Del City football coach Nick Warehime thinks Oregon State got a steal in Eagles wide receiver/running back Corey Lawrence.
“I think he is the best player in the state of Oklahoma and the most explosive,” Warehime said. “Whether the rankings say he is or not is not relevant to me. I know what kind of impact player he is and what kind of player he can be at the next level.”
Lawrence, who averaged 22 yards per reception for Del City last season and led the Eagles to a district championship, chose Oregon State over New Mexico. Sporting a black Oregon State cap and T-shirt, on Wednesday at Del City's signing day ceremony, Lawrence was one of seven Eagles who signed letters of intent to play college football.
Lawrence said he is excited about becoming a Beaver and playing in Corvalis, Ore., even though it's a long way from home.
“It's a beautiful place and they have some good coaches,” Lawrence said. “It's like a family environment up there. I am looking forward to it, but I am going to miss my family at the same time.”
Warehime said Oregon State coaches want to move Lawrence to the secondary. Lawrence said coaches have told him he may play both wide receiver and cornerback.
MORE THAN JUST FOOTBALL FOR FREEMAN
Carlos Freeman wanted to make sure his future after football was set.
Wednesday morning the Midwest City High School three-star offensive lineman signed a football letter of intent with Washington State, where he plans to major in construction management.
“A lot of kids, they go off recruiting because of the name of a school and something like that,” Freeman said. “I'm like, ‘Yeah, the name is great, but you've got to think long term. You can't think just four years ahead.'
“I'm thinking, ‘OK I want to go to a program, put in as much work as I can and see if I can make it to the level after. If I can't, that's OK. I'm going to have a really, really good option to settle back on.'”
Midwest City coach Darrell Hall calls Freeman “a true Bomber,” pointing out his involvement in just about everything the school offers.
“He's just one of those all-around good people,” Hall said. “He participates in everything. He goes to powerlifting meets while wrestling season is going on, he'll go throw the disc for track and then you come up here one night and watch a play and he's on the stage.”
NORMAN NORTH'S JONES TO WALK ON AT TULSA
Norman North kicker Redford Jones had options other than walking on at a Division I school.
In the end, though, the chance to stay in state and compete for a spot at Tulsa was too much to pass up.
Jones will join the Golden Hurricane as a preferred walk-on with the chance to compete for a scholarship.
“First off, the education there is phenomenal,” Jones said. “That was a big part of it.
“But also, the coaching there is great. A lot of colleges have a special teams coach that doesn't know how to work with kickers. They have a couple of different coaches who can work with the kickers and help you get better.”
Jones expects to earn a scholarship soon.
“They said it could be as soon as after the first semester,” Jones said. “That's my goal. I've just got to go in and compete and keep working for it.”
DEER CREEK TRIO HEADED TO SWOSU
It already feels like home in Weatherford for Deer Creek's Austin Loomis, Jared Rayburn and Tyler Follis.
All three Deer Creek standouts signed a football letter of intent with Southwestern Oklahoma State on Wednesday, keeping the recruiting pipeline from Edmond to Weatherford alive and well.
“I made my decision when I went down there, and it reminded me of home,” Rayburn said. “I felt more confident of going there.
“I think it's going to calm me down and not be all nervous going into a new environment.”
Deer Creek had seven football players sign their letters of intent, marking the largest signing class in school history. This year's signing class went 34-10 over their four-year period.
Former Deer Creek assistant coach Michael Collins is now the wide receivers coach at SWOSU, and he helped recruit the trio. SWOSU head coach Dan Cocannouer also coached at Edmond Santa Fe with Deer Creek assistant Ryan Laverty.
“There's just such a close-knit relationship between their staff and our staff,” Deer Creek coach Grant Gower said. “That's what I told our guys that going out there is going to be almost an extension of what we have here at Deer Creek as far as philosophies, the expectations and the demands put on them.”
DOUGLASS' HIGH SIGNS WITH NAVY
For Douglass running back Christopher High, the decision to play football at Navy was about more than just football.
