The first big shot in the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas with Bob Stoops and Tom Herman was fired by Herman on Saturday.
Newbury Park (Calif.) High quarterback Cameron Rising, who had been committed to OU since Aug. 7, announced he is heading to Texas.
Eight months of a commitment. A year’s worth (368 days to be exact) of developing the relationship, and now OU and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley must start all over again.
Before we examine the likely candidates to be on the watch for as the OU quarterback for #SavageTeam2K18, going to reflect on how we got here with Rising and Moore (Okla.) Southmoore quarterback Casey Thompson, also committed to Texas.
The two names have been linked for more than a year in the OU quarterback race and these 14 dates illustrate a bit about how it all went down and perhaps what’s to come now.
April 19, 2016: OU offers Rising
As OU fans patiently waited for Riley to offer Thompson as the unquestioned No. 1 choice for the 2018 class, a curveball was thrown last April. Riley made the offer to Rising, an unknown at the time in OU circles but certainly not in recruiting circles.
Rising was, for the lack of a better term, rising up the charts in recruiting and was absolutely going to be a name to watch in his junior season. His sophomore season was ridiculous, and Riley was making sure the Sooners were in the race.
May 18, 2016: OU offers Thompson
May was a crazy time for Thompson. The local kid, the son of former OU quarterback Charles Thompson, the brother of former OU quarterback Kendal Thompson, was starting to see his recruitment take off.
One day before the Sooners came into the picture, Ohio State offered Thompson. In other words, it was game on. It was time to figure out the 2018 quarterback spot for the Sooners, and Riley was going to have his answer before the 2016 season began. The waiting for Thompson was done.
June 4, 2016: Thompson visits OU’s camp
Now the days of Thompson throwing at OU’s camp are done. He did that heading into eighth grade, ninth grade and one more time following his freshman season. Now after his sophomore season and with an OU offer in hand, this wasn’t showcasing his arm.
But for anybody who thought Rising was the clear choice, it was moments like these that gave people pause. It spoke to the relationship that has been forged by Thompson and Riley, repairing any ill will that was there in the past between former offensive coordinator Josh Heupel and Kendal Thompson, who transferred from OU following the 2013 season.
Nothing earth-shattering here, but you could see how easy things were with Thompson and Riley. They had that comfort factor, no questioning there.
July 20, 2016: Rising visits OU
Things are heating up now. The dominoes are about to fall, and OU is able to get a huge visit from Rising and his family. Timing is everything, though, and head coach Bob Stoops is at ESPN for the day so the family has limited interaction with the head coach.
The relationship is almost purely built with Riley. Spend the whole day with Riley and getting a feel of what OU is like.
The Rising family was doing a cross-country tour of schools, trying to figure things out. After this visit, OU seems to be leaning toward Rising and Rising seems open to the idea of being a Sooner.
July 29, 2016: Thompson is at #ChampUBBQ
That logic gets thrown out the window when it’s Thompson who is seen at OU’s first ever #ChampUBBQ, one of the best recruiting ideas in years by the Sooners staff.
Thompson is having a good time, and it was a home run by the OU staff in terms of getting to know recruits and their families in a laid-back setting. Do not be surprised to see this return for the Sooners once again this summer.
Aug. 7, 2016: Rising commits to OU
Boom! The domino falls. It felt like a clear understanding by Riley to Thompson and Rising. The Sooners weren’t taking both of them, didn’t make sense. So whoever was first to jump was going to be that guy.
Thompson wanted more time to make more visits and figure it out. Rising was ready, and OU now had the cornerstone of the 2018 class along with Moore Southmoore five-star offensive tackle Brey Walker.
Nov. 27, 2016: Tom Herman is hired by Texas
At the time, OU fans didn’t give this a moment’s thought regarding the quarterback class for 2018. OU had Rising. Thompson wasn’t offered by Texas, and it’s not like an OU legacy was going to be a Longhorn. That wasn’t going to happen. Thompson had other options, wasn’t going to be Austin.
But the game was going to change somehow. The three-year stint of Charlie Strong was done, and Herman was there to shake things up. On the field, on the trail, with facilities, with personality, all that stuff.
Jan. 19, 2017: Texas offers Thompson
Oh really? Thompson’s patience might have taken his name out of the equation at OU, Ohio State, Miami and Clemson, but Texas is now knocking on the door. Hmm.
