Oklahoma high school players play a big part in Emporia State's turnaround

When Garin Higgins took over Emporia State's football program in 2006, there was little success to promote. So, the Blackwell native turned to Oklahoma high schools for recruiting.
by Jacob Unruh Published: February 16, 2014

photo - Carl Albert's Trenton Ball in Midwest City, Tuesday July 2, 2013. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman  Steve Gooch - The Oklahoman
Carl Albert's Trenton Ball in Midwest City, Tuesday July 2, 2013. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman Steve Gooch - The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma ties for Higgins are hard to ignore, too. He coached Northwestern Oklahoma State, becoming the most successful coach in school history, before becoming the offensive coordinator for one season at Northeastern State.

His father, Gary Higgins, also coached high school football across the state for 30 years. Offensive coordinator Matt Walter also played at NWOSU.

But for some, it's troubling to see an out-of-state school recruit so well.

NWOSU landed 19 Oklahoma players, Central Oklahoma signed 18, Southwestern Oklahoma State added 13 and Southern Nazarene inked 12, but schools like NSU (seven), East Central (seven) and Southeastern Oklahoma State (six) seemed well behind.

UCO and NSU are even MIAA conference members alongside Emporia State. Higgins, however, was quick to point out that a coaching change at NSU slowing down the recruiting process.

“I think they're doing a good job,” Higgins said of UCO and NSU. “I think they're trying to turn their program around. I've been through that time period of trying to turn around a program and it's tough.”

by Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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Emporia State's Oklahoma connections

Emporia State's emphasis on recruiting Oklahoma talent reached a new level with the 2014 class.

The Hornets signed 10 players from the state, including some top-level talent. Here is a look at the class and the current makeup of the roster.


Player; Pos.; Ht.; Wt.; School

Trenton Ball; TE; 6-6; 230; Carl Albert

Justin Brown; WR; 6-2; 195; El Reno

Kai Callins; RB; 5-10; 190; Guthrie

Drew Cook; S; 6-1; 185; Casady

Diesen Gorham; OL; 6-3; 295; Perkins-Tryon

Stephen Hocker; OL; 6-5; 250; Enid

Justin Marchà; K; 6-1; 180; Edmond Memorial

Landon Nault; RB; 5-9-185; Kingfisher

Joe Neece; WR; 6-1; 170; Cashion

Orlando Sheets; DB; 5-11; 190; Del City


Jaelon Bledsoe; H; 6-3; 210; Tulsa McLain

Jonathon Burton; RB; 5-11; 200; Enid

Mitchell Foote; WR; 6-3; 185; Enid

Corben Jones; QB; 6-1; 205; Yukon**

Jordan McAdoo; OL; 6-4; 299; Piedmont

Chris Poston; DB; 6-1; 195; McGuinness*

Ty Reasnor; QB; 6-2; 180; Cashion

Trey Rodgers; OL; 6-4; 282; Collinsville*

DeWayne Sanford; WR; 6-3; 200; Lawton MacArthur

Drake Smithton; WR; 5-9; 190; Woodward

Jake Warehime; DL; 6-0; 305; Del City

A.J. West; RB; 5-10; 185; Yukon

Brent Wilson; QB; 6-0; 183; Ponca City

Justin Wilson; DL; 6-0; 322; Luther


**Transferring to Southwestern Oklahoma State

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