The Oklahoma quarterback battle on the recruiting trail has felt like a powder keg ready to explode the last couple of weeks.
It finally did Thursday as Cody Thomas (Colleyville, Texas/Heritage) verbally committed to the Sooners, his father Pete Thomas confirmed to SoonerNation. Cody Thomas informed OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel on Tuesday night but stayed quiet about letting the news out, Pete Thomas said.
"We're pumped for this opportunity," Pete Thomas said. "I told Josh when we started this thing that Cody has been a Sooner fan since he was little."
In the end, it all came down to relationships, he said.
"Every school you go to is going to have great facilities," Thomas said. "But it's the relationships that are different. Cody just hit it off real well with Josh right from the beginning."
Heupel has been evaluating his top targets extensively in the last month and pulled the trigger on a Thomas offer last Monday.
Thomas, who is 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, was still in the middle of his baseball season when the offer came, so there was no immediate reaction. But that all changed when Colleyville Heritage was eliminated from the postseason last weekend. Thomas wasted little time making a move on his football future.
"He is a great athlete," Colleyville Heritage coach Mike Fuller said. "He has the perfect demeanor for a quarterback. He doesn't get too up or too down about anything."
Thomas, ranked No. 11 among pocket-passing quarterbacks, threw for 3,296 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. He is the seventh commitment of the 2013 class and fourth on offense.
OU's top QB target was Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline). But when Browne chose to commit to USC, the door opened for several top quarterbacks to stake their claim as being the guy for the Sooners.
Kelly Hilinski (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) was proactive in trying to reach out to Heupel. The two had several talks, but Heupel never made the visit to California. In-state product Brayden Scott (Tahlequah, Okla./Sequoyah) has known Heupel since he was in eighth grade. In late April, Heupel and Scott visited for more than three hours. Then Hayden Rettig (Los Angeles/Cathedral) entered the mix. Rettig is a four-star prospect and ranked No. 12 as a pocket-passing quarterback. Heupel was supposed to visit Rettig last week but had to postpone his trip twice.
Though Thomas was always busy with baseball, he never lost contact with Heupel this spring. When there was speculation the Sooners had moved on from Thomas, he refuted those rumors by saying he was still in constant communication with Heupel.
Thomas took an unofficial visit to OU in late March and didn't receive an offer, but he also never ruled out the Sooners after that trip. He didn't have much time to work on football in the last month, but he had enough for Heupel to come down and visit him recently before getting the OU offer.
"He has handled this situation very well," Fuller said. "He's a good student and a great leader. One of the most natural born leaders I have coached."
There has never been a question about Thomas' ability, who is also a highly touted baseball prospect. But the Sooners realized with his talent, the gamble is worth the risk. It might have taken a lot longer than some anticipated, but the Sooners have their man at quarterback for the 2013 class.