Monday, January 13, 2014
State of the Position: Quarterback
By Brandon Chatmon
In the next few weeks leading up to signing day it’s a great time to take a position-by-position glance at Oklahoma’s roster. This series, called State of the Position, will look at the playmakers, up-and-comers and current commitments or targets at each position as recruiting really heats up during these final weeks before signing day on Feb. 5.
Knight and Bell took pretty much all of the snaps at quarterback in 2013. That’s a good and bad thing. Knight looked like a future star while winning the Allstate Sugar Bowl and OU wouldn’t have been there without Bell’s exceptional performance during the final drive of Bedlam. Yet, OU’s passing game didn’t look anything like the attack we’ve come to expect from the Sooners, passing for more than 250 yards just twice in 2013.
But the future looks bright for Knight, the redshirt sophomore who was outstanding in the Sugar Bowl and appears poised to enter 2014 in the same spot he started 2013: OU’s starting quarterback.
Bell, a senior, had terrific games against Tulsa, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech but stumbled in losses to Texas and Baylor. He’s a solid option but likely faces long odds to supplant Knight.
Thompson could be in position to slide in as Knight’s backup in 2014, despite Bell’s experience advantage. Coach Bob Stoops said Thompson is a better fit for some of the quarterback run game tactics they’ve used in 2013 as an explanation for turning to the redshirt junior during Bedlam. So seeing Thompson secure a spot on the depth chart wouldn’t be a major surprise.
Thomas is coming off a redshirt season where he impressed while running the scout team during his first semester on campus. This spring will be critical for him as he tries to rise on the depth chart although his baseball duties could make that challenge even harder.
The No. 101 player in the ESPN 300, Hansen will add another promising prospect to the quarterbacks meeting room. The UnderArmour All-American brings size, athleticism and the physical skills to excel running any offense.
Overall Grade: B+
The Sooners have a sophomore quarterback with exceptional talent in Knight, a veteran in Bell, an intriguing option in Thompson and two solid young prospects in Thomas and Hansen. If you add former Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield, who plans to walk on, the Sooners have a meeting room with depth and options unmatched by anyone in the Big 12. Yet without consistent production from Knight, or someone else, it won’t matter. If Knight can consistently perform at a high level as a sophomore, this grade quickly jumps to an A+. If not, OU could have a meeting room full of talented but inconsistent quarterbacks, much like it did in 2013.