Oklahoma did not sign a quarterback in its 2015 recruiting class. A year later, it is set to land one of the most heralded signal callers in the nation.
Austin Kendall, Rivals.com's No. 3 pro-style passer and No. 27 player in the class of 2016, announced on Instagram on Tuesday night that he has verbally committed to the Sooners. Kendall’s pledge comes less than a month after he decommitted from Tennessee because, as he told Rivals.com, he thought “committing early was the right thing to do at the time but it also limited my options. With my recruitment back open I hope to see what other opportunities are available."
Kendall, who attends Cuthbertson High School in Waxhaw, N.C., chose Oklahoma over Auburn and Kentucky, among other programs. His brother, Ryan, is a walk-on receiver for the Wildcats, and Kendall had cited his affinity for the Tigers’ offense and his relationship with offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. Yet Kendall reportedly visited Oklahoma in March and said this week that the Sooners are his top school.
“It's just a feeling [at Oklahoma], but I got a feeling here [at Auburn], too, so it could weigh out," Kendall told Rivals.com on April 3.
Lincoln Riley, who was hired as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in January, reportedly began recruiting Kendall while serving in the same position at East Carolina.
Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman commended Kendall last month for his footwork and described him as “very developed above the shoulders in terms of his football IQ” and “very good at deciphering defenses quickly before the ball is snapped.” As a junior, Kendall completed 310 of 513 pass attempts for 4,461 yards with 49 touchdowns while adding 519 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground, according to MaxPreps.
Kendall is the third player in the class of 2016 to commit to the Sooners, joining three-star WR/QB Adrian Hardy and three-star tight end Jon-Michael Terry. If he honors his commitment, Kendall would join a QB rotation that currently includes redshirt junior Trevor Knight, who started 10 games last season; redshirt sophomore Cody Thomas, who started three games; Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield; and redshirt freshman Justice Hansen, a four-star pro-style quarterback in the class of 2014.
Kendall’s commitment means all of the top five quarterbacks in the Rivals250 have pledged a school. Jacob Eason is headed to Georgia, Shea Patterson to Ole Miss, Malik Henry to Florida State, K.J. Costello to Stanford and Kendall to the Sooners. Below are highlights from Kendall’s junior season.