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Pieces fit for quarterback Tanner Schafer, OU

Get to know OU's latest preferred walk-on QB, Tanner Schafer

Oklahoma’s quarterback situation went through a massive change in the last couple of months. Gone is Trevor Knight, transferred to Texas A&M.

Gone (at least for now) is Cody Thomas, electing to give it his all full-time with baseball this spring. In is Kyler Murray, a former five-star quarterback who won’t be eligible until the 2017 season.

In is Austin Kendall, a four-star quarterback who was in high school two months ago and is the only other eligible scholarship quarterback.

Panic didn’t set in with offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, just like it didn’t set in before when OU took zero scholarship quarterbacks for the 2015 class.

“Not really,” said Riley about finding a second one. “We feel really good about those two on campus right now and we just did not feel like we wanted to rush into it. It’s hard to get two good ones in the same class. It’s hard to do. The last thing we wanted to do was settle.

“With the guys we have now, with the guys that we’ll have for next year, including the guy we’ll bring in with the 2017 class, we feel pretty good about where that position is at.

But depth doesn’t hurt. And OU added just that late last week when Canadian (Texas) High quarterback Tanner Schafer accepted a preferred walk-on spot with the Sooners.

Schafter was 31-0 as a starting quarterback with 100 touchdowns and nine interceptions in winning back-to-back Texas 2A state championships.

“I was leaning toward OU whenever they called me,” Schafer said. “I grew up a Sooners fans and talked to Coach Riley and let him know it’s where I want to be.”

Schafer, listed around 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, had other options. He reportedly had an offer from Tulsa last spring before taking too long and the Golden Hurricane understandably moving on.

He had an offer from Ohio the week before signing day, but he wanted to stay a lot closer to home. Abilene Christian was offering a full ride as well, but he was willing to stick it out.

He’s glad he did now with the way everything has worked out.

“Not really,” said Schafer on if it was a tough decision. “Whenever OU called, it was a big deal for me. Texas Tech was talking to me, but they were kind of inconsistent with everything.”

Schafer said he grew up a big OU fan and went to several games until he hit high school. The long drive to Norman, while also playing high school football made it a lot more difficult.

OU hasn’t gone to Canadian since the days of Auston English, and Schafer said English was among the first people to send him a note of congratulations on accepting OU’s walk-on option.

“I know he was a great player here and a great player there,” Schafer said. “Everything I’ve heard about OU is positive, and I can’t wait to see what it’s like.”

He should get that chance. Schafer said the plan is to visit the campus next weekend to get a feel of everything and get a feel of his future home.

Schafer said the No. 1 thing you can expect from him is accuracy. He’s not lying. Schafer completed 77 percent of his passes as a senior and threw for more than 7,900 yards in his two years as the starting quarterback.

It was a long road, but it’s ending in Norman. Schafer couldn’t be more excited.

“I’ve been pretty blessed to come from where I’m from,” Schafer said. “Things never really opened up with recruiting, but I was just trying to stay patient.

“OU understands where I’m coming from best. It’s where I want to go.”

Also among the first people to send him a note of congratulations? Baker Mayfield, OU’s Heisman candidate quarterback who of course was once in the same position Schafer will be in going forward.


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