2019-02-07 sp-tusigning Ethan Hall

Bixby football player Ethan Hall in Tulsa, Okla., on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

Ethan Hall’s performance at a University of Tulsa camp on a hot July day set the stage for his Wednesday signing with the Golden Hurricane.

A linebacker and tight end at Bixby High School, Hall made sure to take advantage of what was essentially his audition in front of his future coaches. He pulled double duty, running with the offense after working during the defensive portion of the camp.

“I keep telling him, ‘Hey, you’ve shown us enough,’ and he will just not take a break,” TU coach Philip Montgomery said. “I’m worried about him, and he is sweated down, melted down.

“He really just did a tremendous job at our camp. We watched him all through the fall, and it’s just a guy that we felt like we had to have in our program.”

Montgomery and Co. ultimately targeted Hall as a tight end, the position where he had 17 catches for 262 yards and three touchdowns on the Spartans’ Class 6AII state championship team. With a background as a physical tackler, Hall also is a punishing blocker.

“He’s a guy that can play on every special teams (unit) and can do a great job as a tight end for us,” Montgomery said. “He catches the ball really well. He’s explosive. But when it comes to hitting people, he’s got a knack for it. We’re excited to have him.”

A 247Sports.com three-star prospect, Hall committed to the Hurricane after an official visit late last month.

“I decided on Tulsa over a few smaller schools, and the decision was quite easy,” Hall said at his signing ceremony Wednesday. “They have a vision for the program that’s heading in the right direction, and I want to be a part of something special.”

Hall is among 20 players who signed with TU in the Class of 2019, with 11 of them sending their letters of intent Wednesday. Two other standouts from the Tulsa area, Union defensive tackle Darrias Murdock and Edison offensive lineman Chester Baah, were among those who signed in December.

“We’ve gotten really good players from the state of Oklahoma,” Montgomery said. “We’re going to continue to do that. … I would have loved to have signed a few more out of here.

“Some of those things happen, and you can’t control all of that. But I’m really happy with the three guys we got this year, and we’ll continue to keep evaluating and continue to keep offering.”

Of the players added Wednesday, five were defensive backs, joining a unit that returns nine starters from a revamped defense that concluded last season ranked eighth nationally against the pass but 119th against the run.

“The three safeties are longer, guys who can cover ground but can fit-run and have a great nose for the game,” Montgomery said. “The two corners, both of them are 6-2. You look at what we’re playing from a cover standpoint and as much run-fit things as they’ve got to do, we needed more physical-type corners, guys that can still cover but can take that type of physicality that you need and apply it to the run game. Both of these guys can do that.”

Coming off two disappointing years that featured a combined five wins, this was an important recruiting class for TU, which begins spring practice March 3 ahead of a season that opens Aug. 30 at Michigan State.

“Our program is headed in the right direction,” Montgomery said. “I really believe that. Our kids believe in what we’re doing. They believe in how we’re doing it. They understand the things we’ve got to conquer that are right there in front of us.

“We’re in Week 5 of the offseason, of winter training. Our guys are working at a level that I haven’t seen them work at. I’m very encouraged by what’s fixing to happen in the years to come and especially next year.”

Kelly Hines

918-581-8452

kelly.hines@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @KellyHinesTW

Sports Writer

Kelly has been the University of Tulsa football and basketball beat writer since 2014. She grew up in Moore, was valedictorian at Christian Heritage Academy and graduated from Oklahoma State University. Phone: 918-581-8452