In the summer of 2016, Art Briles was officially let go by Baylor University amidst the now infamous sexual assault scandal. This firing came in the wake of the best recruiting class that Baylor University’s football team had ever seen, bringing in the 17th ranked recruiting class in the nation. The glory of that 2016 class would be short lived, as ten players would ask for releases from their letters of intent before the season even started. With nearly every player citing Briles’ presence as their main draw to the program, the void at head coach proved too ominous for many. When everything was said and done, the class had dropped from 17th to 40th in the nation.
Over two years later, we decided to dive deeper into each player that decommitted from the program. Where are these players now? What could have been had they opted to stay with the Bears? We decided to examine each player by rank.
Donavan Duvernay, CB, Texas
Donavan Duvernay was a 3-star cornerback recruit out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. After asking to be released from his commitment to Baylor University, he decided to attend the University of Texas at Austin. Despite Texas’ recent success however, Duvernay has not made much of an impact for the Longhorns. Through his first 3 seasons, Duvernay has only played in 4 games. The Longhorns are stacked at the cornerback position, as the Sachse High School product has taken a backseat to other players in the depth chart. Perhaps if he had stayed committed to the Bears, we would see a mutually beneficial relationship, as Duvernay could have helped solidify Baylor’s shaky secondary.
DeQuinton Osborne, DT, Oklahoma State
DeQuinton Osborne, a mid-level defensive tackle prospect out of Grand Prairie Texas, committed to the Oklahoma State Cowpokes after decommitting from the Bears. Osborne’s decision payed massive dividends, as he went on to dominate the Big 12 in Stillwater. He was named to the All Big 12 first team by coaches and honored with OSU’s Bob Fenimore Most Valuable Player Award. After his short but successful career at OSU, he entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, signing with the Denver Broncos. Osborne represents a major loss for the 2016 recruiting class, as he could have catapulted the Bears’ pass rush into the top ranks of the conference.
Branton Autry, OG, Jacksonville State
Branton Autry was one of the top ranked offensive guards in America when he committed to the Bears in 2016. After his decommitment, however, Autry struggled to find a football home. He eventually committed to Jacksonville State in 2017, helping the Gamecocks to an Ohio Valley Conference title.
J.P. Urquidez, OT, Texas
J.P. Urquidez signed with the Texas Longhorns after being released from his Baylor commitment. Finding himself at the wrong end of the depth chart in Austin, Urquidez has played in only two games for the Longhorns. Had he stayed committed to the Bears, perhaps the former four-star recruit would have had more opportunity to make an impact at offensive tackle under the guidance of coach Matt Rhule.
Kameron Martin, RB, Auburn
4-star running back Kameron Martin committed to the Bears after a sensational senior season at Port Arthur Memorial High School in Texas. Seizing opportunities early, Martin infiltrated the Auburn RB depth charts as a freshman in 2016, finding the end zone 3 times his first season. Martin has only established himself more firmly in the Auburn offense as he completes his Junior season, finishing the year with his career high in carries to go along with 400+ yards on the ground. Martin was undoubtedly a huge loss for the Bears as he could have provided Matt Rhule a dynamic runner out of the backfield.
Parrish Cobb, CB, Oklahoma
Parrish Cobb signed with the Oklahoma Sooners in 2016 after retracting his commitment to Baylor. In 2018 however, the Waco native was convicted of armed robbery in his hometown after holding up a Baylor student with a firearm. Cobb, a graduate of La Vega high school, is currently serving 18 years in prison. As Baylor attempts to recover their team image and culture following the Briles controversy, the Bears seem much better off without Cobb ever gracing the team roster.
Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
The twin counterpart to the aforementioned Donavan Duvernay, Devin Duvernay also committed to Texas after being released from his letter of intent to Baylor. While his brother has found little success in Austin thus far , Devin has thrived as a wide receiver for QB Sam Ehlinger. Playing in every game for the Longhorns this year, he has amassed 4 TD to go with 468 yards. While the Bears host an elite pool of players at wide receiver, Duvernay’s depth could have bolstered the options of weapons at Charlie Brewer’s hands.
Tren’Davian Dickson, WR, Houston
WR Tren’Davian Dickson bounced from Baylor to Houston after being released from his letter of intent. He never suited up for the Cougars, but finally found a home at Texas Southern University after taking time off from school. He has yet to record a stat for the Tigers in 2018.
Brandon Bowen, DE, TCU
Interestingly enough, Brandon Bowen left Baylor to attend the Bears’ rival, TCU. Sadly, the defensive stud out of Byron Nelson High School played only 3 games for the Horn Frogs before losing the season to injury. Bowen has been unable to see the field since his freshman year because of various injuries.
Patrick Hudson, OG, Texas
Patrick Hudson was undoubtedly the crown jewel of Briles’ 2016 recruiting class. The offensive lineman made waves across the recruiting circuit for his combination of size and quick feet at the guard position. Just as many of the ex-Baylor recruits, Hudson flipped to the Longhorns in the summer after Briles’ firing was announced. While he seemed to be on the verge of cracking the rotation in Austin, Hudson came upon health concerns early in the season, being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit after suffering from a heat related fainting incident. While he eventually returned to classes, Hudson’s status remains unclear concerning football.
The 2016 recruiting class will forever remain one of the great “What If’s” for Baylor football fans. The Bears seemed to be becoming a national threat on the recruiting front before 2016. However, there is still much to be excited about.
Matt Rhule has almost instantaneously launched Baylor back into the upper tiers of recruitment after bringing in a top 30 recruiting class for 2018. This class is especially surprising, as the commits were secured after the Bears came off of a one-win season a year ago. The progress on the recruiting front shows what an absolutely astounding job that Coach Rhule has done to build energy and excitement around this team. The future looks bright in Waco.