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April 4, 2012

Sooners Aren't Short on QB Choices



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Now that the expected news of five-star quarterback Max Browne has played itself out publicly there is no time for Josh Heupel and the Sooner staff to lament the loss of their first offer at the position. In the same vein the SoonerScoop.com staff provides you a look at who could be next for the Sooners.

While at many places there would be multiple answers, that's never been the operation of Heupel's recruiting. The Sooner co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach has tended to zero in on one quarterback or another and stuck by that single offer until he felt there was either no longer a point or he had a commitment in hand. And that commitment has signaled as an end to each class as only three times in the Bob Stoops era, including just one with Heupel coaching, have the Sooners signed more than one quarterback in a class.

In 1999 Heupel, along with fellow future All-American Jason White pledged to Stoops' first class with Oklahoma set to run a spread formation that no quarterback on the roster at the time was equipped to run.

In 2006 the Sooners had the commitment of a guy named Sam Bradford when the scandal that eventually led to the removal of incumbent starter Rhett Bomar became public knowledge. As such with the upcoming graduation of Paul Thompson the Sooners sought out only the second junior college quarterback signed under Stoops in Joey Halzle.

It would seem that 2002 was the lone moment when circumstances seemed to have little to do with the signing of more than one quarterback, and as such really ranks as the only true anomaly in Stoops' 14 recruiting classes.

As such it would seem that the class of 2013 is going to be no different from the vast majority of its predecessors.

So the question becomes, who will be the next quarterback to get the Sooners lone offer at the position?

The first two names that immediately come up are Tahlequah (Okla.) Sequoyah three-star Brayden Scott and Colleyville (Texas) Heritage four-star Cody Thomas and interestingly both have been in Norman over the past 10 days.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Scott has been a constant at Oklahoma's camp, and has been in Norman numerous times on gamedays over the past few years. Scott also seems to have many of the aspects that Heupel has always been known to value as, like Heupel, Scott is a guy whose sole focus is on football and as a the son and grandson of highly successful high school coaches he is more than familiar with game film. Another area of interest is that Scott, as a soon to be four-year starter, has spent his entire high school career running a spread offense based on the ideas of the architect of Oklahoma's spread, Mike Leach.

Meanwhile Thomas is the prototypical 6-foot-5, 220-pound signal caller who shows a massive arm on film and at the Elite 11 two weeks ago in Dallas did nothing to lessen that reputation. The question that lingers with Thomas is whether or not he'll ever step on a college campus as the strong-armed signal caller is thought to be an elite prospect in baseball as well. Through the years this issue has come up with several quarterbacks like Zach Lee and Ryan Mossakowski and in both cases it seemed as though the Sooners were unwilling to take the risk and some have said Thomas' talent may be similar to that of Lee, who was a first round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2010 Major League draft.

As mentioned, Scott visited Norman on March 29-30 and watched the Sooners practice and scrimmage while Thomas visited March 26. Another common issue for both is their interest in picking up a Sooner offer and disappointment to date in not having one. Should the Sooners offer, in both cases, particularly with Scott, it would be hard to think the Sooners were not in or near the driver's seat.

Other Names to Know

*At one point Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame gunslinger Kelly Hilinski was thought to be one of the real front runners for an offer. And though it's still not a dead relationship it has been lessened in recent months. Hilinski camped at Oklahoma last summer and showed off a big arm and the release of a well-schooled high school quarterback. The big signal caller already has an offer from Arkansas.

*Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider is a school that has broken Oklahoma's heart twice before losing commitments in consecutive years from Markelle Martin and Eric Ward, to Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, respectively. However, could the Sooners hope to change that trend now that there is new management at Rider? It's certainly possible with the nation's No. 6 dual-threat quarterback J.T. Barrett. The skilled quarterback came to Norman last season and has said he is interested in the Sooners, however at 6-foot-1 and 200-pounds he isn't a guy that readily fits the prototype of what Oklahoma has recruited through the years.

*A dark horse that is worth watching is Montgomery (Ala.) Carver three-star Jeremy Johnson who has seen some early interest from the Sooners but so far is not overly well known in Sooner recruiting circles. The biggest issue eventually may become that Johnson seems very high on Auburn at the moment and pulling a player out of Alabama is no small task for any program, much less one outside of the region.



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