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Quarterback prospect Cody Thomas held out for an offer from Oklahoma and finally got it
Although he didn’t necessarily want to, Cody Thomas was prepared to move on.
The highly touted Colleyville Heritage High (Texas) quarterback had been waiting on one particular scholarship offer to play football, but if it didn’t come, he had other options waiting for him.
“It did cross my mind they may not be interested,” said Thomas. “It was getting to that point where if they didn’t offer me in a decent amount of time, I was going to move on and worry about the other schools that had offered me.”
Those other programs included national powers like LSU, Auburn and Florida, just to name three. But Thomas held out hope Oklahoma would realize what he had to offer and want to bring him to Norman.
In the end, Thomas’ patience paid off in a big way.
“They were one of the last schools to offer me,” said Thomas. “I was really working to get that offer. When I got it, I just jumped on it. Thankfully, they did and I’m sitting here today committed to Oklahoma. They are an elite program. I started following them when I started following college football around middle school.”
Despite having offers from programs across the country, when it was the Sooners’ turn, Thomas turned into a little kid who had just opened the Christmas gift he had been asking for.
“It was unbelievable,” said Thomas. “It was from Coach (Josh) Heupel. When he told me, I was smiling from ear to ear. We built a pretty close relationship over the phone during the recruiting process. I just felt really comfortable with it.”
Considered one of the top dozen prep signal callers in the country, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Thomas is the only quarterback committed to the Sooners in the 2013 class. Rivals.com has him ranked No. 11 nationally at his position.
“Thomas is one of the best pro-style passers this class has to offer and is also a deceptively good athlete to boot,” said a recruiting analyst.
“Physically looks like a college player in terms of measurables and has a really nice feel for the game. Possesses elite size and bulk at this stage.”
Because of his prototypical size, skills and intangibles, Thomas has become one of the most sought-after players in Texas. Add to that arsenal a strong arm and 4.5 speed, and he could fit into any offense from the spread to the pro-style.
Quarterbacks like that are hard to find.
Thomas put his talents on full display recently in a 56-47 win against Irving MacArthur, an Oct. 12 game in which he threw for seven touchdowns and 541 yards. All of that came after he threw two early interceptions that helped put Heritage in an early three-touchdown hole.
Add resiliency to his arsenal.
Meanwhile, the overall intensity of the recruiting process can be overwhelming at times, and it admittedly caught Thomas a bit off guard at times.
“That was back when I hadn’t committed yet and all the coaches were talking to me,” said Thomas. “I had to constantly call them, and the reporters were trying to talk to me as well. That was probably when it was the most hectic. I just didn’t let all those pressures get to me. It was still a really fun process — wouldn’t have changed anything about it.”
Thomas’ head coach at Heritage said he handled the circus that can be high school recruiting like a savvy veteran.
“He’s done a good job with that,” said Heritage coach Mike Fuller. “(He’s) a pretty level-headed kid. Being in baseball probably helped because a lot of times he’s not available to do some things because he’s at a tournament. I think he does a good job of not getting the big head and staying humble and just showing up every day and trying to get better.
“It’s got to be tough. I haven’t had many (players) that have had that kind of attention from all over the country, but Cody handles it well.”
Thomas’ statistics are further evidence that he hasn’t allowed the outside world to affect how he prepares throughout the week or, more importantly, how he plays on Friday nights. Five games into his senior season, he had compiled 1,154 yards and 8 touchdowns on 89 of 144 passing — a 61 percent completion rate.
That included a 363-yard passing performance — to go along with seven total touchdowns — in a 54-38 win over Denton Guyer.
“I’m just going out there having fun,” said Thomas. “This is my senior year. I am playing with all the guys I’ve been growing up playing with. I’m really just trying to enjoy it.”
As a junior, Thomas threw for 3,057 yards, 32 TDs and 14 picks. But Fuller said he knew Thomas was going to be special when he first saw him play in eighth grade.
Thomas has been proving him right ever since.
"Physically, when you look at him, he’s real athletic, tall — kind of the prototypical quarterback body,” said Fuller. “When you watch him play, he’s got good velocity, he’s got good touch, he’s accurate. (He’s got) good mechanics and gets the ball out quick. Great on the move, throws well on the run.”
While his physical assets are impressive, Fuller believes it’s his other attributes that make Thomas special.
“What separates him and makes him better than a lot of guys is his demeanor,” said Fuller. “He lost some really good receivers last year, so he’s breaking in a new set of guys who are not quite there yet as far as execution and making the right adjustments all the time. He’s patient with them and encouraging to them. He’s not big-timing them or anything like that.”
Thomas said while he’s trying to enjoy his final year in high school, he’s also working on his craft every day, focusing on the little things that can keep a quarterback from improving his game. That includes keeping a wide base and footwork.
Even though Thomas said he’s committed to Oklahoma, anything can change between now and signing day. And even beyond that. Because he could also be a top baseball recruit, Sooner fans could see him on the OU diamond or in a MLB uniform at some point.
“Right now, I’m pretty much set it’s going to be the Sooners,” said Thomas. “Looking forward to just being able to go out there and compete. I am a real big competitor. I just want to go out there and show what I can do and try to get on the field as quick as possible."
Thomas’ competitive nature doesn't just show up when he’s throwing touchdown passes. He does whatever it takes to help his team win games.
“I think the play that more exemplifies what type of person he is and team player he is was when we were playing Grapevine last year,” said Fuller. “We ran counter with the running back to the right from our on 30. The running back bounced out to the right sideline, then cut back across field. You can see on film that Cody realizes he’s going to need help to get into the end zone. He’s 30 yards behind, gets on his horse and catches him.
“He passes everyone on the field, blocks two guys,” continued Fuller. “One at about the eight and the other at the two to get the kid in the end zone on the left sideline for a 70-yard TD. That was the most excitement he showed all year.”
Oklahoma fans are hoping he delivers the same type of plays and excitement in the not-too-distant future.
(Editor's Note: This story appears in the Oct. 23 issue of Sooner Spectator magazine. To read more or subscribe, call toll free 1-877-841-8877)