Opening Remarks by TU Head Coach Steve Kragthope
"Obviously, I think we earned some positive respect and momentum coming out of the season, which enabled us to put together a heck of a signing class. A lot of credit obviously has to go to our assistant coaches because they are the guys that go out and beat the bushes, and I thought they did a great job of identifying players early."
"I think we addressed the issues that we felt like we needed to address in terms of some immediate needs on the offensive line. We signed two junior college offensive linemen, a junior college wide receiver, a junior college defensive linemen, and then a junior college deep snapper so again those areas we felt like there was some immediacy in terms making sure we got guys in here. All are here on campus right now and they will all be participating in the winter workout program and then spring ball, which starts four weeks from yesterday."
"That was a big issue for us ... to get some immediate help for us at a few positions. The other thing we wanted to address was the fact that we felt like we needed more size in the program. We signed five guys that are at three hundred pounds or more. So I felt like we addressed that issue. We also recruited a number of athletes that continue to give the speed on the field that we need to have."
"Again overall I am very, very pleased with our class signed thirteen players that either played high school football or junior college or combination of both in the state of Oklahoma, which I think is critical for us. We want to keep the best players in the state of Oklahoma that is important to us for a couple of reasons. Number one, there are great players in this state that are well-coached that can come in and be very competitive and help us get to where want to get to in terms of winning a championship. The other reason is, it is a great situation for us in terms of our fans. I know they want to see the players that they have followed throughout the course of their high school careers continue to play in close proximity, where it is easy for them to get to watch them play."
We signed eleven players that played either junior college or high school football in the state of Texas with nine or ten those guys being from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. So that again holds with our recruiting philosophy that being that 75%-85% we should be able to recruit on a tank of gas, which is again important to us for two reasons. Number one, it easier for us as a coaching staff to get to the players to evaluate them, and then mostly importantly, it easy for those players to get here and for their families to get here and have a chance to watch them play."
"Overall, I am very, very excited about this recruiting class. We follow up last year's class with an excellent class this year. One of things that helped us was that after the dead period and after the bowl game, we had 18 Commitments. We had one commitment at that point in time last year. We used the last ten days of the recruiting period as junior recruiting days. Programmatically, we are that much further ahead at this time, this year, than we were last year also in terms things we want to do for the 2005 recruiting class."
What was different about recruiting this year?
"I think it was probably was a little bit different. Last year, we sold faith and hope, and this year, we sold results and the things were able to accomplish on the field this year-with the record we had, the fact that we turned the program around, we are seven points away from being the champions of our league, and had a chance to go compete in a bowl game. So I don't think that there is any question that we garnered some respect with some awards that our players won, with some things we were distinguished with being the turnaround team in NCAA division I-A football...I do think that people saw results. We coupled out with the fact that we think that there is a lot of potential left."
How important is it to you to have a Booker T. Washington football player on this recruiting list?
"Very, Very important, we felt that was an area we needed to address to recapture some of the school in the state of Oklahoma that we had been losing players to out of state schools. We felt like that was very important and particularly important to get back into Booker T. Washington high school because of the quality of the players that are there, quality of people that are there-the coaches, the administrators-those are the kind of guys we want in our program and we had been losing far too many of those players. To get a player of Demahco's capability athletically, his intelligence level, his desire to be a great football player at the college level is really a coup for us at Tulsa. We need to continue to keep that pipeline open because there were will always be players at Booker T. and it is a short drive across town to get here to the University of Tulsa. We did feel like that would be important for us this year and will be important for us every year and hopefully, we have reestablished that pipeline."
On the Quarterback from Oregon
"We felt like we would recruit nationally for that position. Through a couple of recruiting services and a couple of contacts, one those being Rob Johnson's dad, bob. I coached rob at Buffalo. He does a lot of work with Nike and the elite 11 camps. So David's name came up to us through him and couple of other sources. He got overshadowed a little but in the conference and the city he played in because Eric Ainge was probably the marquee quarterback. He is going to Tennessee. I felt like David was a heck of player and those sentiments were echoed by guys who had actually worked him during the summer. We liked what we saw on film. We liked him as a person when he came here to visit us on campus, and I think he has a chance to be a heck of player. He has got good numbers and he is very, very productive as a player. And again, his numbers were not as good as Ainge's were, but he didn't get the opportunity to throw the football as Eric did. I think this guy is going to be a heck of player. I like his football intelligence. I like his demeanor. I like his leadership skills. I like his skills to throw the football. He can also make some plays with his feet. So I think he is guy who can come in here and jump in the mix and we will see where he lands."
On truthfulness in the recruiting process
"We are going to tell exactly how it is. We are going to tell exactly how it. We are going to tell them the absolute truth because what happens if you don't do that and they end up coming to your program, at some point in time, the truth is going to come to bear. At that in point time, that player walks into your office and says coach it is not like you said it was going to be. And so now where is my relationship with that player? It is shattered and it is hard to repair it. We are going to tell our recruits and our players exactly the way it stands. Exactly what we feel, exactly how things are going to go throughout the process of recruiting, and we are going to be very open, very up front, and very honest with them. And hopefully they see that and hopefully a lot of players did see that, and I think a lot of the players did see that and they appreciate that. The game of recruiting there is a lot of talk and sometimes not a lot of it having substance. So again one of things we try to do, as staff is to be very up front, very honest, very forthright, and hopefully the players see that, and I think they have."