Feb. 1, 2017: Riley’s signing day edict
This wasn’t directed at Rising or Thompson in any way. But it was Riley explaining 100 percent what OU’s philosophy was when it came to quarterback recruiting.
Riley was praising now-freshman quarterback Chris Robison for committing in June 2015 and never looking back.
“It was important. We’d been pretty straightforward with that position in particular. That position is unique. It’s different. The recruiting of quarterbacks almost has its own set of rules and standards. It’s unlike any other position that you normally only take one. There’s normally only one on the field.
“The spots tend to go maybe a little bit quicker. Once a couple of dominoes start to fall, it goes quickly. That’s a conversation we have with quarterbacks before they commit here. That if there’s any hesitation or if they’re not 100 percent sold, then don’t commit. We don’t you to because when you do, then we’re done and you need to be done too.
“He stuck with that, which I appreciate. I think sometimes some of these recruits don’t realize that once you commit, you’re also starting to build that relationship and trust with your future position coach or coordinator or whatever it is.
“I think guys like Chris that stay committed that whole time, that trust starts to build even before they get on campus and I think it makes an impact on a little bit of your perception of them once they get on campus.”
Feb. 7, 2017: Texas offers Rising
The plot thickens. There’s no doubt OU anticipated Rising getting more offers despite being committed for six months at that time. He’s too good to assume nobody is going to be knocking on the door.
What you’re hoping for is that Rising slams the door shut and says he’s 100 percent with OU. But this door was kept ajar. Whether it was Nicko Rising, Cameron’s father, and his relationship with Herman or whatever it was, never was closed.
Nicko Rising played with Herman at Cal Lutheran although Nicko is a little older than Herman. Then Rising’s coach at Newbury Park, Keith Smith, played against Herman in high school in the same league in Ventura County.
Add that to Herman aggressively recruiting Rising’s older brother, but that not working because his brother wanted to attend a Pac-12 school (Arizona State ended up as the school).
April 7-8, 2017: Rising visits OU for spring game
OK. All the worries. All the trepidation. It’s gone. Rising has an incredible time at OU’s spring game. It’s not just Riley that Rising forms a bond with. It’s the town. It’s the staff. It’s the recruits. It’s the players.
The Sooners did everything right on this visit. Rising is seen wearing OU apparel at the spring game and had been wearing an OU hat at various camps during the spring.
This was huge. Rising was expected to visit Texas the following week, but the hope was for OU to blow him away so that Austin was never on the radar.
A day after the OU visit, Rising told Sooners Illustrated he wasn’t sure if he would visit Texas because of how great the OU trip was.
April 13, 2017: Thompson commits to Texas
Everybody is happy. The writing is on the wall. Rising is sticking with OU. Texas needs a quarterback, and Thompson is no slouch in that regard. Yea, OU fans have mixed feelings seeing Thompson as a Longhorn, but they understand the situation.
At least that’s what we thought.
April 15, 2017: Rising visits Texas
What?!?! Two days after Thompson commits to Texas. A week removed from a great trip to OU for its spring game. Rising does indeed make that trip to Austin.
Coincidentally, it’s at the Texas spring game that Thompson and Rising meet for the first time. Connected in so many ways in recruiting, this is what brings them together.
Rising doesn’t publicize his trip to Texas. No photos on social media. No tweets about being in Austin, but it’s discovered he was there. OU fans are waiting for an answer, but Rising goes silent to think things through.
April 22, 2017: Rising flips to Texas
That takes us to Saturday night. Rising thinks it all through and decides he wants to be a Longhorn and not a Sooner.
Talking with multiple sources, it’s clear Thompson knew Texas was taking two quarterbacks for the 2018 class. What wasn’t clear is who was going to be the other one. Thompson was in. Who was next? No idea what the impact of it being Rising has on Thompson, if any.
Austin and Herman won over Rising. Norman just didn’t resonate as much as OU needed it to with Rising for a future home. The atmosphere is different. The vibe is different in Austin with Herman leading the charge.
OU is winning conference championships. OU is updating its facilities. But there’s just something about the mystique of Texas, which is why the Red River Rivalry is what it is.
The unclear future of Riley made it tough for Rising and his family go all-in with the Sooners, wondering if Riley would become a head coach before Rising arrived or during Rising’s time in Norman.
With Herman just being hired and a full belief he is going to return the Longhorns to being a national power, no wondering. He’s going to be in Austin… and now so will Rising.
So where does OU go from here? That’s what Sooners Illustrated is going to examine next.