, Muskogee, OK


February 6, 2013

Signed and sealed

With some surprises, area athletes’ decisions become official


Another late surprise

Preston Soper got a call last night from Missouri and this morning, donned a Missouri cap rather than the Tulsa cap he had initially decided on, nixing a full-ride offer from FCS school Fordham University.

For a kicker, it’s as close to a scholarship as many get in the early going at the top level.

“They tell me they think they’ll be in need of a kickoff kicker bad,” he said. “I’m going to go up there in mid-June, take classes, work out and kick, punt, do whatever I need to do to show them what I can do.”

Soper, who was the All-Phoenix kicker and punter as a sophomore, then as a punter his senior season, said he gave the New York City school in what used to be known as the I-AA level some serious thought.

“In the end, it’s too far from home,” he said. “And of the guys on the team, I think I found three who actually drive a car. You don’t do that in New York City.”

Nothing for granted

Muskogee lineman Dillon Rice wrestled with the notion of one step back to take two steps forward, then it occurred to him. Just go play. And he will, at Central Oklahoma rather than opt for two years of junior college at Northeastern A&M before taking another shot at Division I.

“Division I is every kid’s dream and some don’t make it. I’m just ready to play football. The coaches at UCO tell me I’ve got a chance to make an immediate impact as a freshman, which is something I wanted. And it’s a good conference,” he said.

The 6-3, 295-pound Rice was a two-time All-Phoenix selection on the defensive side, including this season.

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