Spotlight: Cameron Rising and Casey Thompson

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Today the Sooners received a commitment from 2018 quarterback, Cameron Rising. Earlier this summer the Sooners offered 2018 in-state quarterback and OU legacy, Casey Thompson and many expected him to be the 2018 quarterback in this class. If Rising remains in the fold, that will not be the case. We asked McKinzie to offer some thoughts on both players.

About the Contributor: Seth McKinzie played quarterback at Missouri Southern State University before transferring and playing at Northeastern State University. McKinzie was a scholarship player at both schools. He completed a BA in Journalism at NSU and later received a MSE from Arkansas State. After college, he was a member of a 4A high school football staff in Arkansas and later coached 5A ball in Texas. McKinzie currently resides in Arkansas with his wife and two children.

Cameron Rising – Newbury Park HS – Newbury Park, California – 6’1” 195

Pocket Accuracy — Rising displays excellent accuracy when going through the mechanics of a short snap (pistol/shotgun) drop. He delivers accurate throws at all levels of the field.

Rollout Accuracy — This is where Rising is phenomenal. When a right handed quarterback rolls to his strong-arm side, he has to take into account the rotation of the ball plus the directional momentum of his body. This simply means, there has to be close to perfect mechanics when rolling this direction because the ball can carry out and away from the intended target and end up out of reach or out of bounds. If you view Rising’s film you will witness multiple designed rollout passes delivered in perfect stride to the receiver, both for large gains and for touchdowns.

Rising’s ability to accurately deliver passes while rolling to his weak side, left, is something that separates him from other quarterbacks his age (keeping in mind he was a sophomore in 2015). As when rolling to the right, Rising’s footwork has as close to perfect as possible when going the opposite direction. The difference now is a right handed quarterback rolling left must get his left shoulder turned in the direction of intended targets, and begin to come “downhill”, meaning toward the area which the ball will need to be delivered. This is what separates good high school quarterbacks from great ones. Rising does all of this and does it easily. His footwork is exceptional when rolling to his left, along with his hips and shoulders. He also has a very quick release rolling to his left and that is an added bonus.

Flushed Accuracy — This category could be called “scramble ability” but a quarterback can scramble all day long and not generate positive yardage. Rising has the “Baker Mayfield Factor”. The pocket breaks down around him and he runs lateral to the line of scrimmage while always keeping his eyes downfield as his receivers can settle into zones or run past defenders going deep. Rising is a guy who does exactly this. Not only does he escape from a collapsing pocket, but once he is out and finds a target he delivers passes with ease.

Escapability — Rising’s film shows a high ability to evade rushers. His tendency is to escape to his strong side and deliver a pass, rather than pull the ball down and run. Rising also displays a surprisingly superb start and stop ability when he does decide to run with the football.

Open Speed — Rising is listed as having a 4.7 40-yard-dash. This may be true but Rising’s “game speed” is definitely faster. Several plays on his film exhibit his ability to take away the pursuit angles of defenders and gallop for long gains and scores.

Arm Strength — This may be Rising’s weakest area, with “weak” being used loosely. Rising has good arm strength but there are a few deep balls you will see that are just a bit behind the receiver or take the receiver back to the inside of fade routes. Taking fade routes back to the inside is a big “no no” due to the fact it allows the inside-out secondary pursuit to possibly make a play on the football.

Release — Rising never drops the football below his shoulder. This is key to a quick release. He gets the football from snap to shoulder/ear very quickly.

Touch — Rising’s skill in this area is next level good. There are multiple throws on his film that show him “pulling the string” on passes 20-25 yards downfield that float just over the heads of defenders into the hands of his intended targets. Rising seems to have a firm grasp on when to put zip on the ball and when to ease it into the hands of the target.

Overall — Rising’s film is very impressive. It is even more so when you recall he was just a sophomore in 2015 and has the potential to grow several inches, gain muscle, strength, and fine tune his already full quiver of skills. My prediction is he will eventually be a five-star prospect. He is already the type of player that could commit to a school and be cornerstone of the recruiting class.


Casey Thompson — Southmoore HS – Moore, Oklahoma – 6’1” 185

Pocket Accuracy — Thompson shows very good precision on deep, intermediate, and short passes when given time to set his feet and throw in the pocket.

Rollout Accuracy — Thompson has a unique ability to get outside of the tackle box very quickly, which is beneficial as it actually can sometimes allow him to plant his feet and deliver the football as opposed to throwing on the move. There are several plays on his film that show his ability to throw back across his body while rolling to his right and hitting a crossing receiver.

