Baylor sophomore quarterback Zach Smith will transfer, according to a report from ESPN Central Texas’ David Smoak. Smith will have to sit out a year per transfer rules, and have two years of eligibility remaining at his next stop.
Smith started 10 games for Baylor at quarterback after opening day starters Seth Russell and Anu Solomon went out with injuries in 2016 and 2017, respectively. However, Smith lost his starting job to freshman Charlie Brewer after suffering multiple injuries.
Brewer is the only scholarship quarterback left on Baylor’s roster. The Bears also do not have a quarterback commit in the Class of 2018. Four-star quarterback Gerry Bohanon is their top priority in the class, but he has major interest from other programs.
Smith threw for 2,997 yards and 21 touchdowns in 19 games. Ten of those games were starts. However, he went 1-9 as a starter, with the only win coming in the Cactus Bowl.
Smith was a record-setting quarterback at Grandview (Texas) High School. He was named All-State 3 times and threw for more than 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns during a standout career. Both marks rank in the top 10 in Texas high school football history. A 4-star recruit out of high school, Smith also had offers from Texas, SMU and Kansas.
When Smith committed to Baylor, he thought he would have to wait behind Russell and Jarrett Stidham and learn under Art Briles. However, he chose to stay on campus after Briles was fired. Smith showed flashes, including a 463-yard, 4-touchdown performance against Oklahoma. However, his production declined as the Baylor offense lost playmakers.
Smith also appeared not to fit into the offensive game plan that Rhule attempted to implement. He seemed to value a dual-threat quarterback. Smith is a traditional pro-style pocket passer. It’s unclear where Smith could head next, but it’s unlikely he’s able to stay in the Big 12 or go to a future opponent.
With his departure, Brewer takes control of the quarterback position at Baylor. The Bears could look to add additional quarterbacks through transfer – like Solomon last season – or junior college. Adding bodies quickly will be the staff’s top priority.