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2014 Tulsa Recruiting Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 6, 2014


Tulsa Golden Hurricane 2014 ... Head Coach: Bill Blankenship


Tulsa Golden Hurricane

2013 Record: 3-9
8/29 at Bowling Green L 34-7
9/7 Colorado State W 30-27
9/14 at Oklahoma L 51-20
9/21 Iowa State L 38-21
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/5 Rice L 30-27 OT
10/12 at UTEP W 34-20
10/19 OPEN DATE
10/26 at Tulane L 14-7
11/2 UTSA L 34-15
11/9 at East Carolina L 58-24
11/16 Marshall L 35-34
11/23 at La Tech W 24-14
11/30 North Texas L 42-10


The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Fix what’s ailing the passing attack. Navy can survive the passing inefficiency that the Golden Hurricane endured in 2013. Tulsa cannot. The team stood 120th in the category, throwing a dozen touchdown passes and 19 interceptions. WR Keyarris Garrett returns from last September’s broken leg, but is QB Dane Evans truly the guy who’s going to lead the attack into a new league? He was a mess in October and November, completing more than 50% of his throws in just two of eight appearances.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive tackle. The Golden Hurricane addressed the defense a little bit, getting Petera Wilson at inside linebacker and a few options for the line and secondary, but the offensive side got the most help with tackles Isaac Johnson and Tyler Bowling both ready-made size to go along with guard Mildren Montgomery, a smallish but quick option. There aren’t any stars at running back, but Deandre Murray is a blazer and JUCO transfer Tavarreon Dickerson was brought in to see time immediately.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 79. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The Golden Hurricane went heavy on targets last year, but there's always room for more. Keevan Lucas has the speed and talent to become a No. 1 target, while Khalid Kornegay and tight end Jesse Brubaker have excellent upside. Quarterback Ben Oberste and Ryan Rubley will one day fight it out for the starting job with Oberste a little more talented but Rubley a bit bigger. Devin Rolan is going to one day be a leading tackler at linebacker, and Joe Bean is soon going to be a starting safety.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 81. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. It’s not a glaring need after loading up with talent in 2009, but the coaching staff will be looking for down the road with options to keep the high-octane attack going. There isn’t any one major issue for this year’s class to address, so it’ll be about trying to upgrade the talent level across the board. Defensively, the back seven will get the most attention. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 71. That Class Was Heavy On ... Cornerback. The offense should keep on rolling under new head coach Bill Blankenship, but the nation’s worst pass defense has to stop someone for the team to make a big step toward a Conference USA title. While the defensive line got the most bodies, and Gus Johnson and Zack Langer are interesting running backs, the focus is on cornerback with Kwame Sexton a potential No. 1, shutdown defender and Dwight Dobbins a good prospect. JUCO transfer J.D. Ratliff will be used immediately.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 93. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front. RB Ja'Terian Douglas is the star of the class and Thomas Roberson should be a No. 1 wide receiver early on, but the key is the defensive front. JUCO transfers Tyrunn Walker and Darrell Zellars will be in the rotation right away, and Durrell Finch, another JUCO transfer, has the speed to be a dangerous pass rusher. With a little bit of time, DT Alec Henry could be the best of the bunch.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 77. That Class Was Heavy On ... wide receivers. The resignation of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn does not signal a change in philosophy at Tulsa, which still plans to wing it around out of no-huddle sets. With that in mind, the Hurricane is bringing in a bunch of receivers, most of whom are undersized flyers in the mold of current flanker Damaris Johnson. The gem of the newcomers is Ricky Johnson, who could have gone to any number of SEC schools. The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Fix what’s ailing the passing attack. Navy can survive the passing inefficiency that the Golden Hurricane endured in 2013. Tulsa cannot. The team stood 120th in the category, throwing a dozen touchdown passes and 19 interceptions. WR Keyarris Garrett returns from last September’s broken leg, but is QB Dane Evans truly the guy who’s going to lead the attack into a new league? He was a mess in October and November, completing more than 50% of his throws in just two of eight appearances.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive tackle. The Golden Hurricane addressed the defense a little bit, getting Petera Wilson at inside linebacker and a few options for the line and secondary, but the offensive side got the most help with tackles Isaac Johnson and Tyler Bowling both ready-made size to go along with guard Mildren Montgomery, a smallish but quick option. There aren’t any stars at running back, but Deandre Murray is a blazer and JUCO transfer Tavarreon Dickerson was brought in to see time immediately.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 79. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The Golden Hurricane went heavy on targets last year, but there's always room for more. Keevan Lucas has the speed and talent to become a No. 1 target, while Khalid Kornegay and tight end Jesse Brubaker have excellent upside. Quarterback Ben Oberste and Ryan Rubley will one day fight it out for the starting job with Oberste a little more talented but Rubley a bit bigger. Devin Rolan is going to one day be a leading tackler at linebacker, and Joe Bean is soon going to be a starting safety.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 81. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. It’s not a glaring need after loading up with talent in 2009, but the coaching staff will be looking for down the road with options to keep the high-octane attack going. There isn’t any one major issue for this year’s class to address, so it’ll be about trying to upgrade the talent level across the board. Defensively, the back seven will get the most attention. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 71. That Class Was Heavy On ... Cornerback. The offense should keep on rolling under new head coach Bill Blankenship, but the nation’s worst pass defense has to stop someone for the team to make a big step toward a Conference USA title. While the defensive line got the most bodies, and Gus Johnson and Zack Langer are interesting running backs, the focus is on cornerback with Kwame Sexton a potential No. 1, shutdown defender and Dwight Dobbins a good prospect. JUCO transfer J.D. Ratliff will be used immediately.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 93. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front. RB Ja'Terian Douglas is the star of the class and Thomas Roberson should be a No. 1 wide receiver early on, but the key is the defensive front. JUCO transfers Tyrunn Walker and Darrell Zellars will be in the rotation right away, and Durrell Finch, another JUCO transfer, has the speed to be a dangerous pass rusher. With a little bit of time, DT Alec Henry could be the best of the bunch.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 77. That Class Was Heavy On ... wide receivers. The resignation of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn does not signal a change in philosophy at Tulsa, which still plans to wing it around out of no-huddle sets. With that in mind, the Hurricane is bringing in a bunch of receivers, most of whom are undersized flyers in the mold of current flanker Damaris Johnson. The gem of the newcomers is Ricky Johnson, who could have gone to any number of SEC schools.

