After Being Acquitted of Rape, Former Baylor Player Hopes to Join NFL

In 2016, Shawn Oakman was on the cusp of entering the NFL.

The Baylor defensive end was preparing to enter the draft when he was accused of raping a classmate.

After a three-year legal battle, trial and ultimately acquittal, Oakman is now trying to pursue football again.

"One phone call could change your life, so you just got to be patient," Oakman said. "[I want] to get back into the locker room and that community that I'm use to, that family that I'm use to."

Since a Waco jury found him not guilty, Oakman has been living in Dallas and working out with a trainer, hoping to get a call from an NFL coach.

Oakman was coming off his final season at Baylor when a graduate student accused him of sexually assaulting her at his off-campus duplex after a night out in 2016.

She said it was rape. Oakman said it was consensual.

The accusation came during the height of the Baylor sexual assault scandal.

Two other former Baylor players were convicted of rape. University President Ken Starr and head football coach Art Briles lost their jobs and the university ultimately settled lawsuits with women who said they were raped by Baylor players.

During the three years Oakman waited for trial, he said he repeatedly rejected plea deals from McLennan County prosecutors.

"I was confident in God, ya know, to bring me through," Oakman said.

In February 2019, the case went to trial. Oakman's accuser took the stand and told the jury the encounter left her anxious and fearful. Two days of testimony led to two hours of deliberations and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

Oakman emotionally told Waco reporters after the verdict, "They slandered my name, they fired my coach and I felt like all that was on me."

Since his acquittal, Oakman said his only focus is on football.

"You try to leave it in the past," he said. "At the end of the day, I'm not looking forward to those three years. I'm looking forward to my next three."

And to those that believe the jury got it wrong, Oakman said he's moved on.

"I ain't got nothing to do with that," Oakman said. "I can only control what I can control and I stand ready for my next opportunity. Everything you go through is for a reason. At the end of the day, I had to keep my faith and that's going to propel me to the next level."

Contact Us