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July 16, 2014

Oklahoma Preparing for 'Year of the Quarterbacks'

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This is part of a multi-part series we'll be doing about Oklahoma's class of 2016's talented crop of quarterbacks.

Since 2008 the state of Oklahoma has produced at least one division one quarterback in all but one class including the class of 2014 that boasted a trio of stars; David Cornwell (Alabama), Justice Hansen (Oklahoma), and Coleman Key (Colorado State).

However, even the star-studded class of 2014 would have trouble keeping up with the class of 2016 that shows the potential for eight FBS quarterback prospects in the class. It shows that the position may finally reach its pinnacle in the Sooner state.

The two most interesting parts about the group of young signal callers is not only their mass diversity in game but their general goodwill toward one another.

With players like Terry Wilson, Manuel Bunch, Keaton Torre, and Chandler Garrett you have players who are more than familiar with other positions are and plenty capable of making plays with their feet.

Then there are the pure pocket passers Scotty Ray Gilkey, Micah Wilson, Quint Scoufos, and Keats Calhoon who are all athletic enough to make plays with their feet but look most at home sitting in the pocket and letting their arm do the work.

But again even with all their differences many of the group already know one another and have been competing with one another for quite some time.

"It's about building relationships, we don't play Mustang, so me and Chandler [Garrett] can really talk and compare things. We were on the Oklahoma national team when we played Texas and Nevada, we've known each other forever. We've known we were going to be those top guys together," Keaton Torre said.

"I've met a lot of guys through the camp process and I went to Arkansas with Scotty [Ray Gilkey] and Terry Wilson down at Del City we know each other.

For Torre it's more about having the chance to compete against quality players and helping to make a name for not only himself but every Oklahoma player, both quarterbacks and otherwise.

"It's not like we hate each other, or we're going to argue over who is going win state or get that offer. We have that relationship, or friendship or whatever you want to call it," he said.

"It's not just having one guy that is amazing and one guy that is just there, it's cool having that competition. It's showing people that it is not all about Texas and that one guy from Oklahoma - Oklahoma is on the rise, it helps because colleges that are looking at Scotty, they might want to see that kid from Santa Fe and so on."

Though there can be no doubt that Gilkey and Torre have formed a bond through their camps and travels together for the emerging Broken Arrow standout that he wants to beat his friend in every rep of every practice, camp, and game.

"We are in the same division, it's not even just about us as individuals. It's getting that gold ball at the end of the year - who is going to lead that team to a state championship? At camps, we compete our tails off, we go to camps, I want to be the best - I don't care who I'm competing against," Gilkey admitted.

"Me and Keaton text each other, we always keep in touch, try and see what camps each other are going to. It's just one of those deals, you want to get out there and compete against other great quarterbacks.

"We've been going to the OSU camp together since our freshman year."

Though so many of the players know each other to varying degrees the connections aren't always about football.

"The closest guy in the group, to me is Chandler Garrett, that's because of AAU basketball, we were playing was young guys," he said.

No matter the connection between the state's quarterbacks the one thing that is beyond question is that college coaches have already taken notice of the players who are just getting started in their recruiting journeys. Once some tape hits HUDL, Rivals, and elsewhere expect this class to quickly become known as one of the best in any state has produced in 2016.

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