NORMAN — Sunny Golloway expects two-sport star Cody Thomas to make an immediate — and substantial — impact on his team as a true freshman next spring.
But Oklahoma's baseball coach didn't stop there.
“Nothing against the people we have here quarterbacking now, but don't rule out the young guy,” Golloway said. “Even though he won't get spring ball. ... I'm gonna make some other quarterbacks mad, but he's a baseball guy.
“I'm kinda lobbying that he might win the job.”
Thomas signed with OU's football team earlier this month. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound quarterback threw for 3,407 yards, 38 touchdowns and five interceptions as a senior at Colleyville (Texas) Heritage.
He's also a baseball standout, and likely will be selected in this summer's Major League Baseball Draft; Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, though, said at his signing day news conference that he expects Thomas will end up in Norman, and Golloway agrees.
“I don't think he's gonna get enough money,” Golloway said. “I think he is gonna get drafted in the fourth or fifth round, but he loves it here.
“There's an awful lot of worrying, ‘Is he gonna sign?' ... I don't think he's gonna sign.”
Golloway said his program had its eye on Thomas before OU's football program did.
“(Assistant coach Jack) Giese was on him early,” Golloway said. “He came to me and said, ‘Coach, we're gonna have to have some help. He wants to play two sports.'
“So we called Coach (Josh) Heupel and said, ‘You've gotta go see this kid, Cody Thomas.' He went down there and saw him, and called us right back and said, ‘We're gonna offer him.'
“I promise you. Baseball was on him. I'm not taking anything away from football, because you know what? It gives us a free scholarship with them offering him. We like that.”
As for any potential conflict between the football and baseball programs, both Stoops and Golloway have insisted sharing Thomas' services will be easier than most people think.
Stoops even said he's looking forward to taking the football team to L. Dale Mitchell Park next spring to watch Thomas play.
“We only practice 15 times through the entire spring,” Stoops said. “We can make it work. He's too talented not to play (baseball).
“God gives you that kind of talent, you need to use it.”
Golloway believes Thomas will have the opportunity to showcase his talent right away on both the diamond and gridiron.
The football team lost Landry Jones, its four-year starting quarterback who shattered most OU passing records throughout his prolific career. Junior Blake Bell, Jones' backup last season, will enter spring football practices as front-runner in the quarterback battle.
Bell gained notoriety over the past two seasons for his success in the “Belldozer” package, in which he replaced Jones, received the snap and plowed forward for short-yardage first downs and touchdowns.
Senior Drew Allen, the third-string quarterback last season, is set to graduate in May and will likely transfer to another program for a better opportunity to start in 2013.
Redshirt freshman Trevor Knight turned heads on the scout team in 2012, leading many to believe he'll have a chance to leapfrog Bell on the depth chart. Sophomore Kendal Thompson, the speedy son of former OU quarterback Charles Thompson, could also factor into the battle.
“I'm not sure when he's gonna get here, so it's too early to answer that kind of question,” Stoops said on signing day when asked if Thomas could be OU's quarterback next season.
“But he sure has the ability to.”
Golloway said: “I think he's gonna be special. ... We're not gonna be surprised in baseball, but I think people are gonna be surprised in football. I really do.
“We knew a long time ago what people are right now figuring out.”