Thomas Harper arrived in Stillwater for a Saturday showcase camp on a Friday, not knowing what to expect. After all, Thomas, the younger brother of OSU linebacker Devin Harper, has made the trek from Knoxville to Stillwater numerous times since his older brother signed with the Cowboys in 2016. He has become intimately familiar with the program in the time since.
This trip to Stillwater was different though. Sure, Thomas has learned some of the ins and outs of the football program from his brother over the years. And yes, he’s even picked up some things after seeing the campus for himself on unofficial visits. But this particular trip had Thomas, a two-star prospect according to 247Sports, set on doing more than scouting and sight-seeing.
He was in town to make his case to the coaching staff why he was deserving of a scholarship offer by proving it on the field.
After impressing the staff on Saturday as a standout performer, he earned an invite to Sunday’s “The Show,” a championship edition that includes the top prospects from other camp iterations. It was the first sign that the staff was on the verging of extending him an offer that would come several days later.
“It surprised me for sure,” Harper told Pistols Firing of the offer that soon followed his camp performances on June 2nd and 3rd. “I thought I did well at camp, but it definitely surprised me when they offered. I was with my brother in the car when I got the call. He was going crazy.”
Thomas wasted little time riding the merry-go-round of the recruiting circus. The Cowboys offered him a scholarship on June 6, and he committed days later on June 11. No drama. No build-up. Just a quiet, quick process. It was exactly the way he envisioned his process would play out if OSU did finally pull the trigger with an offer.
“It was a stress reliever, I can say that,” Thomas said after committing. “Recruiting is stressful, just trying to figure out where to go. But I knew (Oklahoma State) was where I wanted to go.”
Thomas is a two-way athlete who will play cornerback for Oklahoma State. He’s played a little receiver in high school and could have had the same opportunity elsewhere with any of the other half-dozen programs that offered, but familiarity with OSU’s program and the opportunity to follow in his brother’s footsteps was the ultimate selling point that required no pitch.
“The familiarity with everything made the biggest impact for me personally,” said Thomas. “Me being up there so many times, you just know how it is, you know what you’re getting there. It made a huge impact. I feel comfortable there.
“Like I said, I already knew where I wanted to go. I just needed the opportunity.”