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Persistence pays off for OU with Thomas
Sometimes you can just be forgotten. When you've been committed for 13 months, people forget you exist. When you're not vocal on social media, you tend to fade into the background.
One coach never gave up the hope, though. OU cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright kept periodically checking in to see how things were going. This last checkup – this time – Thomas was ready to listen.
"Coach Wright reached out to the school one day here recently," Thomas said. "It was real recent. He's always wanted me, and I figured I'd listen."
Thomas, just shy of being regarded a four-star safety by Scout, was offered by the Sooners in August. But once no visit of any kind was ever discussed, most assumed things just fizzled out and everybody moved on.
Thomas said that had been the case throughout the process. He would tell schools he's good with Northwestern and they would back off. Only Wright and OU kept calling back. Add in OU's upset victory in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and now Thomas has something to think about.
"They're coming off a really great season," Thomas said. "They win 10 games almost every season for as long as I can remember. This isn't a one season thing. One season isn't going to change anything. They've been doing this for a long time."
The defensive back class in the state of Texas for 2014 is so elite and so deep, and Thomas really took himself out of the equation with such an early commitment. Either way, he doesn't regret the way he has handled things.
"Not at all," Thomas said. "In the end, I get to visit two really good schools. For me, it's a win-win no matter where I go."
His tone seems to indicate this isn't a courtesy visit, this is a very meaningful visit and his first chance to see Norman. Things get more complicated as Thomas said the Northwestern coaching staff wasn't too thrilled about him visiting OU.
That's consistent with how the Wildcats have been in the past in terms of not being pleased about other visits. Could a flip happen to OU this weekend?
"I want to take a look," Thomas said. "Time will tell. I'm taking a visit. We'll see what happens."
OU lucks into Randolph situation
When things are going good, they're going good. And for OU on the trail right now, it's safe to say things are going good. It reaches a point where you just run into top prospects by happenstance.
OU and Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln safety Kendall Randolph had zero contact before the new year. Now a visit is set up, and it's not outlandish to say the Sooners are out in front for the three-star prospect.
He was invited to the Semper Fi game and his roommate just happened to be OU cornerback commit Tito Windham. Of course Windham was one of four OU commits in the game, and he said he spent most of the weekend with Windham and fellow OU commits Dallis Todd and Marcus Green.
"They were talking to me and telling me I had to go to OU," Randolph said. "So they told the coaches and then I started talking to them. They asked if I was serious, and once I said I was, I had the offer."
It has been cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright leading the way with nearly every day communication with Randolph since the offer has been made.
Randolph didn't know what to expect with Wright, but he definitely didn't expect him to be the way he is.
"He's a real cool person," Randolph said. "I can't believe how mellow he is. We get along real well. It has been an instant connection."
OU wasn't the only school to make the leap during that week as UCLA also made the offer to Randolph. It still remains to be seen if Randolph will visit the Bruins, but some sort of visit will happen even if it's just an in-home with the UCLA staff.
Randolph said OU had never entered his mind until talking with the commits. But he had a secret. For as much as Windham, Todd and Green were fired up about the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Randolph didn't want to rain on their parade.
"I couldn't believe it," Randolph said. "It actually really surprised me. I caught three OU games this season, but I wasn't like really paying attention. They did a great job and all of them were jumping around the room and stuff celebrating."
Randolph was going to visit Louisville this weekend but has called that off. He is set to visit Kentucky next weekend and then see Norman for the first time Jan. 31 weekend. He has an in-home visit with Wright scheduled for Monday.
He said he might wait until signing day before announcing. His father is going to join him on the Kentucky visit, while his mother is going to OU. And as for position, he doesn't care.
"I'm a real versatile player," Randolph said. "I can tackle. I'm real physical, not afraid of contact. But if you ask me my strength, I would say I'm real good at covering people."
Frison, Quick hit the road
This isn't just a big visit weekend in Norman. Several schools are in line with OU's thinking and bringing the house this weekend. One of them is Arizona State. The Sun Devils have loaded up the weekend with commits and top OU target West Valley City (Utah) Granger offensive tackle Kenyon Frison.
Frison, moved up to a four-star prospect, is committed to Utah but is visiting ASU this weekend and Nebraska next weekend before making his decision between ASU, Utah, Nebraska and OU. The Sooners are in a good spot, but their bullet has been shot with Frison's official visit in November.
OU has had a lot of bounces go its way lately, but this isn't one of them. Quick had an incredible relationship with Steve Sarkisian when he was coach at Washington, but Quick didn't like the vibe at Washington.
With Sarkisian at USC, it feels like things falling into place. Now OU has been incredibly persistent with Quick throughout the process and will no doubt be a factor, but this is the weekend for the Trojans to leave their mark.
Quick is also expected to visit UCLA next week and then decide on signing day.***Click here to discuss all things OU recruiting***