Like Rising, Thompson demonstrates good mechanics in his rolls to his weak side. If there is a negative, I feel Thompson sometimes relies too much on his superior athleticism and sometimes sacrifices mechanics. Doing this can cause the ball to “float” and miss the intended target or be intercepted. This is not too much of a criticism since he was also only a sophomore in 2015.

Flushed Accuracy — Thompson does not like to stay behind the line of scrimmage when the pocket begins to collapse (more on this below). Unlike Rising, he tends to tuck the ball and make plays with his feet. The instances where Thompson did escape the pocket and find open targets his passes were crisp and accurate. Going again to his athleticism, Thompson’s ability to throw without his feet properly set is greatly beneficial to him for this particular rating.

Escapability — As I mentioned above, Thompson prefers to take to the ground when the pass play breaks down around him. He is excellent at planting his front foot into the ground and escaping to his strong side and shows tremendous ability to reverse out of the pocket to backside pressure and roll to his left. His shiftiness is at a higher level than Rising’s and Thompson likes to use it.

Open Speed — Thompson’s 40-yard-dash time is listed at 4.55. His straight line speed is exceptional as there are several clips showing him running away from defenders who have an angle.

Arm Strength — At times, the ball seems to explode out of his hands on deep balls. On shorter, sideline patterns, he gets the ball from hash to sideline very quickly, which keeps closing defenders away while the receiver secures the catch.

Release — Much like Rising, Thompson’s short release is great. The ball rarely drops below the lettering above his jersey numbers. A few times, it does look like he “cocks his arm” to deliver the deep ball, but just like my criticism of Rising, this is probably nitpicking.

Touch — Thompson places the ball where it needs to be. There are a few instances on his film where it appears he is throwing the ball into a crowd only to see it go over the defenders to his receiver. Like Rising, tight coverage versus a Thompson throw is often futile. Thompson’s one area to work on here would be knowing when to deliver a 90 mile-per-hour fastball and when to put some finesse on the ball.

Overall — There is a reason he has offers from all over the country. He can beat you with his arm and feet. His athleticism will catch the eyes of any recruiter and coach. Like Rising, he has two more seasons of high school football to improve on the small areas he has deficiencies.


  • SoonerOracle737 says:

    Boom! First. Welcome aboard Mr Rising.

  • Tony B says:

    Great write up. I think Riley just got a gem. Taking nothing away from Casey but I’m glad Rising is on board with the good guys. #BOOMER

    • Slim Sooner says:

      #SOONER! This is a good read. Agree with you.

    • McKinzie says:

      Agreed. This is a great get by Riley and the Sooners. It is very easy to get caught up in Rising’s film and forget he was only a sophomore in 2015.

  • KJ1123 says:

    Nice breakdown!

    • McKinzie says:

      Thanks. Both are very, very talented and skilled. It took a lot of fine tooth combing to find some flaws. Even with their perceived weaknesses, each having two years left in high school should, and likely will, take care of those.

  • Jeff says:

    Why are you talking about Thompson??

    • McKinzie says:

      Hey, Jeff — As a Brainiacs team, we figured a lot of folks were already familiar with Thompson and maybe not as much with Rising. Putting them both together with an analysis of the two brings some light into the skill set each could possibly bring to a program, especially since they are both c/o 2018

      • Jeff says:

        But Rising is coming to OU as of today and Thompson is not..

        • Super K says:

          We asked him to because we believe it’s relevant to some given most thought Thompson would be the 2018 OU QB. It’s natural for people to wonder how they compare as a result

  • Chris White says:

    TFB clearly knew of this commitment ahead of time because they got this breakdown done very quickly lol

    • McKinzie says:

      Hey, Chris — I have been watching film on both for a while and turned in my eval to K last week. The stars aligned my man!

    • Dick Bump says:

      It’s probably been in the works for awhile as a “what if” comparison. Good read. I’m excited about getting Rising. It’ll be interesting to see how he changes over the next couple of years.

      • Chris White says:

        No matter what, Lincoln Riley has fully stocked the cuppord with QB’s for years to come.

    • Super K says:

      The family was kind enough to let Brandon know but, of course, kept it quiet.

      • hOUligan says:

        Wow. Integrity. Something that is in short supply when I look around, especially in the realm of journalism … and I use that term loosely to include all media. Kudos, again, Super K and TFB. We’ll #justwaitonit.

