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Monday, March 18, 2013
Sooners quarterback pursuit taking shape

By Bob Przybylo

NORMAN, Okla. -- If you’re waiting for a litany of Oklahoma quarterback offers for the Class of 2014, you’re going to be waiting for a long time.

Sorry, that’s simply just not the way OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel has approached the pursuit of his quarterbacks. He’s patient. He’s deliberate. He’s thorough. And you might even say he’s stingy. He knows how important it is to not miss at the quarterback position.

With spring break this week, it’s a great time to evaluate who exactly are the leading contenders for the OU spot, the story behind the candidates and ultimately and who will be the recruit to pledge to the Sooners:

David Cornwall
ESPN Watch List quarterback David Cornwell has picked up several offers and might be bound for the SEC.
David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North, 6-5, 215, No offer)

If there’s one quarterback that Heupel might have taken too long to get into the mix with, it’s Cornwell. Playing his junior season at Jones (Okla.) High, about 30 minutes away from Norman, there was very little contact between Heupel and the ESPN Watch List quarterback.

SEC schools have realized his potential as Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee are among his numerous offers. Heupel got back into the race last month with an in-school visit and talk with Cornwell. Heupel told Cornwell that a junior day appearance wasn’t nearly as important as attending a spring practice.

So far Cornwell has not seen a practice, and the Crimson Tide might be the clear leader because of the interest they have shown throughout the process.

An offer could change things, but Cornwell operates a little differently than most. He’s not going to say he doesn’t like offers -- because he does -- but it’s more about the relationships than the offer.

In that regard, that could help the Sooners. But Heupel will have to step it up with Cornwell if the Sooners are going to be a legitimate school to consider.

Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe, 6-3, 205, Offer)

Maybe OU doesn’t need to get too involved with Cornwell because it has found its man in Hansen, another Watch List member. Hansen is currently the only quarterback with an OU offer, but it’s too early to peg the Sooners as the favorite at this point.

This week could prove crucial to where Hansen ends up playing college. He is finally going to start making some visits, and the No. 1 stop is Texas A&M.

Hansen has expressed interest in the Aggies but has never seen the campus. How he feels after this week will give everybody a great indicator of how close OU is to securing a quarterback.

Heupel has been relentless with Hansen since he was a freshman. He has offers from Auburn and Ole Miss and picked up a Kansas State offer last week, so the Hansen train is not slowing down anytime soon.

OU has made its intentions clear that Hansen is its guy. Now it’s up to Hansen to decide if the Sooners are his school. Hansen’s plan is to make as many unofficial visits necessary in the next few weeks and make a decision. He is not going to drag this process out.

Coleman Key (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow, 6-4, 199, No offer)

Key doesn’t have an OU offer, but he has been the one target who has let his feelings known early. His dream is to be OU’s quarterback. That’s what he wants to do. But unlike Hansen, Key doesn’t control his own destiny and will have to see how the chips fall.

He has offers from Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan, among others, but it does feel like the best is yet to come with Key. He’s on the radar at Penn State. Bedlam rival Oklahoma State really likes what Key brings to the table.

He went to OU’s first junior day where Hansen was offered. Disappointed but not discouraged, Key said all that has done is provide massive motivation for him to work even harder.

Key picked up his game in the latter half of his junior season, and he normally performs incredibly well at camps, which should make for an interesting spring and summer.

Heupel was clear that he’s not off OU’s radar but that Heupel also isn’t quite ready to pull the trigger on an offer.

Foster Sawyer (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints, 6-5, 210, No offer)

Foster Sawyer
Class of 2014 signal-caller Foster Sawyer wants to hear more from the Sooners.
It might seem crazy to have three in-state quarterbacks and limit the search, but that seriously is just how good this crop is for 2014. But if the Sooners are going to venture out of state, remember Sawyer’s name.

Sawyer started talking to Heupel following the new year, and Sawyer had plans to attend OU’s junior day but was unable to make it.

Back then, he was still searching for his first offer. Now? Sawyer has around 15 offers. Not to boast, but Sawyer cannot remember all of his offers.

A couple that stand out are Alabama and TCU. The Horned Frogs are close to home, while the Tide have had their eyes on Sawyer for more than a year.

Sawyer isn’t messing around, either. He’s looking to make his decision before the summer. He doesn’t have an OU offer, but he said he would love to hear more from the Sooners before making a decision.

Summary: Much like 2013, it's in the hands of one recruit. ESPN 150 quarterback Max Browne held all the cards and picked USC over OU. The Sooners fared just fine with ESPN 300 quarterback Cody Thomas. This time OU's future is in Hansen's hands. With his numerous ties to OU and his great relationship with Heupel, he would be a natural fit. But is it what Hansen wants?