art briles baylor
Head coach Art Briles dismissal from Baylor could lead recruits to sign elsewhere. Getty Images

Baylor suspended and reportedly plans to outright dismiss head football coach Art Briles on the heels of a scathing independent report from a law firm that accuses the university and the football program of failing to properly handle accusations of sexual assault against players and other students.

As word quickly spread Thursday of Briles' departure, confirmed by a widely circulated text message that he sent to all his now-former players, several top recruits of the 2017 recruiting class could be looking to play elsewhere.

While the program will first be focused on disinfecting what’s allegedly become a toxic and unsafe culture, the Bears’ may see lose top talent to their in-state rivals with Briles' exit. Baylor had the No. 17 ranked recruiting class for 2017, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Crabtree.

One recruit, tight end/ defensive end Kedrick James La Vega (Waco, Texas), has backed out. ranks James the No. 7 tight end in the nation.

Several other top recruits could also be reconsidering.

The potential loss of quarterback Kellen Mond of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG could be particularly devastating for Baylor. Mond was listed as a “hard commit” for the Bears prior to his senior high school season. Last year, he passed for 1,991 yards and 26 touchdowns and ran for another 898 yards and seven scores to earn the District 26-6A Offensive MVP award.

Young players like Mond often choose schools based on a coach’s ability to prepare them for the NFL, something Briles has done at Baylor.

Briles, who dragged the Bears out from the doldrums of the Big 12 with a 50-15 record since 2011, sent 16 players to the NFL during his tenure and under his tutelage quarterback Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy and was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.