TU's roster more local than ever
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Thursday, February 07, 2013
2/07/13 at 8:51 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.
Read an analysis of TU’s class.
The University of Tulsa's local connection strengthened on Wednesday as new signees stretched the number of area high schools represented on the Hurricane's 2013 roster to 19.
"That's the neat thing about our program," TU coach Bill Blankenship said.
Prospects came from Owasso (quarterback Jaylen Lowe), Broken Arrow (defensive end Frankie Davis), Metro Christian (defensive tackle Zach Webb) and Wagoner (cornerback Kerwin Thomas), along with transfers like offensive tackle Davis Walton (Bishop Kelley graduate) and defensive end Trevor Toliver (Sapulpa).
Last season, 13 Tulsa-area high schools were represented on the Golden Hurricane roster. The current roster - including the new signees - includes 32 players who attended high school in the immediate Tulsa area.
"We have a profile for what we think we want to do with this program," Blankenship said. "We don't want to let (viable prospects) leave this area. We think building with area kids is the way to go. They've still got to be able to play at the highest level."
There was one setback for TU on Wednesday - the first day recruits could sign national letters of intent. Jonathan Parker, a running back from St. Louis, had been committed to Tulsa since September, but he signed with Iowa. Instead of conducting a frantic search for a Plan B running back, Blankenship turned his focus to Wagoner and offered a scholarship to Thomas.
"We felt the best available opportunity was a great athlete and a great young man from Wagoner - Kerwin Thomas, a guy that has been on our list for a long time," Blankenship said. "I think it's a great get for us."
The Hurricane signed 21 players (13 on defense, eight on offense). TU signed 12 prospects from Oklahoma.
After leading Owasso to a regular-season victory over Union, to its first district title in 26 years and to a semifinal berth in the Class 6A playoffs, Lowe was named the Tulsa World's All-Metro quarterback.
With the addition of Lowe and Mountain Vista, Colo., standout Ryan Rubley, TU has six scholarship quarterbacks on the 2013 roster.
"He's a tremendously gifted athlete," Blankenship said of Lowe. "We promised him an opportunity to compete for the quarterback spot, and I'd be crazy not to allow him to do that."
Including recruits signed Wednesday, there are 61 Oklahomans on TU's roster.
"Oklahoma is an area in which you can find a lot of good players, but you have to work harder in Oklahoma," Blankenship said. "You actually have to get off of the interstate and work to find some of these guys. We have some relationships developed with coaches across the state."
The 2013 University of Tulsa football roster will include players from a program-record 19 Tulsa-area high schools:
Bishop Kelley: Davis Walton
Bixby: DeWitt Jennings
Booker T. Washington: Derrick Alexander
Broken Arrow: Frankie Davis (2013 signee)
Cascia Hall: Conner Sherwood
Claremore: Dylan Foxworth, Josh Cunningham
East Central: Damian Gibson
Glenpool: Marco Nelson
Holland Hall: Billy LaFortune
Jenks: Jake Alexander, Zack Langer, Trent Martin, Matt Linscott
Lincoln Christian: Cody Wilson
McLain: Shawn Jackson
Memorial: Garrett Stafford, Patrick Jansen, Evan Lanoue
Metro Christian: Zach Webb (2013 signee)
Owasso: Jaylen Lowe (2013 signee)
Sapulpa: Trevor Toliver
Sperry: Chris Wallace
Union: Brentom Todd, Thomas Roberson, Luke Snider, Cole Way, Alec Henry, Dalton Rodriguez (2013 signee), Blake Mejia (2013 signee), Chris Hall (2013 signee)
Wagoner: Kerwin Thomas (2013 signee)
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
Jaylen Lowe (left) signs to play football at the University of Tulsa during National Signing Day festivities at Owasso High School on Wednesday. At right is Scottie Prealow, Samory Collier and Andrew Rosa. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World