“He understands the challenges before him,” Douglass coach Willis Alexander said. “During the recruiting process, he understood everything that is going to be expected of him. Anyone that goes to any of the service academies, that says a lot about you as a person. Chris is a good football player and an even better person. Navy is getting a first class young man.”
Navy also is getting a first-class running back. High was the District 4A-2 Player of the Year and the All-City Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
High said Navy coaches told him that he was the Midshipmen's top prospect. At Navy, High will be playing in an option offense that is considered one of the most unorthodox and innovative in the country.
“It's going to be tricky (to learn), but I will get used to it,” he said.
THOMAS FLIPS TO TULSA
There wasn't much suspense with in-state players going into signing day.
But Wagoner's Kerwin Thomas switched Wednesday, signing with Tulsa after being committed to Wyoming.
The cornerback had wanted to sign with the Golden Hurricane all along, but it wasn't until Tuesday that it started coming into focus.
Bulldogs coach Dale Condict called Thomas into his office after Thomas finished his basketball practice.
“He told me something might've opened up at TU for me,” Thomas said. “I couldn't believe it, and I didn't want to get my hopes up too much in case it didn't work out.”
But Wednesday morning, the offer officially came through and Thomas wasted no time in signing.
“I never thought it would happen,” Thomas said. “I've been through a lot this year and to be able to sign with Tulsa is a blessing. Somehow God made it happen.”
TUTTLE PAIR SIGN WITH OBU
Oklahoma Baptist signed a couple of Tuttle football standouts in Cooper Koons and Jon-Michael Hollarn.
Koons also had an offer from Central Oklahoma, but felt more comfortable with his future at OBU. Koons' brothers, Sterling (tight end) and Tanner (linebacker), play at UCO.
“UCO had offered me to play safety, and OBU at quarterback,” Koons said. “I knew I wanted to play quarterback so that made OBU the best choice for me.”
Hollarn signed to play safety, but still has plans to attend the Air Force Academy.
“I'm going through the process of getting cleared for the Air Force Academy, but I decided to sign with OBU as a backup plan if that doesn't work out,” Hollarn said.
If accepted to Air Force, Hollarn is unsure if he'll continue to play football.
“I'd like to play football at Air Force, but my main goal is to be best Cadet I can be,” Hollarn said.
THREE SPORTS AWAIT BURNETT AT ST. MARY
Kellie Burnett is a three-sport star at Mount St. Mary, and she'll try to continue on that path at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.
A three-year starter on the Rockets volleyball team, Burnett also competes in cross country and track, holding the school record in the 1,600 meters and high jump.
She helped the Mount St. Mary cross country team to a Class 4A state championship, while earning all-star honors.
Burnett has singed with the University of St. Mary to participate in all three sports at the next level.
BREWER SIGNS TO PLAY FOR COACH WHO RECRUITED FATHER
Midwest City linebacker Meli Brewer had a simple reason for choosing Friends University in Wichita, Kan.
Head coach Monty Lewis recruited Brewer's father, Meli Brewer Sr., at Northeastern State in Tahlequah in the late '80s.
“I decided it just fit me more with the coaching knowing my daddy and with a bunch of players from my school,” said Brewer, who finished with 71 tackles this season. “I felt better going there than anywhere else.”
Brewer and lineman Raymond Hernandez both signed their letters of intent Wednesday, and will join former teammates Brannon Braxton and Deon McKay with the Falcons.
SUMPTER STICKS WITH MEMPHIS
Several schools made a late push for Phillip Sumpter.
Instead, the Edmond Santa Fe safety stuck with Memphis. He signed with the Tigers on Wednesday.
“The thing about Memphis is they appreciated how good a player and student he was from the get-go,” Edmond Santa Fe coach Lance Manning said. “They're excited about Phillip.”
Manning was proud that Sumpter (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) didn't back out on his verbal commitment.
“He stuck with his word,” the coach said.
BY ED GODFREY, JACOB UNRUH, RYAN ABER, TRENT SHADID, SCOTT WRIGHT AND JENNI CARLSON