Breaking down Tulsa's 2013 signing class
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Thursday, February 07, 2013
2/07/13 at 5:46 AM
View slideshows from area signing day ceremonies,
including Booker T. Washington, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso and Union.
• Watch video Q&As with eight of the top football players in the Tulsa area.
• Get full bios of all OU, OSU and TU signees.Original Print Headline: Breaking Down Tulsa's Class
The 2010 University of Tulsa football team recorded 10 victories, closing the season with a 62-35 obliteration of Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl. Bill Blankenship was a Golden Hurricane assistant that season, but his role extended far beyond the coaching of running backs and the coordinating of special-teams units.
Of the 85 scholarship players on the 2010 Tulsa roster, about one-third were recruited by Blankenship. Now entering his third year as TU's head coach, he and his assistants actually seem to enjoy the grind of recruiting. That explains how Blankenship has beaten schools like Stanford, Kansas State, Baylor and Missouri for the signatures of high school prospects.
As he put the finishing touches on Tulsa's 21-man class of 2013, Blankenship said, "January is a pretty good sprint, and there can be some really long days, but there's not a guy on my staff who is a weak link when it comes to recruiting. These guys like to be out on the road and they like to recruit."
The foundation of the Hurricane program is its offensive line, and TU signed three guards - Rob Boyd of Vian, Blake Mejia of Union and Zac Uhles of Norman.
With the signing of two quarterbacks - Ryan Rubley of Mountain Vista, Colo.; and Owasso's Jaylen Lowe - Tulsa will have six scholarship QBs on the 2013 roster.
The Hurricane class does not include a running back. Jonathan Parker, a running back from Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, had been committed to the Hurricane since September. He signed with Iowa on Wednesday. For the 2014 class, after TU's Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas will have exhausted their eligibility, the recruiting of running backs will be a priority for the Hurricane staff.
The needs: Offensively, Tulsa was not desperate for an immediate contribution from anyone in the 2013 class. If it happens, it will be the result of someone having an exceptional preseason camp.
Headliner: With a four-star designation from Rivals, Vian's Rob Boyd is the highest-rated of the Tulsa signees. After a redshirt season, he'll compete for a starting job.
Sleeper: Jaylen Lowe was a fantastic player at Owasso High School. Whether it happens at the quarterback position or elsewhere (as a slot receiver, perhaps), an athlete this good seems destined for college football success.
Immediate impact: The combination of Kolton Shindelar's size (6-6, 250) and track speed compelled schools from the Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 to offer scholarships to the tight end from Liberty, Mo. Shindelar chose Tulsa, and it won't be a surprise to see him involved as a freshman.
The 2012 Hurricane was driven in part by a defense that ranks among the best in program history.
For its Liberty Bowl clash with Iowa State, the Golden Hurricane's starting defense included eight seniors. By the end of the 14-game 2012 season, those senior starters had contributed combined totals of 487 tackles, 35 sacks and nine interceptions.
The breakdown of TU's 12 defensive recruits reflects a need for roster replenishment at all positions. There are three tackles, two ends, three cornerbacks, three linebackers and one safety.
The needs: Injuries at the linebacker positions underscored the need for depth. For the sake of depth and the development of guys who can become involved in the line rotation, the signing of front-seven personnel was essential.
Headliner: Having been recruited by OU to play on the offensive line, Union's Dalton Rodriguez switched his commitment to TU and will work at defensive end. Can he be the second coming of Cory Dorris?
Sleeper: Because he played for the Class A Hooker Bulldogs in the Oklahoma panhandle, safety Joe Bean was not recruited as heavily as he probably should have been. He is among the state's faster football athletes.
Immediate impact: With a productive summer and an impressive August, nearly all of the defensive signees have a chance to get playing time as rookies. Guys like Rodriguez, Bean and linebacker Devin Rolan could wind up in the rotation.
Union's Blake Mejia (left) and Dalton Rodriguez sign to play at TU on Wednesday at Union High School. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World