Wagoner senior Lawrence Evitt, one of the state's best running backs, will likely have some help in the backfield this season with the return of Devin Hawkins.
Hawkins is trying to come back after suffering two ACL tears in his right knee. He first injured his knee during the Bulldogs' first scrimmage last season, and he suffered the second tear in February.
Now, there's a chance that Hawkins, who is also a senior, will be released in time for Wagoner's first game Sept. 6 against Coweta. Hawkins has already been released for non-contact drills.
“The other day when he went for his strength test, the strength in his injured leg would have been strong enough to get released has his good leg stayed the same, but his good leg strength increased too,” Wagoner coach Dale Condict said.
Evitt, who is No. 30 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of the top recruits in the state, is being recruited by Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oregon State and Memphis. He ran for 2,980 yards and 35 touchdowns last season.
CLEVELAND'S EXPERIENCE AND REPLACEMENTS
Offensively, the Cleveland Tigers are returning a lot of experience, with at least three wide receivers and running backs coming back. Former wide receiver Derek Reeves will fill the void at quarterback in his final season.
Defensively, though, Cleveland loses five of its front seven. That amounts to over 500 tackles. Look for senior and three-year starter Nathaniel Henley as well as junior and two-year starter AJ Sheets to lead the lines.
VINITA'S KING SWITCHES ROLES
Barring injury, Vinita senior Zac King likely would've broken the school record for career receptions this season.