NORMAN — Twin brothers Trevor and Connor Knight emerged from the Cotton Bowl tunnel, ran the field's length and planted a knee in the burnt-orange North end zone, completing their solemn, pregame prayer ritual last October.
Their father, George Knight, proudly watched from the south stands — unfamiliar territory for the Texas graduate and longtime Longhorns fan — before noticing some orange-clad spectators screaming at his sons.
“All I could think to myself was, ‘No. That's not right. Those are my boys down there,” George Knight recalled. “You were my people, and you shouldn't be doing that to them.' ... That got me in the OU spirit really quickly.”
In Saturday's spring game, fans get their first look at the battle to become Oklahoma's quarterback between Trevor Knight, junior Blake Bell and sophomore Kendal Thompson. Should Knight win the job, he'll likely lead the Sooner offense in October's Red River Rivalry game, a once-unimaginable situation for the kid who woke up each morning in a bedroom with burnt orange walls.
“Longhorn this, Longhorn that,” remembered his oldest brother, Tyler Knight. “He had a big basketball goal on the wall with a Longhorn head on it. I knew (Oklahoma) was where his heart was, but it's funny.”
Although he never received a scholarship offer from Texas, Trevor Knight's bedroom walls didn't change until after he made his initial commitment to Texas A&M in March 2011. But even before that, he'd started to think Oklahoma was where he wanted to be.
The Knight brothers, twins Trevor and Connor, visited Norman with their parents for 2011 Junior Day. Connor Knight, now an Oklahoma redshirt freshman tight end, walked on to the team.
“We came away that weekend driving home, talking about it for seven-and-a-half hours, and we all knew that was the place they needed to be,” George Knight said.
At the time, OU still hadn't offered Trevor Knight a scholarship, but the family stayed in regular contact with co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.
Still, the recruiting dominoes began to fall among the schools that had offered, so Trevor Knight started feeling pressure to make a commitment. One March night, as he left the dugout after a baseball game, Trevor told his dad he would make his commitment on the bus ride home.
But before he could reach TCU assistant Justin Fuente — a former OU quarterback and now Memphis' head coach — and commit to the Horned Frogs, Fuente called to say they'd just accepted another quarterback's commitment.
“I said, ‘Well Trevor, you need to call (former Texas A&M) coach (Mike) Sherman, because I know that's your second choice right now,'” George Knight said. “So he called Mike Sherman and committed.”
Just four months later, though, Heupel offered Trevor Knight the scholarship he'd been waiting for. The family took another trip to Norman, visited with coaches and left with a difficult decision to make.
Making the next week tougher was that his grandfather, Woodrow Mueller, was losing his battle with cancer.
“Trevor talked to his grandpa about (the decision), and they felt really good about that's what he wanted to do,” George Knight said.
On the same day that his grandfather died, Trevor Knight committed to Oklahoma.
He passed for 2,092 yards with 27 touchdowns and only three interceptions, and recorded 943 yards and 15 scores on the ground, as a senior at Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio.
Last season, Trevor Knight was named one of Oklahoma's Scout Team Players of the Year. Part of what made him so impressive was his mobility, which OU coaches want more of in the future from the quarterback position.
Tyler Knight said his brother never seemed bothered by the lack of a Texas scholarship offer.
“At that point, the programs that he did get offers from, including Oklahoma, were above and beyond what Texas is currently,” Tyler Knight said.
The whole Knight clan hasn't had any problem switching sides in the Red River Rivalry, especially after the pregame heckling last October.
“The old allegiances go out the window when it's time to support your kids,” George Knight said.
SOONERS QB SERIES
In a three-part series to preview Oklahoma's spring game Saturday, we take a closer look at each of the three players — Trevor Knight, Blake Bell and Kendal Thompson — competing in the Sooners' first quarterback derby since the 2007 preseason.
Today: Trevor Knight woke up each morning in a bedroom with burnt-orange walls. How a lifetime Longhorns fan could be leading Oklahoma's offense inside the Cotton Bowl this October.
Friday: Blake Bell has been given few opportunities at Oklahoma to perform outside of the “Belldozer” identity. We'll examine those moments, the most memorable of which was last year's spring game.
Saturday: No second-generation quarterbacks have ever started a game at Oklahoma. The first could come in 2013, and he's one few OU fans could've ever imagined: Kendal Thompson, the son of Charles Thompson.
CORRECTION: Patrick Fletcher, son of 1960s OU quarterback Ronnie Fletcher, started one game in 1998, making him the first second-generation quarterback in OU history. Kendal Thompson would be the second. The information regarding OU's second-generation quarterbacks was incorrect in Thursday's editions.