Douglass' Deondre Clark commits to LSU
There's nothing better than having options — and Deondre Clark had plenty.
Douglass' 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end ultimately found himself choosing between two college football programs that have won half of the BCS national championships over the last decade, LSU and Alabama.
And on Monday night, Clark picked LSU, calling the coaching staff to give them his verbal commitment, as first reported by Rivals.com.
“I wanted to commit on my visit to their spring game,” Clark said. “But I had to come back home and talk to my mom about it. I took my time, but it felt like the right school for me.
“It feels like home when I'm down there. I really wanted to play in the SEC, because it's all about football down there, and that's what I love.”
Clark, rated No. 2 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 recruit rankings for 2014, had 99 tackles and a school-record 22 quarterback sacks as a junior. He had offers from virtually every major program in the country. Others on the list included Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and several more.
“He was going back and forth between LSU and Alabama,” Clark's mother, Dorshell Clark, said. “He wanted to get it done before the season got too close.
“Alabama hadn't made as much contact with him, and he just decided that's what he wanted to do.”
Deondre Clark is the younger brother of Stephen Clark, an incoming freshman on the basketball team at Oklahoma State and one of the most prolific scorers in state history. Stephen Clark scored over 3,000 points and won four state championships at Douglass.
Deondre Clark is the second Douglass football player to commit to a Division I program, along with offensive lineman Mildren Montgomery, who committed to Texas Tech earlier this month.
Clark is the 18th Oklahoma prospect committed to a D-I program in the 2014 class, which is proving to be one of the state's deepest recruiting classes in years.
“I'm glad to get this done now,” Clark said. “I feel like I can focus on the season and get our young guys ready to have a good year.”
Merritt working fast as
new Norman North coach
Bryan Merritt made 79 phone calls in his first two days on the job at Norman North.
For a boys basketball coach being hired in the first week of June — right when summer leagues and camps are picking up — Merritt had to work quickly.
“I started calling players and parents, trying to get everybody organized,” said Merritt, who previously served as the head coach at Chickasha. “We started off a little behind, but it's been good. We've been having about 35-40 people at weightlifting.
“We're going to the (Oklahoma Baptist) team camp this weekend. I don't know how organized we'll be from a basketball standpoint, since we can't have any official practices, but everything else has gone great.”
Merritt led his alma mater, Chickasha, to the Class 5A state tournament in March, the Chicks' first appearance since 2004. He replaces Butch Roberts, who stepped down after the season.
Merritt takes over a young team that had two freshmen in the starting lineup.
“I really like the players, not only how they play, but how they go about conducting themselves,” Merritt said. “I'm really excited about it, and really appreciate getting the opportunity.”
Coleman Key commits
to Colorado State
Broken Arrow quarterback Coleman Key has committed to Colorado State.
The commit was first reported by The Coloradoan of Fort Collins, Colo.
Key, No. 17 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 ranking of the top state college recruits of the 2014 class, threw for 1,308 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He picked the Rams over Arkansas State, Houston, Illinois, North Texas, Toledo and Western Michigan.
Key's one of four Tigers who are committed, joining running back Devon Thomas and linebacker Gyasi Akem, who are both committed to Oklahoma State, and offensive lineman Keaton Baggs, who is committed to Louisiana-Monroe.
Texas wins Heartland
For the third consecutive season, Texas won the Heartland Classic.
The Lone Star state representatives beat Ohio 6-0 in Saturday's championship game to take the title.
Texas lost its first game of the week, 5-4, to Georgia before winning seven consecutive games to take the title.
After winning its first four, Oklahoma went 1-4 to end the tournament. Maryland beat Oklahoma 16-7 in Saturday's third-place game.
The tournament raised nearly $10,000 for tornado relief efforts in a silent auction and other donations.
Texas' Hunter Hargrove of Mansfield was named the Player of the Tournament.
Three players from Oklahoma — Edmond Memorial's Parker Rigler, Yukon's Garrett Benge and Carl Albert's Gavin LaValley — were named to the All-Tournament team.
Mark Little to coach defense at Mount St. Mary
Longtime high school football coach Mark Little is returning to the sideline as the defensive coordinator for Mount St. Mary.
Little took last year off after coaching offense for the Rockets in 2011, and head coach Chris Stiles persuaded Little to return.
“I've got my golf game about where I want it now,” Little joked. “I got some calls and texts from people and kids there, and they got me off my duff.
“Usually, these things I leave up to the Lord, and he opens doors for you.”
Little has primarily been an offensive coach throughout his career — but not always. He coached defense at his first job in Hobart, and again in Sapulpa. During his time as Putnam City's head coach, he was tuned in to what the defense was doing as well.
“Defense is where I started my career, so I've got to go back a few years,” Little said. “As an offensive coach, you know what you like to see and what you don't like to see from a defense, so that's one of the benefits of coaching both sides of the ball.
“I'm at the point in my career where if I can help somebody else, I want to do it. I feel needed and wanted there. Chris Stiles has done a great job. The people are tremendous, and their primary goal is to help young people, so it feels right.”
Durant's strength coach holding camp at Del City
The nationally renowned basketball strength and conditioning coach who has worked with Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant since high school will be holding a camp in Del City this summer.
Alan Stein's Cutting Edge Camp, designed to improve basketball athleticism, will be held from noon-4 p.m. on Aug. 17 at Del City High School.
Stein, based out of Maryland, is regarded as one of the top basketball strength and conditioning coaches in the country.
Cost to attend the camp is $75 per player or coach, if registered by Aug. 4, and $99 thereafter, with team/group rates available. The camp is open to children age 10 and up.
The camp offers exercises in flexibility, quickness, agility, core strength and basketball-specific conditioning, among other things.
Registration and information is available online at bigleafbasketball.eventbrite.com.
By Scott Wright and Ryan Aber