Don't question Thomas' love of OU
Sooners four-star quarterback commit pushed for offer behind the scenes
COLLEYVILLE, Texas -- If there is one thing you can say about Oklahoma Sooners fans, it's that they are a passionate group of individuals. OU fans want their football players to have the same kind of love for the program that they do. The die-hard fans gravitate toward the recruits that express their admiration for the university and talk about how much an OU opportunity means to them.
For that reason, when it came to the search for OU's quarterback for the 2013 recruiting class, recruits like Kelly Hilinski (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) and Brayden Scott (Tahlequah, Okla./Sequoyah) were the first names to pop out of the mouths of fans.
But there was a third prospect in the running for a Sooners offer. A prospect many fans speculated about but had no idea what was going on inside his head.
What exactly was the story on Cody Thomas?
Thomas, a four-star prospect from Colleyville (Texas) Heritage, showed initial interest in the Sooners. But because he was so busy playing baseball, he was never vocal about how much he really wanted an offer from OU.
Thomas, who committed to the Sooners last week, is vocal now. And, as it turns out, he was vocal about his OU interest behind the scenes.
"I kept calling [Heupel]. I got him out here to watch me throw. I was relentless," Thomas said about getting Heupel to visit him earlier this month. "I kept on bugging him until he did come here. He was here for about 30-45 minutes before school one day when I threw with the receivers.
"I was still in the middle of baseball season so I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be. It was good enough to get his attention, and that's all that mattered."
Thomas, who is 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, received the OU offer two weeks ago on the Monday following Heupel's visit. He has offers from Florida, Notre Dame and Arkansas, among several others, however, he wasn't going to make a decision until he knew where he stood with the Sooners.
Once he received the offer, he knew it was time to make a decision. Thomas sat down with his parents and sorted the whole situation out.
"That was a really long day. It was Mother's Day, so we were busy and didn't get around to talking about things until 7 or 8 p.m.," Thomas said. "We talked for two hours but thought it was too late in the night to call Coach Heupel.
And that decision includes baseball. Thomas is a star outfielder for Colleyville Heritage and is expected to be selected in the the 2013 MLB Draft. ESPN scouts have projected him as a fourth- or fifth-round selection.
Thomas said that if he's drafted he'll will be forced to make a decision down the road. But right now, his focus is on playing football and baseball for the Sooners.
"Yeah, I definitely want to play both," Thomas said. "It's funny you ask that because Coach Heupel actually made up a schedule for me for the spring that included football, baseball and classes. It took a while for it to sink in, but it's a huge honor."
An honor that didn't come easily. Thomas made an unofficial visit to OU in late March in hopes of receiving an offer. But it didn't come.
What he did get -- besides a tour of the OU football facilities -- was a chance to spend time with OU baseball coach Sunny Golloway.
"I was able to visit with the baseball guys for almost an hour," Thomas said. "I got a tour of the place. I've actually played there before for a summer tournament, but it was good to see everything and be welcomed like that."
Thomas didn't begin following college football until he was in middle school. Several of his friends were OU fans, and that's where it all started. His dream of becoming a Sooner was cemented in the 2009 BCS National Championship game between OU and Florida. Even though the Sooners lost, Thomas came away impressed with OU.
Nothing was more important than his relationship with Heupel, however. Thomas said his desire to play both sports in college forced him to pay more attention on the recruiting trail. And he had to find out which coaches he could trust.
"I've talked with Coach Heupel on the phone more than any other coach," Thomas said. "I would call him multiple times a week. He is real honest, and I know I can trust him."
Heupel hasn't discouraged Thomas from playing baseball this summer, and his summer team is already starting to play games. Thomas said he plays around 60-70 baseball games each summer. But in the fall, he'll be ready and his high school coach knows OU has made the right choice.
"We are so happy for Cody for getting the chance to play at OU," Colleyville Heritage coach Mike Fuller said. "I think of Cody, and I think of his calm demeanor and his leadership. He doesn't have a big head at all, and he works just as hard with those younger kids on the JV as he does when he is practicing with the starters. He has the perfect personality for a quarterback."