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Coach Blankenship gets off the phone with one of Tulsa's signees on Wednesday.
Coach Blankenship gets off the phone with one of Tulsa's signees on Wednesday.
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Feb. 6, 2013

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Tulsa, Oklahoma - The University of Tulsa's 2013 football signing class totals 21 players, including 12 Oklahomans, five players from Texas, two from Colorado and one each from Arkansas and Missouri, it was announced today by Head Coach Bill Blankenship. One of the 21 members of this signing class, Keevan Lucas, enrolled in classes this past January.

Among the signees, seven are on offense, 12 on defense and two have been designated as athletes. On offense, the Hurricane signed one receiver, three linemen, one running back/H-back, one tight end and one quarterback. Defensively, Tulsa added a total of five linemen, including three interior players and two ends, four defensive backs and three linebackers.

"With this class, we are excited about getting more athletic and just recruiting really good football players," said Blankenship. "Overall, we felt like we needed to continue to get bigger and faster, and when I say bigger, I really mean taller and longer. Those athletes with length have an opportunity to grow into being much bigger players."

Seven newcomers were selected either first- or second-team Oklahoma all-state according to the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman -- first-team selections include Rob Boyd (OL), Frankie Davis (DE), Blake Mejia (OL), Dalton Rodriguez (DE) and Zach Webb (DT); and second-team honorees Devin Rolan (LB) and Zach Uhles (OL). Nine players were named to The Oklahoman Super 30, while seven Oklahomans were selected as ESPN's Top 22 prospects. Boyd, Webb and Uhles were also joined by Jaylen Lowe (ATH), Ben Oberste (ATH) and Kerwin Thomas (DB) as Oklahoma Coaches Association all-state selections.

Tulsa signed a total of eight players for the offensive and defensive fronts. All three of the offensive linemen earned either first- or second-team Oklahoma all-state honors, while three of the five defensive linemen are also from the state of Oklahoma and each earned first-team all-state merits.

"I think we've gotten bigger and more physical in the offensive and defensive lines," said Blankenship. "We feel really good about the three offensive guys upfront that we signed -- Rob Boyd, Blake Mejia and Zach Uhles."

"The defensive line was a point of emphasis in this recruiting class. We really needed to grow some depth there, and I think we did that with guys like Lionell Phillips, Jesse Brubaker and Zach Webb. You put those three interior guys with Dalton Rodriguez and Frankie Davis, two local kids, and we think we have really helped ourselves on the defensive front," added Blankenship. Phillips and Brubaker jump the border of Texas to come play at Tulsa, while Webb, Rodriguez and Davis are all from the Tulsa metro area.

The Hurricane also needed to add depth at the cornerback and linebacker positions.

"We needed some depth at corner and got two kids out of the Dallas area, Will Barrow and Ray Crockett, Jr., who are really going to help us in that area," Blankenship said. "They have the ability to be real special at cornerback, and two Oklahomans Joe Bean (Hooker, Okla.) and Kerwin Thomas (Wagoner, Okla.) come into the secondary. Both Joe and Kerwin are really athletic guys. Joe can be a Marco Nelson type of player, while Kerwin is another athlete who could even move over to the offense."

"We brought in a couple of linebackers that were really highly rated on our board. Devin Rolan is a guy that we have been on for a couple years from McAlester (Okla.). He's a big, physical inside linebacker who can really run and then C.J. Gooden, from Ashdown, Arkansas, is another guy that can really run. These two guys bring some speed with physicality to the table. We're fortunate to get a third linebacker, Jake Hanks from Colorado, who's a big, strong and physical guy," said Blankenship.

Hanks wasn't the only player from the state of Colorado to sign with the Hurricane, as Tulsa corralled quarterback Ryan Rubley. The 6'4" signal-caller, who's father T.J. played quarterback for the Golden Hurricane from 1987-91, went somewhat under the radar after missing good portion of his junior season due to injury.

Colorado and the state of Missouri hadn't seen a whole lot of players come to the Hurricane in recent years, but just like Colorado, Tulsa dipped into the state of Missouri this year and plucked out one player. Tight end Kolton Shindelar, a 6'6", 252-pound athlete who is a track star, saw most of his playing time on the football field as a senior at Liberty (Mo.) High School, where he became a highly sought-after prospect.

Tulsa added a third player from Tulsa's Union High School as running back/H-back Chris Hall joins linemen Mejia and Rodriguez as Hurricane signees. Hall has good size and is another athletic player who is expected to fit in nicely at the H-back position.

Two eastern Oklahoma student-athletes who were signed as athletes -Jaylen Lowe and Ben Oberste - both played quarterback at nearby high schools, but will most likely make a new position their home in a Golden Hurricane uniform.

"I think Jaylen is a really special player. It will be really interesting to see how he develops, and then Ben as well. Both were quarterbacks in high school, and could possible play quarterback, but their real gift to us is their athleticism. They are both just tremendously gifted athletes that can do a lot of things and could find themselves on the field pretty quickly."

Again, the Tulsa philosophy of starting with local student-athletes and going outward with keeping a 250-mile radius in mind is very evident with the 2013 class.

"We have a real specific philosophy on recruiting that says we're going to start with proximity and work are way out. The bulk of our class should come within 250-mile radius, which essentially is Kansas City to Dallas," said Blankenship. "If you took concentric rings around Tulsa, you should see more of our recruits closer to Tulsa and a few more as you go out. We really feel a need to do our best - to own Tulsa county, eastern Oklahoma and all of Oklahoma when it comes to recruiting. We take great proud in being the Oklahoma school with the most Oklahomans."

Tulsa will open the season on the road, August 31st, at Bowling Green State University. Season tickets for Tulsa's six-game home schedule are now on sale and can be purchased online at www.TulsaHurricane.com, by calling 918.631.GoTU (4688) or by stopping by the TU athletic ticket office at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on the TU campus.