Edmond Memorial running back Warren Wand isn’t ready to say he’s verbally committed to Arkansas State.
It was reported nearly two weeks ago by various media outlets that Wand had committed to the Red Wolves, but Memorial coach Justin Merideth told The Oklahoman on Friday that his star running back hasn’t made that decision, though one could come as early as next week.
“He’s not ready to let anybody know,” Merideth said.
Wand, who is No. 11 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30, also has offers from New Mexico and Southern Mississippi.
He rushed for 1,769 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, leading the Bulldogs to the Class 6A playoffs for the second straight season.
But he’s also recovering from a quad injury he suffered during track season. He has yet to practice this week for the Bulldogs, but is expected to be ready in time for the season.
Wand was unavailable for comment.
DEER CREEK FILLING HOLES AT RUNNING BACK
Deer Creek lost its top three running backs from last season, and finding the player — or players — to fill the void is one of the top priorities for coach Grant Gower during preseason practice.
Gower said the coaching staff is looking at as many as six players as potential contributors in the rushing game.
“We lost some talented athletes, and replacing them will be a challenge, but we’ve got a lot of good options,” Gower said. “We’ve got five or six guys who all do different things well. If we could put all of them into one guy, he’d be playing on Sundays.
“But it gives us several options, so we’re excited about it.”
TECUMSEH EXPECTING BOUNCE-BACK SEASON
Tecumseh went through its worst season since 2004 while going 2-8 a year ago.
Under first-year coach Jason Murray the Savages are expecting a turnaround in 2014.
“I think the potential to be a playoff team (in Class 4A) is certainly there,” Murray said. “At this point it’s only potential, so we’ve still got to go do it. So far the effort has been good in working towards that.”
Murray says Tecumseh’s strength is in its offensive line, and the Savages’ skill position players will need to take advantage of opportunities created up front.
“It’s good to have that strength at the point of attack,” Murray said. “If you don’t have that, everything else becomes much more difficult. We’d like to have a little more speed, but I think every team can say that. We’re going to need our receivers to step up and make some plays.”
Outside of the offensive line, Jasper Smiley is expected to be a two-way standout at fullback and linebacker. The junior recorded 133 tackles last season.
Tecumseh was picked by the coaches to finish seventh in District 4A-2.
USAO’S BYARS TO DOUBLE AS CHICKASHA COACH
Former Putnam City North soccer standout Bryan Byars is starting his high school coaching career before his playing days are even finished.
Byars, the starting goalkeeper for the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, has been named the varsity soccer coach at Chickasha High School.
Byars will begin offseason workouts this fall, while playing for USAO and managing his full-time class schedule. He also served as a Chickasha assistant last season under Scott Parkinson, a former USAO player.
“Bryan Byars will be a great addition to Chickasha High School,” USAO head coach Jimmy Hampton said. “He will do an outstanding job and represent Chickasha High School and the community in a positive light.”