NORMAN — With Trevor Knight's Sugar Bowl MVP performance effectively ending the 2014 Oklahoma quarterback battle before it began, at least one Sooner signal caller has elected to transfer.
Kendal Thompson announced Tuesday evening via Twitter his intention to graduate in May and transfer to another college football program, theoretically leaving him two years of eligibility because of special NCAA graduate transfer rules.
“Enjoyed the 3 years that I spent at OU and appreciate all the support and love that this program has shown me,” Thompson tweeted. “But I believe that God has another path in store for me.”
An OU spokesman declined to comment on Thompson's announcement.
Thompson, the son of former OU quarterback Charles Thompson, appeared in two games as a Sooner, both of which came during his just-completed redshirt sophomore season.
He competed with Knight and Blake Bell to become Oklahoma's starting quarterback last spring, but suffered a foot injury on the first day of fall camp. Knight initially won the job, but Bell took over after two games.
Bell started eight games, looking brilliant at times and struggling at others, leading many — Charles Thompson included — to publicly lobby for Kendal to get an opportunity.
When Bell left the Sooners' Nov. 16 home win over Iowa State with an early concussion, Knight took over the offense and led OU to a convincing victory. The Sooners led 41-10 with 6:42 remaining in the game when Thompson finally made his much-anticipated OU debut.
He completed a 44-yard pass to Lacoltan Bester, and four plays later, threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Ripkowski.
Knight started the Sooners' season finale at Oklahoma State a few weeks later, but left with a shoulder injury late in the first half. Thompson replaced him to start the third quarter, but threw an ugly interception on the very first play from scrimmage.
He played most of the quarter before OU coaches turned to Bell, who led the Sooners on a game-winning touchdown drive with just over a minute remaining on the clock.
OU coach Bob Stoops declined to name a starting quarterback in the month leading up to the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, but ultimately went with Knight, who threw for 348 yards and four touchdown passes in the Sooners' stunning 45-31 victory.
Thompson's announcement also ends his father's dream of watching his son quarterback the Sooners.
Charles Thompson seemed destined for stardom at Oklahoma before his February 1989 drug arrest, which landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs.
The symbolic photograph came to represent all the perceived problems with Oklahoma football and ultimately led to legendary coach Barry Switzer's resignation four months later.
Charles Thompson spent 17 months in federal prison and wasn't embraced again within the OU football program until after Stoops' hiring in 1999.
Kendal Thompson became a high-school star at Southmoore, and committed to the Sooners in November 2009.
“I think one of the things that inspires him is the opportunity to finish something that I started,” Charles Thompson said last April.
As of right now, the Sooners return Knight, Bell and redshirt freshman Cody Thomas as their quarterbacks, and add 2014 signee Justice Hansen, the Edmond Santa Fe product who has enrolled early to participate in spring practices.
Bell may opt to graduate and transfer as well, although Stoops has implied that if he stays for his senior season, he could have an opportunity to play tight end.
Former Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield has also enrolled at OU and intends to walk-on to the football program. Mayfield, who was a true freshman at Tech in 2013, lost his appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility at OU, though, and Stoops has said several times that his staff isn't interested in adding any transfer quarterbacks.