“We felt like, ‘OK, the rest of your audition will be school. We’re not gonna run you around the country to all these camps,’” Curley Thomas said.
Jordan Thomas was originally committed to play football at Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., which is ranked as one of the nation’s elite academic universities. But when he realized he could still study engineering while staying closer to home at Oklahoma, he flipped his commitment in late January.
The Sooners lost several veteran leaders in last season’s secondary, including All-Big 12 cornerback Aaron Colvin, so there were plenty of opportunities for young defensive backs to earn playing time.
Still, Thomas was expected to start the season behind sophomores Dakota Austin and Stanvon Taylor, as well as junior Cortez Johnson. By the time last weekend’s season opener against Louisian Tech rolled around, he’d leap-frogged all of them.
That’s because, Thomas said, he soaked up information and instruction like a sponge once he arrived on campus. Thomas made notes even when coaches were correcting other cornerbacks’ mistakes.
“He’s gone by a few guys pretty fast,” said cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright, referring to the depth chart.
“He may not know how to play something the first time, but after the first time, he’ll learn from it. He’s got a good mixture of athletic ability, size and he is a smart guy.”
Still, that level of commitment to football might not have been possible if he had taken that AP Calculus test months earlier.
His dad, Curley Thomas, had already paid for the test and Jordan had been studying for it.
“His goal was to make an impact this year,” Curley Thomas said. “He thought that if he was put in Calc 2 or some statistics class, then he’d really have to focus on that. He didn't want to do bad in school.”
Jordan Thomas said balancing his tough courseload with football has been a challenge three weeks into the semester, but that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Asked when he has fun, Thomas replied, “I have fun when I sleep. You’ve got to rest your brain and rest your body from all the work you have to do mentally and physically. That’s it.”