
Baylor is off this week. The Bears return to action on Thursday, November 5 at Kansas State. The Wildcats have struggled this season but will also be coming off a bye week to prepare for the game. There are not too many environments that could be more difficult of a setting to make a debut as a starting quarterback than Kansas State will be for Stidham, but Briles should feel confident in having enough pieces around his quarterback to help make for a moderately painless transition as Baylor looks to keep their Big 12 and College Football Playoff hopes alive.