While the Cornwells decided to keep the details of Debbie’s illness private, it took several months for her to improve enough for David to consider returning to the football field. But return he did, suiting up for Jones last season after the family moved to Oklahoma.
Now a semester behind in school, Cornwell didn’t give it much thought when the family rented a house in Jones last season. Though he didn’t yet know it, his troubles weren’t over.
But that wasn’t a concern when he took to the field with the Longhorns. At 6-5 and 230 pounds, Cornwell had the prototype build of an elite college quarterback, and that drew attention his way. He began to work with Joe Dickinson, a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, and it was then that Cornwell said he changed from a gifted quarterback into a great one.
His results on the field confirmed his case. He passed for 2,742 yards and threw 27 touchdowns while leading the Longhorns to the Class 3A semifinals. With success came the interest from colleges. He began receiving inquiries from big-time programs including Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Alabama.
But Cornwell wouldn’t finish his high school career in Jones. Looking for a permanent home in Oklahoma, the Cornwells eventually decided on Norman and last semester David enrolled at North, where he began working out with his new teammates.
“I had no idea if the kid was any good or not,” said North principal Bryan Young, who helped Cornwell navigate OSSAA paperwork through the transfer. “This young man just showed up at Norman North and I didn’t want anybody to think we recruited him.”
Young and the rest of the T-Wolves quickly found out that Cornwell was the real deal, and the perfect fit for a pass-happy team that graduated most of its starters a year ago after a run to the state title game. Coaches said that Cornwell fit in from the start and worked hard every day to improve, a good omen for what had previously been looked at by some as a rebuilding year. And new teammates Tyler Sipe and Payton Prince stepped up to help Cornwell and make the transition as easy as possible.