, Muskogee, OK

February 4, 2013

Anchors aweigh is decision for Muskogee lineman

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— After a night of weighing it out with his family, Dexter McGriff decided the change of direction that led him to a weekend visit in Annapolis, Md., was exactly the open door of opportunity he would walk through.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound offensive lineman will play football at Navy, where not only the prestige of a military academy degree awaits, but also the five-year military commitment.

This time a week ago, McGriff’s plans were with Central Oklahoma, where he had verbally committed a couple weeks ago. But one call from the east coast school and a conference call with his mother,  Laurie Jefferson and Roughers coach Josh Blankenship, and McGriff was on his way for a campus visit on the final weekend before National Signing Day.

The answers to his questions were made clear after returning home to talk about it with those closest to him.

“I had a great time there and got my questions answered, which really had to do with what the commitment was about,” he said. “There’s a lot of ways to fulfill that and not all of them are where you have a gun in your hand.”

The thought of being at a military academy had never occurred to McGriff before last week.  He had a career interest in cyber security, which has both government and military potential.

“It was my decision the whole way,” he said. “But I wanted to get back home and share with (parents) what was going through my head.”

McGriff, a three-year starter, said he will redshirt his first year, allowing him to get accustomed to the rigorous training both militarily and academically.

Blankenship thinks McGriff has the makeup to be successful in that  culture.

“He’s got what he needs academically and I’ve seen him as having D1 potential but also as someone who would probably fly under the radar,” the coach said.

“One of the things that stands out about him is how poised he is in the situation. He doesn’t fluctuate and isn’t really excitable, which some can confuse for a lack of drive.  His competitiveness is not compromised by that poise.  I’m no expert on the military academy but I think that part of his makeup will serve him well in that capacity.”

McGriff will make it official with a signature on a national letter of intent on Wednesday at Indian Bowl.  One of his teammates up front, Dillon Rice, will join him. According to Blankenship, Rice met with him Monday and said he was changing his commitment back to Central Oklahoma after going in the direction of  Northeastern A&M last week.

“He had looked at NEO from the standpoint of getting another shot at a Division I school but told me this morning he was solid with UCO,” Blankenship said.

Also according to Blankenship, punter/kicker Preston Soper has decided to pass on an offer at Fordham University, a Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) school in New York to go to the University of Tulsa as a preferred walk-on.  He’ll join Eddie Venters, another Rougher who has enrolled in that capacity after two seasons at Northeastern A&M.

Two Sequoyah players make decision

Two seniors on the Sequoyah football team have made their decision on where they will play college football.

Offensive lineman Mvhayv Locust will play for Central Oklahoma while wide receiver/defensive back Niko Hammer will attend Oklahoma State and try to make the football roster as a walk on.