NORMAN — A year ago John Kolar was preparing for his junior season as a wide receiver in a talent-heavy Norman North offense.
Now, he’s verbally committed to Oklahoma State as a quarterback and No. 6 in The Oklahoman’s Super 30 recruiting rankings for the Class of 2015.
Kolar was forced into action at quarterback during the Timberwolves’ fifth game of the 2013 season at Yukon after starter David Cornwell, now a freshman at Alabama, suffered a season-ending knee injury.
All Kolar did was come in and throw for 162 yards and a touchdown, all in the second half, as Norman North overcame a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to win 45-42.
The offense continued to roll behind Kolar the rest of the season. In his six starts, the Timberwolves averaged 42 points per game. He finished the season with a 64.9 completion percentage while throwing for 1,675 yards with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
“It was kind of all overwhelming at first,” Kolar said. “From the time I got in the game at Yukon, I really didn’t think about touchdowns or any numbers. I just went out and played. Everyone else started talking about how well I had played and that’s really the first I thought of it.”
Less than five months after starting his first game at quarterback, Kolar had received a scholarship offer from OSU and was verbally committed. Kolar says he has no idea where he’d be in the recruiting process if not for Cornwell’s injury.
“I don’t think there’s any way I’d be where I am now,” Kolar said. “I would’ve gone to camps and stuff, but I don’t think I’d be committed anywhere because obviously they wouldn’t have any film of me.”
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Kolar has spent the spring and summer working on some of the finer points of playing quarterback.
“One of my main focuses is my footwork,” Kolar said. “I’ve definitely worked on that during the spring and summer. Also worked a little bit on my throwing motion, but the footwork has been the main thing.”
He credits his speed (4.55 in the 40-yard-dash) and broad understanding of the offense to his experience as a receiver. Both are qualities that attracted OSU head coach Mike Gundy and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich toward Kolar.
“I do consider myself a dual threat, but I prefer to pass it as my first option,” Kolar said. “(OSU) likes that I can throw and run, though. They like that athleticism at quarterback. They liked that I was a winner. We (at Norman North) also run sort of the same type of offense they do, so that helps.”
The move from receiver to quarterback isn’t the only seamless transition Kolar has made over the last year.
Growing up in Norman, he had always been a Sooner fan. Both of his parents, Randall and Maria, are professors at the University of Oklahoma.
“OSU is going to be my home now,” John said. “My parents were all for it. They liked and agreed with everything I said about it. We’ve all built pretty good relationships with Yurcich and Gundy. You walk in there and everyone knows your name, knows your story. They’re so welcoming. They make it feel like a home, and that’s a family I want to be part of.”