Some startling news on National Signing Day.
The University of Tulsa football staff was out-recruited by a singular defensive end out of Oklahoma City.
Facts are facts: Phillip Montgomery and Co. watched as Putnam City’s Collin Clay recruited circles around the crew at 11th and Harvard.
On the eve of Signing Day, Union lineman Ricky Stromberg flipped from Tulsa to Arkansas. A devastating blow to the Golden Hurricane, a solid get for the Razorbacks.
And in the end, a victory for Clay.
Mix in Jenks lineman Brady Latham and it was a solid day in Oklahoma for Arkansas.
“I talked to both of them when they were offered, and I told them let’s keep this Oklahoma-to-Arkansas pipeline going,” Clay told Skordle. “They already had prior visits, and they loved it so I told them there’s no point in waiting.”
Whether it was Clay -- a 6-foot-5, 261-pound defensive lineman -- or the lure of the Southeastern Conference, Latham and Stromberg saw something outside of the Sooner State that they liked. But Chad Morris and his staff in Fayetteville should give Clay a big slap on the back for playing de facto recruiter behind enemy lines.
“It’s been great communicating with our recruits on the team,” Clay said. “I usually know in and out who’s committing, and I always post my eye ball (emoji) to get the fans excited. From the commits to the flips, it’s been a fun experience.”
Fun for Arkansas, for sure. Not a tremendous development for Tulsa, who ought to be brimming with in-state talent.
Instead, the Golden Hurricane ended up with two local signees: Union defensive lineman Darrias Murdock and Edison offensive lineman Chester Baah. Great talents, sure, but they’re joined by a bunch of Texas signees, while the rest of the top-notch talent in Oklahoma went elsewhere.
Owasso’s Will Kuehne is headed to North Texas. Del City’s Jeff Foreman will grace the Arkansas State roster with his presence. Putnam City North’s Will Taylor signed with Missouri State.
And it goes on and on.
Look, if a Union lineman (Isaiah McGuire) wants to go to Missouri and play in the SEC, fine. Same with Broken Arrow linebacker Zach Marcheselli going to TCU. It happens -- when a chance to play in the Big 12 or SEC comes calling, players will generally listen.
But Kuehne spurning his home state for a team in Conference USA? Or Foreman driving in Tulsa’s general direction on his way to Jonesboro, Arkansas? Or Mustang’s Justin Wardlaw passing through Tulsa on his way to Missouri State in Springfield, Missouri?
Makes no sense. Bad look for the Golden Hurricane.
Same goes for Oklahoma State. Edmond Santa Fe’s Trace Ford, Booker T. Washington’s Demarco Jones and Collinsville’s Grayson Boomer are headed to Stillwater, but then the Cowboys sat idly by while some of the state’s best players said “so long.”
How does Oklahoma State not land Blanchard’s Jamie Nance, or Marcheselli or the trio headed to Arkansas? Maybe Mike Holder was onto something…
Anyway, back to Clay. He’s found his new home in Fayetteville.
“Other schools, I felt like, didn’t have the close relationship like I did with Arkansas,” Clay said. “My chances of playing early are high and the fan base is amazing.”
Some hearty congratulations are well deserved for Clay. Not only did he sign his letter of intent to play Division I college football, but his recruiting staff of one (himself) might be the second best in the state.
Signing Day -- where they’re going
Jamie Nance (Blanchard) - Nebraska
Trace Ford (Edmond Santa Fe) - Oklahoma State
Kyler Baugh (Talihina) - Houston Baptist
Kamron Love (Edmond Santa Fe) - Navy
Justin Wardlaw (Mustang) - Missouri State
Jeff Foreman (Del City) - Arkansas State
Marcus Major Jr. (Millwood) - Oklahoma
Chester Baah (Edison) - Tulsa
Zach Marcheselli (Broken Arrow) - TCU
Will Kuehne (Owasso) - North Texas
Grayson Boomer (Collinsville) - Oklahoma State
Cole Mashburn (Norman North) - Memphis
Dax Hill (Booker T. Washington) - Michigan
Daxton Byers (Deer Creek) - North Texas
Will Taylor (PC North) - Missouri State
Collin Clay (Putnam City) - Arkansas
Baylor Christy (Beggs) - Missouri State
Darius Boone Jr. (Union) - Eastern Michigan
Alex Felkins (Holland Hall) - Columbia
Demarco Jones (Booker T. Washington) - Oklahoma State
Brady Latham (Jenks) - Arkansas
Darrius Murdock (Union) - Tulsa
Ricky Stromberg (Union) - Arkansas
Isaiah McGuire (Union) - Missouri