      • Dustin says:

        Always classy.

    • Super K says:

      The family was kind enough to let Brandon know but, of course, kept it quiet.

  • Sooner Ray says:

    Not concerned with Rising’s arm strength because it should improve over the next couple of years. I wish he had Thompson speed but you don’t necessarily need that to extend a play.

    • McKinzie says:

      If you haven’t watched Rising’s film take a few minutes and give a look. He may not have the “measurable” speed of Thompson but he can seriously go when he needs to do so. I agree with you on Rising’s arm strength. Not really a concern and probably nitpicking on my part.

  • McKinzie says:

    As I told K earlier today, the thought of Rising having two years to improve on his already ridiculous skill set is downright scary.

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  • PLAW0720 says:

    February 2018 is a long, long way off. Need to keep recruiting both hard to make sure one or both make it official on National Signing Day. What is the earliest an ’18 recruit can sign a financial aid package? Any chance either of these guys will be an early enrollee? Both strike me as the Keith Nichol type.

  • Randy says:

    Great write up.. Both have similarities.. Did either one play or are playing baseball. If so what positions ?

  • j l says:

    Might as well call us gunslinger U. Mayfield, robison and rising some serious playmakers.

    • Slim Sooner says:

      Plus add Kendall and Murray. Wow, we are golden at QB for a long, long time.

      • bigrackhunter says:

        Plus Connor McGinnis and Reese Clark as quality walk-on. Riley was really high on Connor McGinnis almost offered him a scolly, before he agreed to walk-on and earn it.

      • hOUligan says:

        Cannot believe how stacked OU is at QB and RB positions. And w/ Brey coming in … as good as SoonerSquad17 is looking, ST’18 is starting to look ridiculOUsly good.

      • j l says:

        Kendall more of a true pro style IMO. He can escape, but he does his best work in the pocket.
        Murray a better runner than passer. Hes going to have to be insanely good to ever see the field at QB over these kids. Needs to move to the slot to play.

        • Jed says:

          You know how Riley requires his running backs to be receivers as well? I wonder whether our own Dr. Moreau might be thinking it would be sweet to have slot receivers who can throw, as well. If they worked on it in practice regularly and not just as a ‘trick’ play, it might cause DCs some real gastric distress.

          • j l says:

            Seeing murray in the slot would definitely make opposing DC’s think twice. Any bubble screen could be an easy TD throw over the top of an over aggressive defense.
            Do eet!!

        • JBSooner says:

          I used to the think the same way, especially after what I saw of him as a freshman at A&M. But if the Spring Game was any indication, I’d say Murray will be tough for Kendall to beat out. Murray was 6-10, 136 yds, 2 TDs, and also added 7 rushes for 34 yards and 1 TD. Meanwhile, Kendall put up a pedestrian 8-17 for 52 yards and no scores.

    • McKinzie says:

      I’m going to work on a skill eval of Robison soon.

  • SoonerMagic76 says:

    Thanks for the write up! Great to hear how high the potential is

  • soonerSD says:

    Thank you, Seth…. love the write up.

    Does anyone know if there is any difference in the level of competition these 2 QB’s are going up against?

    • Super K says:

      Great question

    • McKinzie says:

      That went through my mind when I was watching each young man’s film. I may go and do some research on this for you. Stay tuned.

      • soonerSD says:

        Thanks, Mckinzie!

        I asked Rising’s dad in the open post about Cameron’s competition but he hasn’t got back to me yet. He got a lot of posts/comments after he unveiled his identity so he may have needed a break 😉

    • hOUligan says:

      In OP Cameron’s dad gives a quick breakdown of their division in Cali. While not the top-rated, there are some big-time schools – Oaks Christian is mentioned as a top 10 ranked school nationally w/ D1 recruits … Check it out. I’d venture to say Cameron has faced the tougher competition/better athletes.

    • hOUligan says:

      In OP Cameron’s dad gives a quick breakdown of their division in Cali. While not the top-rated, there are some big-time schools – Oaks Christian is mentioned as a top 10 ranked school nationally w/ D1 recruits … Check it out. I’d venture to say Cameron has faced the tougher competition/better athletes.

    • Dustin says:

      Southmoore is in the same district as Owasso(Josh Proctor) and Union(Patrick Fields). I know nothing about Rising’s competition, but, it’s Cali. It has to be pretty good.

