By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
While only three area high school standouts appear headed for a Division 1 scholarship when pens hit the papers on National Signing Day a week from Wednesday, plenty of signatures will send players to the next level.
One of those has already signed, Sequoyah quarterback Brayden Scott signed in December with the University of Memphis. Kerwin Thomas of Wagoner, a running back and wide receiver for the 4A semifinalist Bulldogs, has committed to play at Wyoming of the Mountain West Conference.
Vian offensive lineman Rob Boyd committed to Tulsa a year ago and that hasn’t changed. The All-Phoenix Small School Offensive Player of the Year made his official visit this past weekend and has been sold on Hurricane head coach Bill Blankenship’s team throughout.
“Nobody really came in (to the picture), I made it clear that I wasn’t going to be swayed or change my mind,” Boyd texted the Phoenix through Facebook on Sunday. “ There’s no other place like this and nobody else could make me feel wanted like they do.”
Joining him as a walk-on will be Vian teammate Rowdy Simon. A standout for the Wolverines on both sides of the football, the two-time All-Phoenix Defensive Player of the Year will likely wind up as a linebacker in college rather than at running back. His dad, Joe Paul Simon, played there.
Muskogee’s Preston Soper could still find his way to a D1 school as a kicker, a position most plug at the last minute. He’s undecided at this point but has been offered by Fordham University in New York City. It’s a Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) school.
“I took a visit up there last weekend and enjoyed it,” he said, also through Facebook.
But he has preferred walk-on offers from Tulsa and Oklahoma State and an offer from Northeastern A&M.
Another player foregoing the partial scholarship offers of smaller schools in hopes of making it at the top of the collegiate ladder is Gore lineman Chance Douthit, who according to former Gore coach Lee Blankenship is going to walk on at Oklahoma State.
One of the big winners regarding area talent may be Central Oklahoma. The Bronchos have oral commitments from five area players – Muskogee offensive lineman Dexter McGriff, Fort Gibson running back and All-Phoenix MVP Jake Gandara, Wagoner linebacker Dylan Cantrell and Cade Shearwood, the All-Phoenix Large School Player of the Year as a quarterback but being recruited as a defensive back. Muskogee defensive lineman Dillon Rice initially committed to UCO but is also considering Northeastern A&M.
Speaking of NEO, Malcolm Love of Wagoner, who played cornerback there, is also headed to UCO.
Wagoner linebacker T.J. Ponds is trying to decide between Northeastern State and Missouri Southern. Vian wide receiver/linebacker Tre Locust has committed to Northeastern, Fort Gibson tight end Ned Adair has committed to East Central, and his FGHS teammate Andrew Brestel, an offensive lineman, is leaning toward Pitt State.
Wagoner quarterback Decarius Clark remains undecided. He was a quarterback and defensive back for the Bulldogs.
Rivals.com has Oklahoma with the 13th-best group of commits nationally, tops among Big 12 teams, with Texas No. 18, West Virginia 22nd and Oklahoma State 25th.
Neither Oklahoma nor Oklahoma State has anyone on Rivals.com top 100 yet. Five of the top 10 are SEC schools with Florida topping the list. Alabama is third just behind Notre Dame and Texas A&M, which beat the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl, is eighth.
OU has six four-star players, two from the state. Joining Southmoore defensive end D.J. Ward and Tulsa East Central athlete Stanvon Taylor are Fresno, Calif., defensive back Hatari Byrd, Cypress Ranch (Texas) running back Keith Ford, Dallas Skyline defensive tackle Kerrick Huggins, Tulsa East Central athlete Stanvon Taylor and Colleyville (Texas) Heritage quarterback Cody Thomas.
Other in-state commits for the Sooners are Jenks wide receiver Jordan Smallwood, Norman North linebacker Jordan Evans and Tulsa Washington athlete Dominique Alexander. All are listed by Rivals as three-star athletes. One recruit, San Antonio Madison wideout Dannon Cavil is already enrolled at OU and will participate in spring drills.
Among those left are L.J. Moore, a four-star safety from Fresno, Calif., who has OU and Oregon State at the top of his list.
Adrian Baker, a cornerback from Hollywood, Fla., who committed to Florida State before Mark Stoops left to become the head coach at Kentucky. The Sooners lost out on Dallas Jesuit linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni, a three-star who changed his commitment to A&M after the Cotton Bowl.
Three of the Cowboys’ four-star commits are receivers – Marcell Ateman, from Wylie, Texas, Fred Ross from Tyler, Texas and Dallas Skyline’s Ra’Shaad Samples. Jerel Morrow, listed as an athlete from Emporia, Kan., Tyler, Texas, rounds out the four-stars. Rivals lists no Oklahoma commits for the Cowboys although Douglass defensive end Deondre Clark visited this weekend. His older brother Stevie has signed with OSU’s basketball team.
This coming weekend, Dontre Wilson, a four-star running back from DeSoto, Texas, will visit Stillwater.
Boyd is Tulsa’s only four-star commit, according to Rivals.com. The Hurricane have also got word from Union offensive linemen Dalton Rodriguez and Blake Mejia, Hooker defensive back Joe Bean, Broken Arrow defensive end Frankie Davis, Union running back Chris Hall, Owasso athlete Jaylen Low, Sallisaw athlete Ben Oberste, Norman High offensive lineman Zac Uhles and Metro Christian offensive lineman Zach Webb.