- Bob Przybylo, Reporter, RecruitingNation
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No position gets scrutinized more in the recruiting world than quarterback. A prime example of that was Oklahoma’s pursuit to find the perfect signal-caller for its 2013 class. In most years, schools are only looking for one quarterback. It takes time and a lot of effort.
For the Sooners, it wasn’t easy. There were a lot of bumps and turns in the road, but OU landed one of its prime targets in Cody Thomas (Colleyville, Texas/Heritage). Thomas, a four-star prospect, is ranked No. 11 as a pocket-passing quarterback and verbally committed to the Sooners on Tuesday even though he went public with the news on Thursday.
How did we get here? A timeline of Oklahoma's quarterback search for the class of 2013.
November 2011: Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright, Texas/Whitewright) attends Oklahoma’s victory against Texas A&M. It is on this weekend that Swoopes says his OU offer was implied, and he is clearly one of OU’s top choices.
Feb. 3, 2012: A day before OU’s first junior day, the Sooners make their first known offer at the position to four-star prospect Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline).
Feb. 4: OU’s first junior day brings in two top quarterbacks. Swoopes is joined by top in-state signal-caller Brayden Scott (Tahlequah, Okla./Sequoyah). Swoopes is happy with the visit but not blown away by everything. Scott doesn’t receive an offer but is told by OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel they will stay in contact.
Quarterback Kelly Hilinski (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) is invited initially before being asked by Heupel to stay home. Quarterback J.T. Barrett (Wichita Falls, Texas/Rider) is also invited but cannot attend.
Feb. 17: Swoopes, ranked the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country and coming off a fantastic visit at Texas’ junior day, commits to the Longhorns. He is ranked No. 9 in the ESPN 150.
March 3: On OU’s second junior day, there is not much focus on quarterbacks. Barrett once again is invited but cannot make it. Austin Robinson (Houston/Bellaire Episcopal) is invited, but the distance keeps him from making the trip.
March 9: Browne makes an unofficial visit to OU. He is given the red-carpet treatment by the staff. He is shown the Sooners’ target board. It’s Browne at No. 1 ... and then everybody else. Browne says he could not have had a better time and has OU and USC as his top two choices.
March 28: A new name enters in Cody Thomas. Busy with baseball, Thomas manages to sneak in an unofficial visit on a Wednesday. He is not offered and is told by Heupel they will keep in touch.
March 30: Scott makes an unofficial visit to the campus. He says he loves the visit and felt more comfortable with Heupel and OU coach Bob Stoops than ever before.
April 2: Browne, ranked No. 2 as a pocket-passing quarterback and No. 13 in the ESPN 150, says he will announce between OU and USC on April 4. Browne visited USC the previous weekend, and the Trojans looked like the favorite.
April 4: Browne commits to USC, and the race is on for OU to find its next target. Scott expresses his interest in a major way. But nobody stands out more than Hilinski. Minutes after Browne’s commitment, Hilinski texts Heupel saying Hilinski is still ready to be OU’s quarterback.
Where Hilinski is proactive, Scott elects to wait and see if Heupel will contact him.
April 9: Hilinski and Heupel were unable to talk on Easter weekend and instead have a lengthy discussion the next day. Heupel tells Hilinski it is down to three quarterbacks: Hilinski, Scott and Thomas. Heupel says he is going to make one offer after he is done evaluating things.
April 14: OU’s spring game. No 2013 quarterback targets are there. It wasn’t because they couldn’t make it but because Heupel told them it is not necessary. He will evaluate later and needs to see each quarterback throw in person.
April 18: Barrett commits to Ohio State. Barrett never ruled out Sooners, but it became apparent Heupel was looking for something else. Barrett is ranked the No. 12 dual-threat quarterback and is a four-star prospect.
April 27: Heupel visits Scott for more than three hours. Scott comes away feeling very positive about his position with OU. Scott is under the impression Heupel will evaluate all three quarterbacks before making a decision.
Late April: A new name enters the conversation in Hayden Rettig (Los Angeles/Cathedral). Rettig is coming off a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee but shows he has fully recovered. Rettig says Heupel first began talking to him in February, and the two have been talking about once a week or once every two weeks.
April 29: With there being some speculation about him being out of the race, Thomas ends those rumors. He says he just talked to Heupel on the phone, and he is definitely still in the conversation.
May 7: Thomas is offered by OU. It is revealed later that even though Thomas was in the middle of his baseball season, Heupel was able to visit him for further evaluation.
May 9-10: Planned visits to see Rettig are postponed by Heupel. There are two lines of logic: it was either because of the indefinite suspensions to receivers Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson, or it was because Thomas was giving Heupel some positive signs he might be close to committing.
Heupel tells Los Angeles Cathedral coach Kevin Pearson there were pressing team matters that had to be dealt with, and Heupel still planned on visiting the following week. There are no further updates with Hilinski or Scott at this point.
May 15: Thomas quietly commits to the Sooners late at night, confirms Pete Thomas, Cody’s father. Cody Thomas and Colleyville Heritage coach Mike Fuller do not tell anybody so Thomas can let the other schools know he has committed to the Sooners.
May 16: Rumors circulate that Heupel will not make visit to Rettig. Late in the evening, Rettig and Pearson are both under impression Heupel will be there.
May 17: Pete Thomas and Mike Fuller let the world know the Sooners have found their quarterback for the 2013 class.
It was a six-month journey, but OU got exactly who it was looking for. Thomas has been a lifelong OU fan and it was his relationship with Heupel that sealed the deal, according to Pete Thomas.
No position gets scrutinized more in the recruiting world than quarterback. A prime example of that was Oklahoma’s pursuit to find the perfect signal-caller for its 2013 class.