      • JBSooner says:

        Agreed. Cali produces the best overall talent in the country, particularly when you look at the number of them in the NFL. In particular, look at the QBs that are from Cali playing or who used to play in the NFL…John Elway (Granda Hills HS), Aaron Rodgers (Pleasant Valley HS), Tom Brady (Serra HS), Matt Cassell (Chatsworth HS), Randall Cunningham (Santa Barbara HS), Dan Fouts (St. Ignatius HS), Warren Moon (Hamilton HS), Carson Palmer (Santa Margarita HS), Jeff Garcia (Gilroy), Brian Sipe (Grossmont)…and that’s just off the top of my head

        • soonerSD says:

          I am def aware of the talent the state of CA produces. Having said that, it’s also the most populated state in the country with many different leagues/districts/etc so I was just curious to know which level Cameron was competing at. I expected him to be in a little more of a talent rich area than Casey and from what I’ve learned so far I think that is probably the case. I was just really impressed with Rising’s tape as a soph so it just had me wondering just what level of ball he was playing in the state of CA.

          • JB says:

            Cali is most populated state but Texas has the most HS football players each year (165,000), even over Cali by about 40,000 players. Goes to show Texas is a bit overrated when they have the greatest numbers, but Cali and Florida are producing more top talent.

      • Doobie74OU says:

        Looks like California has redone divisions for next season with Newbury being in CIF Southern Section Division 3. They say that Division 1 is probable one of if not the top division in High School Football but still a lot of good team in Division 3
        19 teams Overall
        Newbury Park ranked 81 overall in the state
        All these teams(9) in their division finished in the top 50 in the state!
        Thousand Oaks
        Rancho Verda
        Villa Park
        LA Serna
        Oak Hills
        LA Mirada
        San Juan Hills
        So pretty good compitition considering!

    • Dustin says:

      Southmoore is in the same district as Owasso(Josh Proctor) and Union(Patrick Fields). I know nothing about Rising’s competition, but, it’s Cali. It has to be pretty good.

  • OUn8v says:

    Thank you!

  • OceanDescender says:

    Wish we could take both! I remember not too long ago when the QB options were knight and bell (no disrespect, two awesome dudes) so you can never have enough talent at that spot.

    • JBSooner says:

      Yeah, but it’s rare to take 2 QBs in the same class these days, especially with the 85 limitation. There are plenty of other needs to be filled.

  • bigrackhunter says:

    Nice breakdown. Is there any way Rily pulls the trigger and takes both? Watching both of their game films, Thompson just seems to look a little bit “smoother”. Plus his accuracy, and arm strength jumped out a little more. No knock on Rising, he is prolly more suited for Rily offense. With that being said is Thompson’s talent, and play making ability might be to much for Stoops and Rily to turn away.

    • SoonerfanTU says:

      I don’t think they’d take both, but I’m nearly certain Thompson wouldn’t want to commit now. I actually think this worked out really well for OU. I know Thompson is talented, but with the family history (good and bad), I’ve always felt Casey would probably do better somewhere other than OU.

      • bigrackhunter says:

        If he grew up a Sooner fan, and wanted to create his own legacy at oklahoma that alone might make him savor the opportunity to win the job, and be extra motivation. He is extremely talented, and his confidence shows on the field. We all knew Rising was coming down to a decision fairly quickly, as noted by K. But none of us would of predicted this early. They havent even started their Junior year of high school yet!

    • Scott says:

      No reason to take both.

    • blaster1371 says:

      Remember that the 2017 QB commit, Robinson or Robison, is no slouch. If OU does indeed land Ronison and a year later has Rising then with Murray and Kendall in the stable the team is stacked at QB.

  • RGiskard says:

    QB is the toughest position to evaluate. Going from HS to College, and College to the Pros. Unless TFB have inside info, my guess they take both QB’s.

    • Jpsooner23 says:

      Thompson won’t come even if we could take him.

    • Bob Edwards says:

      We are full on QB schollys. Not likely to take another unless a current one transfers. Seems unlikely given the Murray has already transferred once, Austin is going to play as a FR and the other guys aren’t on campus yet.

  • hOUligan says:

    Nice breakdown of the skills of OU’s top 2 QB recruits for 2018. I would have been over-joyed w/ either at OU. Thompson has given the appearance of wanting to move ‘outside of the Sooner family’ so this will make it easier for him. Win – win and likely the best situation for all. No losers the way things stand.

