NORMAN, Okla. -- Last year at this time nobody had heard of quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North). He hadn’t started a varsity game. He certainly didn’t have any offers, and he wasn’t on anybody’s radar.
My how things change. Cornwell, who is 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, is now ranked No. 24 in the ESPN 150 and the No. 1 pocket passer. As for offers, yeah, he’s got some of those, too.
After a whirlwind year, Cornwell is about ready to shut down his recruitment with a commitment in the next month. He said he is aiming for a decision within the first couple of weeks in June.
Cornwell was the first quarterback to earn an invite to the Elite 11 Finals with his performance last month in the Dallas area and has also earned an invite to The Opening. Two weeks later, the ESPN 150 rankings were released with Cornwell sitting pretty.
“Things haven’t really changed since the rankings have come out,” Cornwell said. “The ranking gets you in the door, but the rest is up to you. I’ve worked hard for it. The target is on my back, too, and I really like that.”
Cornwell’s fall was full of unofficial trips all over the country. His spring has been full of calls from coaches from schools like Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Ole Miss, to name a few.
Each call helps Cornwell learn something new about that particular school, and it has helped him narrow his decision it down to a few select schools.
“You can’t be overwhelmed by something that you’re so blessed by,” Cornwell said. “If I have to call someone once a night, I have no problem with it. There are plenty of guys who would love to be in my position.”
Right now Cornwell isn’t focused too much on recruiting. He transferred from Jones, Okla., to Norman North in the winter and is still waiting to hear if he will be eligible to play his senior season. Transfer rules for Oklahoma high schools can be difficult to follow, and the outcome isn’t clear.
Cornwell and his family have been advised by their attorneys to not speak on the matter, but they are hopeful it will be over soon.
So are his teammates.
“It means a lot to have David here as our quarterback,” said Norman North tight end Payton Prince, who has Tulsa and Memphis offers. “He can really help our program in so many ways. We’re definitely hoping everything turns out OK.”
When Cornwell returns to recruiting, there is no doubt a bevy of SEC schools will be in the conversation.
It has felt like the Crimson Tide are the favorite for Cornwell. He wouldn’t list his top schools, but has made multiple trips to Tuscaloosa in the last few months.
Alabama hasn’t been shy in offering quarterbacks, which might make some recruits back off. Cornwell has no intention of doing that.
“I feel good for those guys,” Cornwell said. “An Alabama offer puts an exclamation point on your recruiting. They’re the No. 1 team in the nation. They’re the dynasty.”
And they play by their own rules. Cornwell has committable offers from schools such as Virginia Tech, Auburn and Tennessee, among others. That’s not the case with Alabama as it has been understood by all the Tide quarterback offers that they need to attend the team’s camp in June and get the approval from Alabama coach Nick Saban.
Again, no problem for Cornwell.
“They can do that,” Cornwell said. “They have that right. They’ve won three out of the last four national championships. They have elite guys. Coach Saban and Coach [Doug] Nussmeier are the best around.
“You have the option. You don’t have to play by their rules. You can look around or commit to another school. I don’t mind the challenge. I’m going to be there.”
And Cornwell, it seems, has already been everywhere. He has taken visits to Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee in a short amount of time.
But a school that was among the first to offer was Virginia Tech. Cornwell said he has developed a strong bond with Frank Beamer’s staff, but he has yet to see the campus.
“I need to get out there and see the campus,” Cornwell said. “I’ve heard a lot of good things. I’m confident they’re going to turn things around this season and go to another major bowl game.”
He isn’t certain he will get to Virginia Tech, but that’s not going to slow down his commitment plans.
And for Cornwell, might as well not slow things down now.