Sooners' 2016 QB quandary

OU has one quarterback for 2016 with Austin Kendall, but should the Sooners look for a second?

Saline (Mich.) High quarterback Josh Jackson was expected to visit Oklahoma during the first week of April. No idea if an offer was going to happen, but it was going to be a chance for Jackson to get to know first-year coach Lincoln Riley.

Just days before the trip, he was told to stay home. OU got its man in Waxhaw (N.C.) Cuthbertson four-star quarterback Austin Kendall. Riley hit a home run in his first at bat with the Sooners on the recruiting trail.

So the quarterback dominoes fell. Dwayne Haskins was no longer in the conversation, and he chose Maryland last month. Nick Starkel is a No. 1 quarterback, too, and he decided to jump on his Oklahoma State offer.

That’s fine because it looked like OU was set at quarterback. Four on campus, a walk-on in the fall and one major addition in February. It was time to part ways with other targets.

And then last Wednesday happened. Redshirt freshman Justice Hansen announced his intention to transfer and was granted a full release by Bob Stoops.

It was a major move because it felt like there was some unrest with Hansen following the season but that things were back to being where they needed to be after spring ball.

The hometown kid, it seemed destined for Hansen to become the next big in-state quarterback like Jason White (Tuttle) or Sam Bradford (Putnam City North).

Instead, Hansen has become like the latest in-state quarterback to have to find success elsewhere like when Kendal Thompson transferred to Utah.

Hansen’s departure leaves three experienced quarterbacks on the roster as Baker Mayfield, Trevor Knight and Cody Thomas all have starts under their belt.

And OU does have a very respectable walk-on quarterback coming in with Oklahoma City Heritage Hall’s Connor McGinnis.

But should the Sooners, specifically Lincoln Riley, head back to the recruiting trail and try to nab one more talented signal-caller for the 2016 class.

The feeling is it could be a sign of disrespect to Kendall, who certainly can stand alone as the only guy for OU’s 2016 class at quarterback.

But personal feelings have to be set aside when it comes to the overall health of the program. If Stoops, Riley believe OU needs another one to make up for the loss of Hansen, it’s time to hit the road.

And if the Sooners do, a couple of familiar names could work themselves back into the mix for that second spot.

It starts with Starkel. Despite being committed to OSU, he recently earned an offer from Texas A&M and has positioned himself as one of the best in the region.

Starkel is another product of the Joe Dickinson quarterback “academy” for lack of a better term as Dickinson and his staff have produced a number of top quarterbacks.

Dickinson also has a great relationship with Riley, and Starkel spent a lot of time with Riley for junior day back in March.

But if you’re Starkel, it would make sense if you felt like the second choice for OU. The Cowboys see him as No. 1 and that could be enough for him to stick with Mike Gundy and OSU.

The other one is Mustang (Okla.) High’s Chandler Garrett. With offers from Air Force and Wyoming, he’ll have other choices. But it sure feels like if Garrett wants to stay within the state, OU is the most realistic destination.

He was also at junior day and works with Dickinson. Sooners Illustrated is going to have a lot of chances to see Garrett in the next two weeks, and it will be interesting to see if OU reignites their interest.

The transfers and dismissals have opened up a few scholarships for the 2016 class, and quarterback might be where one more ‘ship is added.

There are choices if Riley elects to go that way. Thought to be a rather pedestrian summer on tap in terms of quarterback recruiting, things could get interesting in a hurry.


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