With the coming and going of National Signing Day, Tulsa ranks 98th in the country in recruiting.
Amidst a class of two-star recruits is a pair of three-star recruits and Chad President, the ninth-ranked quarterback in the country. President, defensive end Michael Anderson and athlete McKinley Whitfield top the class of 18.
Only four states are represented in this year’s class. Included is Arkansas (one commit), Kansas (two), Oklahoma (only four!) and Texas with the remaining eleven. The trenches were looked after this year, as seven total players from the offensive and defensive lines committed.
Only one other quarterback joins Chad President in the class, Will Hefley from Pulaski Academy of Little Rock, Arkansas (quite the unorthodox program—definitely worth a quick Google search).
Five skill players and athletes, three defensive backs, and a linebacker round out the positions represented this year.
The Hurricane’s recruiting is down from last year, where they placed at 78th. Though there were no players above three stars, running backs D’Angelo Brewer and Tavarreon Dickerson have already made a small impact.
2013 was slightly more successful, with TU ranked 74th, tied with three other schools. While Keevan Lucas was the obvious head of this class, Will Barrow and Kerwin Thomas have both seen starting time at cornerback.
So what has caused this downturn in recruitment? Looking at previous classes, replacing older, veteran players was much more of an urgent issue—not so much now when sophomores make up a good amount of the starting corps.
That being said there were needs to be filled in the positions that seniors left.
“We had some depth issues in some certain spots, and as you can tell in our signing class we tried to address those especially in the back seven defensively.”
“We feel like we addressed those needs, again, we did it in a hurry but excited about those additions that we have added and up front offensive line-wise in whatever league you’re in, especially in this one, you’re going to win games up front.”
When asked about starting players Montgomery said, “We’re always going to have the philosophy that we would love to redshirt every freshman we take in.”
“With that being said, my job, Dr. Gragg back there, he hired me to do a job to make sure we’re putting the best 11 guys on the field. So if that happens to be a senior, great! If that happens to be a true freshman, great.”
However, the much larger reason recruiting was down is the coaching change. Blankenship was out, and Montgomery was in—the new coach has had little time to bring his own athletes in (President notwithstanding).
“With the way they did the ‘dead period’ this year with the Football Championship Series going on, it really made it a new challenge for us.”
“(We) had to take almost a year’s worth of recruiting and it’s 15 days, but really when you got guys here on campus, when you narrow it down, we did about a year’s worth of recruiting in ten days,” said Montgomery.
What can we look for in recruiting in the next few years? I’m not saying we’ll be up with the big Power Five schools, but the recruiting will be much better.
Coach Montgomery has spent well over a decade under Art Briles in the state of Texas, growing relationships with high school coaches across the state and elsewhere. Give Coach Montgomery time and patience, and the recruiting class will improve.