NORMAN, Okla. – With immediate needs elsewhere, little attention has been paid to ESPN 300 quarterback Cody Thomas, who inked with the Sooners on signing day.
But Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops made it clear Wednesday that Thomas wasn’t just a thrown-in quarterback the Sooners added to fill out numbers.
Stoops believes Oklahoma is bringing in a player with elite quarterbacking potential -- even daring to compare him to former Heisman winner Sam Bradford.
“With Sam it just seemed so effortless with how quick his release was, and Cody has got a great release, a great arm, he’s just so athletic,” Stoops said. “With Sam, he picks up a golf club he shoots even par, on a basketball court he would be one of the top three guys picked in the room. Whatever he did he did it well, and Cody is like that. Everything he does, he does it well.”
Before signing with the Sooners, Bradford was also a prolific high school basketball player and a scratch golfer. Thomas is a multi-sport prep star as well, and is one of the top high school baseball outfielders in the country. Thomas, who threw for 4,154 yards and 51 TDs as a senior for Colleyville (Texas) Heritage, also plans to play baseball for the Sooners, something Stoops said he not only agreed to, but encouraged.
“He’s too talented not to play,” Stoops said. “If God gives you that kind of talent, then you need to use it, and we can work around that.
“We want him to play baseball. I'd be excited to watch him. If he could help our baseball team, I think it'd be great.”
While Thomas will have to juggle football and baseball during the spring, Stoops said Thomas is more than capable of handling it.
"We only practice 15 times through the entire spring," said Stoops, who joked that he might take the entire team to watch Thomas play baseball on an off day. "We have a couple of times this spring where we’re only on the field three times that week, so we can make it work. He’ll have all summer to be out there throwing with his teammates and getting the timing that he needs. In two-a-days you have a whole month of practices where he’s not playing baseball, so I think it can be managed. Now in the old days you had 20 or so practices, and you were involved more that way then maybe, but I don’t see it being a factor.”
Thomas figures to be selected in the upcoming baseball draft, possibly as high as the fourth or fifth round. The Sooners lost a quarterback two years ago to baseball when Archie Bradley opted to pursue a career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bradley, however, was a high first-round pick, and Stoops gave the indication Wednesday that he fully expects Thomas to enroll at OU this fall.
“He is adamant that he truly wants to play football, unless he was picked so high that he couldn't turn away from it,” Stoops said. “Most indications are that football is important enough to him that he's gonna want to pursue that. We wouldn't have pursued this and gone down this road if we didn't feel there was a great chance Cody would be with us.”
But while Thomas has a bright future hitting baseballs, Stoops believes Thomas has an even brighter future throwing footballs.
“Cody is a guy who football is important to him,” Stoops said. “It isn’t like 'Here’s just a baseball player who is playing football just for the heck of it.' He wants to succeed and he has the ability to be a professional in my eyes, and I don’t know that that’s fair to say out of high school, but he’s got a great future in football too with the athlete that he is and how well he throws the ball.”