SoonerScoop - OU's Top 10 QB Signees of Rivals Era
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OU's Top 10 QB Signees of Rivals Era

There's no room for error with quarterbacks.

While other positions can bring in three or more recruits each year, rarely does a team sign more than one signal-caller.

So like a man with a bow and arrow sneaking up on someone with a gun, you only get one shot. One opportunity. To get everything you ever wa-...wait. That's Eminem. Strike that.

The point is, to miss on a quarterback signee is to miss an entire year and if teams start stringing multiple classes like that in a row, it can set programs back for a decade.

Oklahoma is fortunate to have brought in ten four-star passers since 2002 and now have two more committed in 2017 Rivals100 Mesquite (Texas) Horn quarterback Chris Robison and 2018 four-star Cameron Rising, who is likely to make his class's Rivals100 debut. Robison's No. 74 overall ranking would place him at No. 3 if he is able to hold on to it until signing day. If he's able to move into the top 60, Robison would then become the second ranked quarterback to sign with the Sooners since 2002.

Below are the 10 highest ranked quarterback signees for Oklahoma in the Rivals era. For this list's purposes, it will start with the class of 2002 due to Rivals database constructs, so that leaves out Brent Rawls, who signed with Oklahoma in 2001 as the No. 7 quarterback in the country. It also only accounts for those specifically grouped under the quarterback designation, which leaves out former four-star Leander (Texas) athlete Paul Thompson, who lead the 2006 Sooners to a Big 12 Championship. Excluded also are transfers like current sophomore Texas A&M transplant Kyler Murray, who ranked No. 71 in the country out of Allen (Texas) High School in 2015.



10

Breakdown: After redshirting his first year in Norman, Allen was still sidelined the next season during Jason White's Heisman Trophy run. Allen expected to compete for the starting job the following year. However, White's sixth year of eligibility granted by the NCAA was too much for the former Pearland (Texas) signal-caller, who couldn't wait a third-consecutive year with no playing time. After accumulating no stats as a Sooner, Allen would transfer to Sam Houston State where he played in 10 career games with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

9

Breakdown: Landry Jones' story in Oklahoma began earlier than expected when Sam Bradford separated his shoulder in the first game of the 2009 season against BYU in Dallas. After taking over in that moment as a redshirt freshman, Jones would become one of the most productive quarterbacks in not just Oklahoma history, but in college football history. Jones is the Big 12 Conference's all-time leading passer with 16,626 yards and No. 3 in college football history behind Case Keenum and Tommy Chang. His 123 career passing touchdowns are the sixth most all-time. With Jones at the helm, the Sooners would win two Big 12 championships and three bowl victories. Jones is currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Landry Jones Career Statistics
Season Completion Pct. Yards Touchdowns Interceptions

2009

58.1%

3,198

26

14

2010

65.6%

4,718

38

12

2011

63.2%

4,463

29

15

2012

66.1%

4,267

30

11

Total

63.6%

16,646

123

52

8

Breakdown: After winning the starting job before the 2013 opener, beating out heavy favorite Blake Bell, it appeared Knight was headed towards a long tenure of stardom at the helm of the OU offense. The signature moment of Knight's career at Oklahoma came as a redshirt freshman when he threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns against Alabama in the Sooners 45-31 2014 Sugar Bowl victory. Unfortunately for Knight, injuries, inconsistent on-field performance, and a guy named Baker Mayfield forced the San Antonio-native to transfer where he had initially committed out of Regan High School - Texas A&M - where he is expected to start for the Aggies in 2016.

Trevor Knight Career Statistics
Season Completion Pct. Yards Touchdowns Interceptions

2013

59.0%

819

9

5

2014

56.6%

2,300

14

12

2015

55.0%

305

2

2

2016 (Texas A&M)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total

57.1%

3,424

25

19

7

Breakdown: Despite an unconventional throwing motion, Hansen's production on the field, mobility, and toughness had both Oklahoma and Texas A&M vying hard for the Edmond Santa Fe quarterback's signature. He would ultimately sign with Josh Heupel and the Sooners, but after Heupel was fired as offensive coordinator and Baker Mayfield entered the picture, Hansen transferred to Butler Community College and then signed with Arkansas State, where he is expected to start for the Red Wolves in 2016.

6

Breakdown: Bell switched from pass-catcher to pass-thrower while at Wichita (Kan.) Bishop Carroll High School and college coaches from across the country came calling for the 6-foot-6 athletic quarterback who threw for 69 touchdowns as a junior and senior. After choosing nearby Oklahoma, Bell was an immediate fan favorite as a backup quarterback to Landry Jones. His short yardage and goal line package known as the "Belldozer" gained national fame. Sooner fans and the country were enamored with the running quarterback the size of Rob Gronkowski. Bell's 13 rushing touchdowns in 2011 are more than running backs Joe Washington, Marcus Dupree, or De'Mond Parker had in any single season. After losing the starting job in a tough competition to Trevor Knight following Jones' departure, Bell would go on to set an OU record for most passing yards by a quarterback in their first start when he threw for 413 yards against Tulsa taking over for an injured Knight. Bell began to lose some shine the rest of the season, including an ugly loss to Texas, Bell rebounded by entering the game as the third quarterback behind Knight and Kendal Thompson in Stillwater against rival Oklahoma State, who was then No. 6 in the nation and favored to win. His come from behind victory capped off by a 66-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders to take the lead with just seconds remaining in the game. After considering his future as a professional, Bell made the switch back from pass-thrower to pass-catcher and took on the tight end position in his final season. The San Francisco 49ers would draft the "Belldozer" in the 4th round as a tight end after the Kansas-native caught four touchdown passes as a senior.

