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October 13, 2005

C-USA: Tulsa makes Texas top priority

Tulsa may not get credit for recruiting success like bigger in-state programsOklahoma and Oklahoma State, but coach Steve Kragthorpe has assembled quite the recruiting staff and is making noise in the state of Texas.

The latest commitment this week came from Houston defensive tackle Orlando Toldson. This came after last month's commitment from Dallas (Texas) Pinkston receiver Stephen Polk. It's not a coincidence that the Golden Hurricanes are gathering up Lone Star pledges considering the connections that the staff has to the state.

Defensive coordinator Todd Graham's experience with the state of Texas on top of an strategy to aggressively pursue stars in the southern state as schools like Oklahoma have done in years past. Though Tulsa is not known for offering early, it's obvious that they pick their battles well and go head-to-head with some top programs for their commitments.

Cedar Hill wide receiver Jerrell Norton was a big early pickup for Tulsa with several other offers on the table from Texas A&M, Kansas, and Baylor. Though he may be weighing out all his options, Tulsa gets credit for identifying and pursuing a much undervalued prospect early on.

However, one thing that Tulsa does not do is offer several prospects early.

Many in-state players such as Josh Johnson and Prince McKinney are still waiting on a Hurricane scholarships. Though many schools are taking a more aggressive approach with their offers in recent years, Tulsa wisely picks and chooses their targets.

Thus is the case with a couple of top notch prospects like Travis Burkhalter and Clark Harrell who appear to be the top two quarterback prospects on the board for Tulsa. Both received early offers and are receiving the full attention from the Hurricane staff.

Just as they did last year by grabbing late commitments from sleeper defensive end Moton Hopkins and Terrel Nemons, Tulsa is quietly building a class full of top Texas talent that may not be recognized yet by bigger programs who recruit nationally.

Watch out because the Golden Hurricane is picking up strength.

The next Culpepper at Central Florida?

It's been an interesting path for Reedley (Calif.) Junior College quarterback Terry Mayo. It all started when he stopped playing football for several years to chase his dreams in minor league baseball with the Milwaukee Brewers

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound quarterback has now been out of high school for six years but after deciding to go back to football in 2004, things heated up quickly. Mayo gathered scholarship offers from Kansas State, Oregon, Utah, and Toledo along with UCF.

Growing up watching NFL and UCF great Daunte Culpepper, his official visit sealed the deal for the Knights.

"It was that vibe," Mayo said. "It was the vibe with the team, the coaches, the atmosphere and the academic process. It's great down there. I'm real big with the kids and the community. That's another big thing that draws me to UCF. If I don't become an NFL player one day, hopefully I'll graduate with my degree and settle down in Orlando."

Mayo is expected to graduate in December and be able to compete in spring ball for UCF.

Scott stays solid with ECU

After attending two games this year, it's hard to believe that Jacksonville (Fla.) Clay offensive tackle D.J. Scott would not be firm on his commitment to the Pirates.

However, North Carolina State and Air Force are two schools turning up their attention for the 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive lineman. Apparently, it doesn't matter to Scott.

"I am still very solid in my commitment," Scott said. "I have already been to two games up there. The only visit I play to take for official visits is to East Carolina. I will probably take it sometime in December."

"It is really nice up there and the games have a nice atmosphere."

Big October weekend shaping up for UTEP

It appears that coach Mike Price and his staff are putting priority on Oct. 21 for official visitors as the Miners take on Marshall at home.

The focus seems to be on wide receivers. Last week Da'Marcus Griggs was the first known official visitor but receivers Kristofer Adams and James Dockery have lined up their trips for the October weekend as well.

"They've just called me and asked me how I'm doing in games," Adams said about phone conversations with the UTEP coaches. "Then of course they always ask when I'm going to visit. I've got that set up now."

"It's fair to say they're my top team."

With only a couple of wide receiver commitments last year, it's apparent that it is now a top priority for the Miners. With other in-state prospects like James Iwuchukwu, and Wise Cilumba still on the board, it will be no surprise to see UTEP get them on board for visits in the near future.

St. Louis receiver sets Houston trip

It appears the Houston Cougars have recognized an undervalued talent in St. Louis (Mo.) Cardinal Ritter Kris Heard and now have gotten him set up for a trip.

The 5-foot-10, 158-pound two-star prospect had a stellar NIKE camp showing at Athens and he's adding up offers. Houston was one of the first teams to send an offer Heard's way and that helped in getting a visit set.

"I mean the other two schools that are looking at me, I've been to," Heard said. "These two I haven't set yet, so I set up the trips."

Cardinal Ritter is becoming familiar ground for Houston. The Cougars have already sent an offer for 2007 safety prospect Michael Baker and appear to be pursuing teammate Deandre Gilmore as well.


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