    • JBSooner says:

      I think OU would have had a quality QB either way. However, with Rising’s commitment, you won’t have the embarrassment that is Charles Thompson hanging around the program and badmouthing Bob in the press when his kid doesn’t start ahead of better quarterbacks. Quite frankly, I don’t care if I never see or hear from Charles Thompson again. He’s done more than enough damage to this program. I’d rather he hang out somewhere else. Maybe stillwater or austin.

  • Higgs Boson says:

    Come on up for the Rising:

  • Nate Broadus says:

    I’ll be honest: I originally wanted Casey Thompson for the nostalgia and story appeal.

    When I looked at the tape, however, Rising was the one that completely floored me. This kid is ICE COLD. He doesn’t throw football passes, he tosses pillows. Seriously, a blind WR could catch those throws–all they have to do is stick out their hands. He has the best touch I’ve ever seen from a kid this young.

    It would not surprise me if Rising was the #1 Pro QB by the time he’s a senior. Then just imagine what he could be once Schmitty gets him into the weight room.

  • Dana Rogers says:

    Thanks for the breakdown,Seth. Some of us out here are X’d and O’d challenged. One thing I (and probably others) noted however, was your evaluation on Cameron included the possibility of a 5* rating which you didn’t express w/ regards to Casey. Early in the game w/ a lot of events left to play out; still… Thx for eval.

  • Bob Edwards says:

    Thanks for the good work Seth.

  • 47 Straight OU Know says:

    As most of you know I am the biggest Thompson family fan on the site. With that being said I want to wish Casey well wherever he goes. And Congrats to Rison for choosing the good guys. I have felt from day one that Casey wanted something else. Which is not a bad thing, sometimes you want to do your own thing. Rison has a chance to put his family name mark on OU Football. Now let’s get this ” It’s a great day to be a SOONER”

  • Double G says:

    I think the thing that impressed me most when watching his film was his ability to see the entire field (to include the RB in the flat) while scrambling/rolling OUt of the pocket. Just like Baker, Rising does a really good job of not only keeping his eyes down field, but also remembering to check his safety valve in the flat when his downfield options aren’t looking very good.
    I love Baker Mayfield as a QB and all that he is able to do/has done for OUr team as a leader, passer, and runner, but sometimes he keeps his eyes too far downfield and fails to see/seems to forget about Samaje and Joe OUt in the flat and it drives me crazy!!! If I was going to critique Mayfield, that is the biggest thing I would say he needs to work on as a QB.
    Rising reminds me a lot of him in terms of his ability to keep his eyes downfield while scrambling and find the open man for big gains; however, this kid has a level of vision in his game that I don’t think Baker has yet, and that my friends, is exciting to say the least!!! BOOMER!!

  • Double G says:

    Great write up McKinzie, have enjoyed reading your perspective and thoughts ever since you joined TFB. Looking forward to reading your write up for Robinson in the near future!

  • connie usa says:

    McKinzie; Thank you for time you took to write this!!! Great stuff!!!

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  • Cush Creekmont says:

    Nice job! There are many styles that can produce great results. Either of the young men could be outstanding players.

    What seems most important this early is having a young man who WANTS to play and lead at OU. As SS17 has shown so well, a class’s career starts before the make it on compass – it starts with their fellow commits – bringing them in and bonding.

  • JBSooner says:

    While I doubt he’d ever admit it, I’ll bet that deep down inside Casey Thompson wishes he hadn’t been so flippant about his OU offer, especially now that it’s gone. I’ll bet there’s a degree of regret setting in at this moment. If OU wins a national championship in the next year or two, I think that feeling will grow even stronger. Opportunities missed stick with you for a while.

    Of course, I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. Maybe he doesn’t give two craps about OU. His father certainly doesn’t. While I doubt Casey would go to oSu, I think that would be funny if he did. And his dad would be talking trash on OU…again.

  • jonnyBgood says:

    The most impressive attribute to me was his willingness to sit in the pocket when an obvious big shot was in the offing. He took a couple big hits as soon as he was releasing the ball and that is simply a mater of will and determination. I have seen some wickedly talented QB’s never be able to take that next step because at games end they left 4-6 throws/completions on the field from fear of contact. I could very easily see this kid being #1 come 2018. STUD.

  • Tim Wilson says:

    How long has it been since we had the luxury of having to tell big time QB’s “Commit while you have a spot?” This staff has changed the game as far as recruiting goes!

  • Robert Boone says:

    The Quarterback God has taken a liking to OU