UT quarterback pledge Thompson weathers stormy senior season,
Future Longhorn in Sooners territory grows amid trials.
It wasn’t an easy year for Texas pledge Casey Thompson.
The four-star quarterback transferred from Southmoore High School in Moore, Okla., to Newcastle (Okla.) High School after his junior season, following his offensive coordinator, Jeff Brickman, who took the job as head coach at Newcastle. But the Racers finished 3-7, including a season-ending win over Cache at home.
“I think this year was a growing year for me. I had more responsibility than I’m used to, and I grew as a player and a man,” Thompson said. “I feel like I was put on this team for a reason, and I hope I helped other people here as much as they helped me.”
Brickman said Thompson will leave high school as Oklahoma’s leader in passing yards. The quarterback accounted for more than 50 touchdowns this season for the second time in his career.
It’s hard to fault Thompson for believing he’s capable of earning the starting job at Texas as a freshman.
“Texas is a perfect fit. Fit doesn’t always just mean football,” he said. “I look at the city and the coaching staff and how I feel around the team. I can be myself and be comfortable in my environment. I can compete day one for the starting job.”
Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 184-pounder, is the No. 12 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 259 overall prospect in the country in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
He rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore and can still beat defenses with his legs in a pass-first offense. That’s a trait UT coach Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck like.
If the quarterback room has Shane Buechele, Sam Ehlinger, pro-style pledge Cameron Rising and Casey Thompson for spring practice, the best rusher in the group undoubtedly will be Thompson.
“I knew Casey was talented and could play early in his career, so we started him as a sophomore at Southmoore, and he became the first quarterback in Oklahoma history with over 2,500 yards passing and more than 1,000 yards rushing in the same season,” Brickman said. “He’s handled the change in schools and systems well because he’s incredibly smart. He’s leading the state in passing.”
Thompson knew heat would come when he committed to Texas in April. Newcastle is just outside of Norman, Okla. He’s surrounded by Sooners. His dad, Charles, was a Sooner, as was his older brother, Kendal. He bucked tradition, and that fuels anger.
“I know it takes a strong person to commit to a rival school. I’m in the heart of Sooner land, and I have to stay focused on what is best for me, my family and the mission ahead,” Thompson said. “Living here in Oklahoma, it has tested me. There are a lot of temptations and people ready to steer me off track.”
Thompson said his family and faith keep him grounded. His father, who is familiar with the trappings of football attention at a young age, thinks Casey is handling it all properly.
“It’s an up-and-down cycle because social media is a monster,” Charles Thompson said. “It’s tough on recruits. He’s handled it about as well as I could hope for a young person.
“He knows when to be active on social media, and I enjoy that. He went silent at the start of football and really focused on what was important.”
His coach has noticed opponents, classmates and even officials giving Thompson a hard time.
“It is sad that it goes on just because Casey is going to Texas. Luckily, he has a thick skin,” Brickman said. “We’ve had opponents throw the horns down at him after plays and stuff like that. The officials even haven’t completely treated him fairly. And that doesn’t even cover social media and what he had to deal with there.”
Even Thompson’s father has a few stipulations once his son arrives in Austin.
“I told coach Herman he could get me in white, but I’m not wearing any burnt orange until at least my son is the starting quarterback,” he joked. “We’ll talk about it then.”
Thompson didn’t start playing quarterback in elementary school even though his dad and older brother excelled at the position. He wanted to hit, and that competitive drive is another piece of his game that sticks out to coaches.
“He was 5 or 6 years old and would come to games and never take his helmet off,” his father said. “He started at running back and linebacker. He loved to compete. I knew he had something special because of his attitude.
“I didn’t know quarterback-wise until sixth grade. He took off from there because he wanted to soak up everything.”
Newcastle High quarterback Casey Thompson accounted for more than 50 touchdowns as a senior even though his team went 3-7.