TULSA — Jeffery Mead and Carson Meier always figured they'd end up teammates in college.
The Tulsa Union seniors were right, but got the sport wrong.
“We looked like we were gonna go play D-1 basketball, but now it's changed to football,” Mead said.
Yes, the big, tall duo of pass catchers — who committed to Oklahoma exactly a month apart from one another this summer — harbored hoops dreams long before the gridiron became their clearest path to big-time college athletics.
That's not to say Mead and Meier aren't still enormously skilled basketball players. As juniors, the forwards were the top two scorers on Union's state-tournament team and have no plans of skipping their senior basketball seasons, even though football is their future.
“Jeff and Carson both have grown up thinking they're basketball players,” said Union football coach Kirk Fridrich. “I think as they've gotten older, their skill sets in football have given them new opportunities.”
Meier, a 6-foot-7 tight end, committed to Oklahoma on May 22. Mead, a 6-6 wide receiver, followed with his commitment June 22.
Mead said growing up, he and Meier actually played against each other on the hardwood.
“I played for the Titans and he played for the Wildcats,” Mead said. “Then I ended up going to the Wildcats and playing with him in about seventh grade.”
It was around that time their close friendship began to form. After they graduate next spring, they plan to room together at OU.
But before either future Sooner gets too far ahead of himself, Tulsa Union's football and basketball programs have state championships they'd like to reclaim.
The Redskins won four straight Class 6A football titles before being knocked out in last year's semifinals by archrival Jenks. Tulsa Union also failed to repeat as Class 6A boys basketball state champions, losing in the quarterfinals to Putnam City.
“It's really important,” Meier said. “All I think about is winning state — not only in football, but also in basketball. I'd like to go out of here with rings.
“I know our whole team is focusing on it. We know Jenks, Broken Arrow and Owasso will all be tough. We've gotta train harder than they do.”
Lots of elite high-school athletes choose to focus on one sport — especially once they've decided the direction they'll go at the next level.
Some coaches strongly encourage such dedication to one sport, but Fridrich said that's never been his style.
“It's fun to watch them play basketball,” Fridrich said. “Here at Union, I've always said that if you can compete and have a chance to help a team win a championship, we want you to go do that.
“That's kind of rare sometimes these days, the way kids specialize and go into one sport. In some cases, maybe they need to. But with these guys, they're able to be on top of their game in both sports. I think they should do those things.”
Players who have committed to OU
Player; Pos.; Ht.; Wt.; Hometown (School)
Alex Dalton; OL; 6-4; 280; Troy, Ohio (Troy)
Brandon Glenn; DL; 6-3; 274; Irving, Texas (Ranchview)
Marcus Green; DB; 6-1; 176; Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill)
Justice Hansen; QB; 6-3; 200; Edmond (Edmond Santa Fe)
Vontre McQuinnie; DB; 6-1; 204; Lancaster, Texas (Lancaster)
Jeffery Mead; WR; 6-6; 179; Tulsa (Union)
Carson Meier; TE; 6-7; 220; Tulsa (Union)
Samaje Perine; RB; 6-0; 213; Pflugerville, Texas (Hendrickson)
Dallis Todd; WR; 6-5; 205; La Mirada, Calif. (La Mirada)
Tito Windham; DB; 5-11; 181; Gulfport, Miss. (Harrison Central)