After the lack of depth in the quarterback room was a major area of concern throughout 2017, the Texas Longhorns have two talents incoming as part of the 2018 class, including Newcastle (Okla.) product Casey Thompson, who signed his National Letter of Intent during the early signing period on Wednesday.
A Sooner legacy, while Oklahoma remained content with Newbury Park (Calif.) Cameron Rising, the Longhorns zeroed in on Thompson and by April 23, the four-star talent became one of Tom Herman’s first 2018 pledges, choosing Texas over Miami, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and others.
Of course, Rising flipped from Oklahoma and joined Thompson another Texas quarterback takes less than 10 days later, providing the ‘Horns with one hand-in-glove fit and another high-upside option.
An early enrollee, Thompson joins a quarterback room that will include a fellow early enrollee in Rising, sophomore Sam Ehlinger and junior Shane Buechele. For Thompson, who enters Texas on the heels of a record-setting career in Oklahoma after compiling 12,840 yards of total offense, the key between wearing a helmet or a headset for the next season or two is how quickly he’s able to adapt to the heightened level of competition of speed of the game.
In Thompson, Texas is getting a talent who seemingly fits Herman’s system ideally.
Despite the ability to make more than enough happen with his legs, as evident by Thompson’s 3,011 rushing yards and 47 scores throughout his high school tenure, he isn’t your every day dual-threat quarterback. As his passing prowess progressed throughout his four varsity seasons, Thompson developed into more a pure passer who appears to have a great level of comfort and awareness in the pocket. Of course, when the protection breaks down, Thompson utilizes his speed and shiftiness to create plays, but even then, he often keeps his eyes downfield and working through his reads until the last possible moment.
As a passer, Thompson displays a strong, accurate arm and although he’s not necessarily elite in that regard, he can make most throws on the field consistently, as he did en route to a career contribution of 9,829 yards and 107 touchdowns.
In short, although he’s not the nation’s top passer or the most electric runner, Thompson does just about everything really well. More notably, the entire package of what Thompson does well is quite comparable to the quarterbacks Herman has seen success with, as evident with Ian Boyd of Inside Texas referring to Thompson as a “slightly slower-triggered J.J. Barrett.”
247Sports provided another analysis of what the ‘Horns incoming quarterback brings to the table:
"Thompson has a video gamesque highlight tape that is filled with big play after big play. That is why he was able to capture Sophomore of the Year honors in the Midlands region following a dominating 2015 year. He can beat you with his arm or his legs and is a dual-threat. He is a winner who plays with confidence on the field. We really like how he seems to have a natural feel for the pocket and will work within it to make a play down the field, even though he has the skills to get outside of it and make plays. He throws well on the run and when being pressured but is always a threat to tuck the ball and pick up yardage when he needs to. He is an accurate and consistent passer who can drop the deep ball right over the shoulder and into his receiver’s hands."
For the ever-confident Thompson, though, the path to playing time won’t be without roadblocks. As is, Buechele and Ehlinger are fighting for supremacy for starting honors in the Texas Bowl, just as they have all season, but the fact that neither has separated himself is why Thompson and Rising will enter a wide-open quarterback battle in the spring.