Inside Signing Day (1:50 p.m.)
Today is one of the biggest non-gamedays of the year in college football. We'll be live inside the football offices all day long, providing you updates as prospects sign their letters of intent with the Golden Hurricane.
We'll get reactions from coaches and the comings and goings from the football office.
5:15 p.m.: Before leaving the football offices on Tuesday night, Department Assistant Patrice Swanson changed the toner cartridge on the fax machine to prepare for the heavy use on the following day.
5:45 a.m.: Defensive student assistant Clint Rountree is the first to arrive. "Tree" makes the first pot of coffee.
6:20 a.m.: The second to arrive is defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. After opening his office door, he makes his way to the coffee. He sees a real need to water down the coffee. He and Rountree make their way to the defensive meeting room to what else -- watch video and make plans for spring drills.
6:30 a.m.: Director of Football Operations Ross Parmley arrives and makes sure everything is operating smoothly (Not certain what that means, but he does a GREAT job at it).
Oh by the way, I guess the first to really arrive to the football offices today, never left. The infamous "Focker" (nicknamed from the movie) -- football video coordinator Gabe Haney -- stayed the entire night working on -- End-of-the-Year cut-ups, updating video software for all 26 computers, and the signee highlight video that will appear on Tulsa's official athletics web site -- tulsahurricane.com -- later today.
6:59 a.m.: The first good news of the day... No one has signed illegally... that means no one has faxed their letter in before the NCAA mandated time of 7 a.m.
7:04 a.m.: The fax machine rings. Is it a signed letter-of-intent? Or just another fax? Just so happens recruiting coordinator Matt Wells is right there waiting on it. It's a letter-of-intent . . . the first one comes from Kenny Scott, a defensive tackle from Anderson, South Carolina, but he's an hour ahead.
Scott's fax beat quarterback signee Clark Harrell by one minute. Harrell's national letter came in at 7:05 a.m.
The heavily anticipated day has now officially begun.
7:17 a.m.: Newly named linebackers coach Darin Eliot makes the second pot of coffee. He admittedly say's "I made it a little strong".
7:20 a.m.: All the football coaches are accounted for in the office.
7:47 a.m.: It's still kind of quiet. Coaches are visiting, watching film, walking gingerly through the office, and drinking coffee. When's the first batch of donuts going to show up???? Oh, the real reason we're here... three recruits have faxed their letters-of-intent.
7:48 a.m.: Parmley keeps checking the fax machine, while making copies. He's finishing up the coach's latest recruiting trip expense reports. Matt Wells has already been to the fax machine five times.
7:55 a.m.: Wells' cell phone rings. It's defensive end Tyler Scarbrough from Stillwater High School. He's calling to say... the signed letter is being faxed now. Wells hands the phone to coach Kragthorpe . . . "What's going on Tyler... Congratulations... Enjoy it...How's baseball going?", said Kragthorpe.
7:59 a.m.: Department assistant Connie Branstetter arrives and begins work on the letters and labels for the newly signed recruiting class' Congratulations letter that will go out later in the day.
8:10 a.m.: No names will be announced, but so far two sets of parents forgot to sign the national letter-of-intent form. No worries, It's being corrected. I guess the parents are as nervous about the big day as their sons.
9:15 a.m.: Roger Dunaway, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director, brought doughnuts and sausage rolls from Merritts Bakery for all of the hard-working football staff.
9:23 a.m.: Patterson takes a break from watching film to refill his coffee for the fourth time today, and grabbed a sausage roll to keep up his strength for the long day ahead.
9:48 a.m.: Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations Don Tomkalski gave Coach K his list of media interviews for the day. Coach K will sure be a busy man, but he'll take time out to talk with the recruits as they call in.
9:59 a.m.: Mike Bryan's letter is received. Wells chuckles as he thinks of Bryan's love of noodling catfish (catching catfish with your own hands). Bryan's dad was an All-American at Oklahoma, and played with in the NFL with the Falcons.
10:15 a.m.: Well it is good to know TU's signees are on the ball today, as the football staff has received 17 letters of intent.
10:35 a.m.: Apparently Charles Davis wants to make sure we have his paperwork; the coaches have received it three times by fax in the last couple of minutes! Wait...Wells' just announced he has received it for the fourth time! Wow Davis must be really excited.
10:48 a.m.: Wells announces that Davis is officially hogging the fax machine as he has received the letter 10 times.
NEW UPDATES 11:12 a.m.: The 22nd letter-of-intent came in. Most of the coaches have returned to their respective offices, as some of the excitement for the day has elapsed. They are even beginning to debate lunch plans, even though I am not sure how they can be hungry after all those doughnuts and sausage rolls. The last signee to fax his national letter-of-intent is cornerback Jamad Williams of Midwest City High School.
11:22 a.m.: Wells has told me that the recruiting class is complete. A total of 22 players comprise the 2006 recruiting class for the Golden Hurricane.
11:45 a.m.: Where did all the coaches go? I guess it's lunchtime. Kragthorpe, Wells and Parmley are still hanging around the office. Running backs coach Brad Calip has walked back and forth, from the door to his office, four times in the last 10 minutes while still on his cell phone.
Offensive line coach Spencer Leftwich has left the building. He actually is leaving town. He and his wife will be celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary the rest of the week in New York City. Coaches are trying to picture "Lefty" in New York City . . . You can take Lefty out of the country, but you can't take the country out of him.
11:58 am: The athletic media relations staff met with Coach Kragthorpe to review the signing class and take quotes for the official press release.
12:30 p.m.: The official press release and player bios on this year's recruiting class has been completed and printed... AND... awaiting the 2 p.m. press conference.
1:00 p.m.: Coaches have been returning to the office at various times. Some have been at lunch and some have been running. Throughout the day, current football team members have been reporting to the football office for their daily check-in and signing a couple of autograph footballs.
1:15 p.m.: The Donald W. Reynolds center room has been set up for Coach Kragthorpe's press conference.
1:37 p.m.: Newly appointed cornerbacks coach Derek Jones reviews the press release... just because he wants to. His wife, Nakata, and daughter, Madison, will be flying into town tonight from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It will be the first time in three weeks they have been together.
1:45 p.m.: Stay tuned for the signing day press release and bios. It will be announced in about 15 minutes. Also, video highlights of each player will be placed on this site later in the day.
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