Blake Bell Career Statistics
Season Rushing Touchdowns Passing Touchdowns Receiving Touchdowns

2011

13

0

0

2012

11

0

0

2013

0

12

0

2014

0

0

4

Total

24

12

4

5

Breakdown: Thomas looked like your prototypical quarterback coming out of Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High School. His 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, strong arm, mobility, and experience in a spread offense made him an ideal choice as someone who was ready for the modern day Big 12. When forced into duty early in his career, Thomas surprised many with how apt he was as a runner, even tallying a 100-yard rushing game in a win at Texas Tech. However, he was splitting his time with baseball and struggled to find consistency throwing the ball. Thomas switched full-time to football in 2015 in an attempt to make a run for the starting job before ultimately falling short to Baker Mayfield. He then made the final switch to baseball full-time, where Thomas eventually found success hitting .299 with six home runs last season. The former Oklahoma quarterback was drafted as an outfielder by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 13th round in 2016 and signed a contract with a $300,000 signing bonus.

Cody Thomas Career Statistics
Season Games Played-Games Started Completion Pct. Yards Touchdowns Interceptions

2013

7-3

45.5%

342

2

4

2014

3-0

33.3%

1

0

0

Total

10-3

44.9%

343

2

4

4

Breakdown: It was big news when Nichol de-committed from Michigan State and announced he would be signing with Oklahoma, who had just lost Rhett Bomar unexpectedly and opened up an enticing void. As a true freshman, the Lowell (Mich.) native was immediately thrust in a quarterback competition that included JUCO transfer Joey Halzle, a local three-star in Sam Bradford, and the highly touted Nichol. Ultimately, Bradford would not only win the job, but cement himself as one of the best quarterbacks in school history. Seeing the writing on the wall, Nichol transferred back to Michigan State, where he would eventually make his mark in East Lansing as a receiver, catching a game-winning Hail Mary from Kirk Cousins against Wisconsin.

3

Breakdown: Almost immediately upon arriving in Norman, offensive coordinator and Lincoln Riley targeted, landed, and signed Kendall as his first quarterback recruit. Riley knew Kendall from his time as East Carolina's offensive coordinator and chose the former Waxhaw (N.C.) Cuthbertson standout over regional signal-callers like Shane Buechele. As an early enrolle, Kendall has already made a positive impression at OU and surprised many with his poise, mobility, and strong arm as a should-be high school senior in Oklahoma's spring game last April.

2

Breakdown: Oklahoma scored a big recruiting victory when they beat out most of the country, including Southern Cal, for the southern California star. Grady was swallowed up early in his career by the successes of Jason White during his senior and super-senior seasons. Despite seeing some success in mop-up duty behind White, Grady transferred to Utah in 2005. While in Salt Lake City, Grady struggled to win the starting job and completed just 50% of his passes when forced into action. As fate would have it, Grady landed back in Oklahoma as the quarterback for the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz arena team in 2009. He has kicked around arena football since and was last seen in 2015 with the Jacksonville Sharks.

Tommy Grady Career Statistics
Season Completion Pct. Yards Touchdowns Interceptions

2004

85.7%

63

1

0

2006 (Utah)

50.0%

102

1

3

2007 (Utah)

50.4%

681

4

3

Total

53.8%

846

6

6

1

Breakdown: The infamous story of Rhett Bomar is widely known. He and Adrian Peterson gave Oklahoma two of the top four players in the country from the class of 2004 and the Grand Prairie (Texas) quarterback was going to be the heir to Heisman Trophy winner Jason White. Some promising moments as a redshirt freshman in 2005, along with a Holiday Bowl MVP in an upset victory of No. 5 Oregon, Bomar had the Sooners poised to be a national contender in 2006. However, just before the start of the season, Bomar was dismissed from the team for being paid hours by an employer he did not work and was forced to transfer to Sam Houston State. While it wasn't the storybook script some expected, it wasn't the end of the world for Bomar or Oklahoma. The New York Giants selected Bomar in the 5th round after finishing his career at SHSU and OU went on to win the 2006 Big 12 Championship with Paul Thompson at quarterback and the absence of Bomar ultimately allowed the opening for Sam Bradford to emerge and win Oklahoma's fifth Heisman Trophy in 2008.

Rhett Bomar Career Statistics
Season Completion Pct. Yards Touchdowns Interceptions

2005

54.2%

2,018

10

10

2007 (SHSU)

59.1%

2,209

10

6

2008 (SHSU)

56.2%

3,355

27

13

Total

56.4%

7,582

47

29