The controversy surrounding former OU quarterback Charles Thompson helped end Barry Switzer’s long and storied Oklahoma career. That’s why it was so nice, in 2009, when Thompson’s son Kendal announced his intention to come play for Bob Stoops and the Sooners.
It wasn’t unexpected, per se. The Southmoore star was really just waiting for the offer. But it was great to see the Thompson family back in crimson and cream after a painful chapter in program history.
Of course, we all know how Kendal’s college career ended up. The talented signal caller got lost in the shuffle behind Blake Bell and Trevor Knight and eventually transferred to Utah, where he threw just three touchdowns in two seasons.
Now, Kendal’s little brother Casey is coming up through the Southmoore system. But the chances of him staying here for college are slim, mostly because of one guy: Cameron Rising.
Rising, the four-star talent from Newbury Park, Calif., should look familiar to Oklahoma fans. His game, and his school’s spread offense, are somewhat reminiscent of Baker Mayfield’s own. Yes, Rising is a traditional pocket passer with a few inches on Mayfield, but he also has the speed to burn careless defenses. And it’s not like Mayfield is taking off constantly, either. If Rising can develop a similar pocket awareness, extending plays like Mayfield can, the parallels might become truly vivid.
Rising has been committed since August, a perfect example of this brave new world where quarterbacks commit early — very, very early — and the rest of the class falls into place around them. It worked for the Sooners with Chris Robison, so now they’re trying it again.
But that doesn’t leave much room for a talent like Casey Thompson. Oklahoma almost never signs two-quarterback classes. Some years it doesn’t sign any at all. It certainly won’t change that trend this year, with the quarterback room already full to bursting. Right now the job looks like Rising’s to turn down, and OU quarterback recruits flip about as often as Oklahoma State wins national championships.
The thing about Casey, though — he’s a better prospect than his brother was. And his tape is absolutely dynamic. Maybe Rising could become Mayfield, but true believers think Thompson could become something closer to Lamar Jackson (without quite as much speed, obviously). His listed 40 on Hudl is .15 seconds faster than Rising’s, and he clearly looks to take off much faster than the current OU commit.
Do we want such talent in the hands of the ‘Horns? A Tuesday Burnt Orange Nation report says Thompson will be in Austin this weekend, with a decision expected later this spring.
I will be committing this spring! Most likely during spring eval or spring ball April/May. Announcing a commitment date later ⌛️— Casey Thompson (@LilThurm) February 19, 2017
Thompson does, of course, hold a (probably uncommitable) Sooners offer in his back pocket. Despite the odds, his 247 page still gives OU a 50% chance of nabbing the Southmoore star.
Some of that, I assume, comes from skepticism that Rising will actually stay on with the Sooners. He does, after all, hold offers from almost every major program on the West Coast. He could stay home if he wanted to. But again, I’d be shocked if Rising reverses course now. And every day that passes, as more teams lock up their 2018 QBs, makes it less likely for Rising to flip.
There’s a very real world where we look up in October 2020 and see the son and brother of Oklahoma quarterbacks taking the field in burnt orange. That’s going to be weird. It might even be painful (some good play from our own QB should mitigate those feelings). But in the end, it’s Rising who stuck his neck out for this program and committed months before he needed to. It’s Rising who asked the Sooners to build a class around him. It’s Rising who plans to carry this program into another decade of prominence.
So while I wish Casey Thompson the very best of luck wherever he ends up, I think it’s perfectly fine for the third Thompson quarterback to forge his own trail.