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Tulsa Signs 20 in Football Recruiting

February 1, 2012
By VYPE Oklahoma of VYPE Oklahoma

By Lynn Jacobsen

University of Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship announced the signing of 20 players to national letters-of-intent and a preferred walk-on Wednesday on National Signing Day.

The list includes 12 athletes from Oklahoma and three from Texas.

Of the 21, 16 came off teams that won 10 or more games, three played on undefeated teams and five were state champions in 2011 or 2010. Six of the 20 turned down “legitimate” offers from BCS conferences, Blankenship said.

“This is an exciting day for us,” Blankenship said. “This is the first class that my staff has had a chance to recruit top to bottom. We addressed the need for speed of our team and our needs at linebacker and offensive line

“We knew we lost five offensive lineman and we signed four with a gray shirt that gives us five. We only signed one linebacker last year and we signed three year. We added a couple of good cover corners with really good speed and we’ve added a kicker.”

Cascia Hall product Conner Sherwood joins a pair of out-of-state products at linebacker.

“Conner Sherwood is a young man that we’ve been on for a long time,” Blankenship said in a press release. “He’s a multi-sport athlete at Cascia that I think will develop into a great defensive player here. He’s a tall linebacker with a lot of range. He’s highly intelligent.”

Darnell Walker Jr. is one of the cornerbacks Blankenship referred to with excellent speed.

“Darnell is really a true shut-down corner,” the coach said. “The other thing I’m really excited about is he is just an incredible punt returner/kick returner.”

In-state signees include: Guthrie OL Blake Belcher, McAlester WR/Safety Adam Boyd, Midwest City RB James Flanders, Claremore OL Dylan Foxworth, East Central DE Damian Gibson, Broken Bow DE Cory Rahmings, Lawton MacArthur kicker Daniel Schwarz, Sherwood, Lawton MacArthur Safety Michael Thomas, Sperry OL Chris Wallace, Kelley/NEO OL Davis Walton and Ponca City TE Tyler Wilson.

The majority of Tulsa’s signees came within a 250-mile target area from Tulsa.

“We make a big deal about a 250-mile radius from Tulsa, focusing in as far as Kansas City, Mo., St. Louis, Western Arkansas, Eastern Texas, North Texas, Dallas-metroplex,” Blankenship said. “We feel like most of our class should come out of that.”

This was the first full-year recruiting cycle for Blankenship and his staff.

“We were hanging onto guys last year but (this class) are the first of a particular profile we were committed to,” Blankenship said. “Our staff was diligent about staying with the plan.”

Blankenship said he enjoys the recruiting process, even though as head coach is somewhat limited.

“As a head coach, one thing I really miss is I don’t get to go out as much,” Blankenship said. “I don’t get to go out in spring. I’m limited to one home visit in December and January. But it’s fun.

“That’s the valuable part of having a staff you trust. These guys have done a tremendous job of recruiting.”


2012 Tulsa Football Signees

Joshua Atkinson
WR, 6-2, 185, The Oakridge School (Texas)

Blake Belcher
OL, 6-5, 285, Guthrie

Adam Boyd
WR, 6-1, 195, McAlester

Jeremy Brady
S, 5-11, 185, Pulaski Academy (Ark.)

Johnell Celistan Jr.
CB, 6-1, 161, Hahnville (La.)

Dane Evans
QB, 6-2, 200, Sanger (Texas)

James Flanders
RB, 5-11, 186, Midwest City

Dylan Foxworth
OL, 6-2, 265, Claremore

Damian Gibson
DE, 6-4, 235, East Central

Taylor Grove
TE, 6-5, 240, Phoenix CC

Cory Rahmings
DE, 6-3, 255, Broken Bow

Rob Riederer
LB, 6-1, 212, Holton (Kan.)

Daniel Schwarz
K, 6-3, 189, Lawton MacArthur

Conner Sherwood
LB, 6-2, 218, Cascia Hall

Craig Suits
LB, 6-1, 210, Mesquite Poteet (Texas)

Micheal Thomas
S, 6-0, 200, Lawton MacArthur

Darnell Walker Jr.
CB, 5-11, 165, Bolivar (Mo.)

Chris Wallace
OL, 6-5, 310, Sperry

Davis Walton
OL, 6-3, 279, Bishop Kelley, NEO

Tyler Wilson
TE, 6-7, 260, Ponca City

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