Cody Thomas

Sooners attempt to put to rest Baker Mayfield rotator cuff rumors

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It appears that, in the end, it’s much ado about nothing.  Probably.

Earlier this week, a report surfaced that Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was not a participant in 7-on-7 offseason workouts because of “an apparent shoulder injury.”  Specifically, an OU-specific Football Sickness website reported by was of “two independent sources,” “Mayfield’s absence from recent workouts is in fact related to a rotator cuff injury with his throwing shoulder.

A short time later, Guerin Emig of Tulsa World tweeted that a “[w]ell-connected source says Sooners QB has sore shoulder, no rotator cuff damage.” Wednesday night, the Sooners took the same social media site to further put cold water on the speculation surrounding Mayfield’s health.

Mayfield, a transfer from Texas Tech who was forced to sit out the 2014 season, and Trevor Knight, the 2014 starter, are viewed as the front-runners to claim the starting job this season. Neither grabbed a hold of the position exiting spring, however, so the competition will extend into summer camp.

Four-star 2013 signee Cody Thomas, the No. 2 quarterback a year ago, is also at least on the periphery of the competition, and could find himself in the middle of the positional fray before all is said and done.

JUCO the likely landing spot for ex-Sooner QB Justice Hansen

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Instead of sitting out the 2015 season at the FBS level, it appears Justice Hansen will drop down a few rungs and play immediately.

According to a tweet from ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad, “Justice is expected to transfer to Butler Community College” in Kansas. Late last month it was announced that the quarterback would be transferring out of the Oklahoma football program.

With the Sooner starting job likely coming down to a competition between Trevor Knight and Baker Mayfield, as well as the presence of four-star 2013 signee Cody Thomas on the roster, Hansen likely saw the depth-chart writing on the wall and chose to move on for a better opportunity at immediate playing time elsewhere.

If Hansen had transferred to another FBS program, he very likely would’ve been forced to sit out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA bylaws. As it stands now, he can play at the JUCO level in 2015, then transfer back up to the FBS and play in 2016.

A four-star member of OU’s 2014 recruiting class, Hansen was rated as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma; and the No. 160 player overall according to Rivals.com.  In addition to OU, Hansen held offers from, among others, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Kansas State, Missouri, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.

He took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.

Former four-star OU QB Justice Hansen to transfer

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Justice Hansen, a redshirt freshman Oklahoma quarterback from nearby Edmond, Okla., has announced his intention to transfer before appearing in his first game as a Sooner.

The former four-star recruit in the class of 2014 provided a statement to SoonerScoop.com explaining his decision to leave Norman. The site said Hansen will be given permission to transfer without restriction on his future destination.

I have done a lot of thinking, talking with friends and family, and most importantly, praying. In the end I feel it is in my best interest to move on from the University of Oklahoma and continue my football career elsewhere. I can’t thank coach Stoops, coach Riley and all the other coaches enough for how they have treated me during my time at OU.

I would also like to thank my teammates for pushing me and allowing me to be part of the family. The university was a great experience and I appreciate the opportunity. I had to proudly represent it. I wish nothing but the best for OU in the future. God Bless.

Hansen accounted for 7,298 combined passing/rushing yards and 85 touchdowns as a sophomore and junior at Santa Fe High School before seeing his senior season cut short due to an ankle injury.

Josh Huepel‘s dismissal from the staff likely played a role in Hansen’s decision, along with the presence of returning quarterbacks Trevor KnightBaker Mayfield and Cody Thomas. His departure creates an interesting conundrum for new OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley as Hansen was the Sooners’ only quarterback signee in 2014 and the program did not sign a signal-caller in its 2015 class.

10:04 p.m. ET update: Bob Stoops has released a statement on Hansen’s impending transfer.

Sooners QB backs away from baseball to focus on football

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One Oklahoma quarterback may be thinking about a date with Katy Perry. Another is choosing to step away from baseball in order to prepare for what could be a quarterback competition.

Cody Thomas has reportedly decided not to play baseball for the Sooners, which will allow him the time to provide his undivided attention on the quarterback competition in Norman. Thomas was the quarterback that filled in for Trevor Knight after the Sooners lost the starting quarterback to an injury against Baylor. Thomas accounted for 342 yards and two touchdowns, but struggled with his accuracy when called into action. He was picked off four times and completed juts 45.5 percent of his pass attempts.

If healthy, Knight will likely remain the starting quarterback in 2015. Thomas can benefit from putting in more work at the position though and if he comes on incredibly strong in the spring he might be capable of pushing Knight for the starting job closer to the start of the season.

Helmet sticker to The Oklahoman.

CFT Previews: The Russell Athletic Bowl

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WHO: No. 17 Clemson (9-3) vs. Oklahoma (8-4)
WHAT: The 25th Russell Athletic Bowl
WHERE: Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. ET Dec. 29 on ESPN
THE SKINNY: The story lines here are obvious – the quarterbacks and the defensive coordinators. Let’s start with the quarterbacks. Clemson is without Deshaun Watson after the freshman underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL. He played in the Tigers’ 35-17 win over South Carolina, and the program’s original plan was to play him in the bowl game and schedule surgery for January, but head coach Dabo Swinney decided the Russell Athletic Bowl wasn’t worth risking a potential All-American’s career over, so the surgery date was moved up. This leaves Clemson with senior Cole Stoudt, an on-again/off-again signal caller who actually finished the regular season as the club’s leading passer. Stoudt began the season as the starter but somehow got worse as the season progressed, and by November he could barely complete a pass against ACC defenses. That’s not an exaggeration. Stoudt went a combined 4-of-13 for 16 yards with four interceptions against Georgia Tech and South Carolina.

On the other sideline, Oklahoma is going through the opposite situation. Trevor Knight is set to return after leaving the Sooners’ 48-14 loss to Baylor with transient quadriplegia. Freshman Cody Thomas replaced Knight and completed 23-of-50 passes for 292 yards with two touchdowns and three picks in two games and change running the Sooners’ offense. And, really, Thomas’ running of the Sooners offense was simply throwing the ball to give Samaje Perine a rest from running over defenders who happened to be in front of him. The FBS single-game rushing record holder carried 85 times for 791 yards and 10 touchdowns since that Baylor loss, but left the Oklahoma State game early with a sprained ankle. In a related story, Oklahoma’s offense sputtered toward the end what turned out to be a horrific loss to Oklahoma State in the regular season finale.

Finally, the defensive coordinators. Brent Venables was an original member of Bob Stoops’ staff at Oklahoma, coming aboard as co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach working with co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Mike Stoops. When Mike Stoops landed the Arizona job in 2004, Venables took sole control of the Sooners’ defense and ran it aplomb. But when Stoops was canned at Arizona, he returned to Oklahoma and all of a sudden Venables was off to Clemson. In the three seasons since, Clemson has fielded a better defense than Oklahoma. Oklahoma has ranked 78th, 52nd and 33rd in yards per play allowed under Stoops, while Clemson has placed 69th, 23rd and first under Venables.

All in all, the Russell Athletic Bowl sets up to be an evenly matched game. Do you like Oklahoma with a healthy Perine and a returned Knight against one of the nation’s best defenses, or a shaky Stoudt playing without Chad Morris against a mediocre Oklahoma defense?

THE PREDICTION: Oklahoma 24, Clemson 21