Tom Herman’s first full recruiting class as Texas head coach is taking shape. The crop grew to three members Thursday afternoon when quarterback Casey Thompson (Okla.) pledged to the Longhorns in his high school gym. Thompson held 21 offers and is ranked the No. 157 overall prospect and the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in the nation, per 247Sports Composite.
The 6-foot-1, 184-pound four-star is set to visit Austin for Saturday’s Orange-White Game with a multitude of other top Texas targets. He joins Florida wide receiver Justin Watkins and in-state linebacker Byron Hobbs as early members of Texas’ 2018 recruiting class. It is unclear whether the Longhorns will pursue a second quarterback in the class, but the lack of scholarship numbers on campus suggests Herman could look for a second member by national signing day.
Skillset: Thompson’s production as a prep quarterback is tough to ignore. He began his varsity career as a freshman, throwing for 1,180 yards and 10 touchdowns while adding 553 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. He did throw eight interceptions and only completed 49 percent of his passes, however.
His accuracy and decision-making improved as a sophomore and junior. He passed for more than 2,000 yards in each of his past two years and enters his senior season with impressive numbers. In three years, Thompson has totaled 6,580 yards and 70 touchdowns to just 17 interceptions. He’s added 2,150 yards and 39 touchdowns as a runner. He’s completed 62 percent of his passes since his junior year and only thrown nine interceptions since his freshman season.
Thompson is a true dual-threat quarterback with family pedigree. His older brother, Kendal, once played for Oklahoma and Utah, and is now a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins. His dad, Charles, played quarterback at Oklahoma in 1987 and 1988.
Immediate impact: It’s unlikely Thompson is asked to compete for a starting spot as a true freshman. Though it is likely his goal, like it is with most high-profile players, Thompson will find it tough beating out both Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger in the summer of 2018. Buechele will be entering his junior season with Ehlinger readying for his sophomore campaign. The Longhorns need numbers at the position and Thompson could find himself third on the depth chart the day he steps foot on campus. To play early, he’d need a combination of transfer and injuries to take place in front of him on the depth chart. He could use a redshirt year to hone his technique to match his immense upside.
Fitting into the program: An Oklahoma legacy, it’ll be interesting to see how Thompson gravitates towards being a Longhorn. When Texas offered Thompson, he called it a dream offer and never shied away from his interest in Texas despite his family ties to the Sooners and his proximity to Norman. Oklahoma chose a different quarterback in the 2018 class, and one can be sure that serves as motivation for Thompson. Thompson is a likeable prospect with a fun personality. Other recruits gravitate towards him and Thompson’s first role as a Longhorn will be to help build the 2018 class into one of the best in the nation.
Recruiting at the position: Herman’s recruiting strategy doesn’t involve spraying offers to every player capable of FBS football. The Texas staff takes its time and only offers a handful of available prospects at each position. Thompson was one of just seven signal-callers in the 2018 class with an offer from Texas. It is unclear whether Texas will chase a second quarterback in the 2018 class, but it is likely given the lack of scholarship numbers on campus. To get a second quarterback, Texas might need to offer more players at the position. It’s rare for two blue-chip quarterbacks to commit to the same class. Thompson becomes the leader at the position, but don’t be surprised if Texas chases a project at the position to stash away for the future.
2018 Texas Longhorns recruiting classHere's a look at the recruits who have committed to Texas coach Tom Herman for the 2018 recruiting cycle. Star rankings from Horns247. Oral commitments are non-binding. National signing day is Feb. 7, 2018.
|Justin Watkins||WR||Vanguard (Fla.)||4||2/25/17|
|Byron Hobbs||LB||Ft. Worth Eastern Hills||3||4/7/17|
|Casey Thompson||QB||Southmoore (Okla.)||4||4/13/17|
|Cameron Rising||QB||Newbury Park (Calif.)||4||4/22/17|
|Ron Tatum||DE||Putnam City (Okla.)||4||4/26/17|
*Editor’s note: The original story misidentified Kendal Thompson as Casey’s younger brother.