North Texas 42, at Tulsa 10
Basically … Brandin Byrd ran wild for North Texas with touchdown runs from ten, 91 and two yards out as part of a run of 35 unanswered points. Tulsa held a 10-7 lead with the defense coming through with a 97-yard fumble return for a score from Will Barrow, but that was it. The offense was stuffed all game long, and the defense was run over for 377 yards with Antoinne Jimmerson adding touchdown runs from 12 and 31 yards for the Mean Green.
- North Texas RB Brandin Byrd ran 26 times for 251 yards and three scores, and Antoinne Jimmerson ran 12 times for 85 yards and two scores.
- Tulsa RB Trey Watts ran 19 times for 114 yards.
- Total Yards: North Texas 550, Tulsa 236
- North Texas QB Derek Thompson completed 17-of-26 passes for 173 yards with a pick.

at East Carolina 58, Tulsa 24
Basically … East Carolina overcame a lost fumble for a score with 17 unanswered points including a 100-yard pick six from DeShaun Amos with no time left on the clock in the blowout win. Tulsa hunt around early with two scores from Trey Watts, but Shane Carden threw five touchdown passes and ran for two more with two of his touchdown passes going to Isaiah Hones from 18 and 25 yards out.
- East Carolina QB Shane Carden completed 34-of-50 passes for 384 yards and five touchdowns and ran 11 times for 25 yards and two touchdowns.
- Tulsa RB Trey Watts ran 27 times for 120 yards and a score and caught four passes for a team-leading 48 yards and a touchdown.
- East Carolina outgained Tulsa 505 yards to 363 and was +3 in turnover margin.
- Tulsa QB Dane Evans completed 14-of-33 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown with two picks.

UTSA 34, at Tulsa 15, Nov. 2
Basically … UTSA got touchdowns from all three phases of the game, and forced four turnovers to beat Tulsa on the road. The Roadrunners recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone and got an 84-yard rushing touchdown from wideout Kam Jones to race out to a 24-0 lead at halftime. Tulsa scored a touchdown and executed a two-point conversion, but Triston Wade picked off Dane Evans and took it 82 yards to the house to ice the game in the middle of the fourth quarter.
- UTSA QB Eric Soza was very efficient, completing 16-of-20 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown.
- Tulsa played three quarterbacks who combined for 25-of-45 passing, 221 yards, two touchdowns and two picks.
- UTSA ran for 286 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry on 39 attempts.
- Tulsa converted on just 9-of-20 third-down attempts, which was still better than UTSA’s 25% conversion rate.

Tulsa 34, at UTEP 20
Basically … Cody Green threw touchdown passes to Keevan Lucas and Thomas Roberson in the first half, and he ran for a two-yard score in the fourth as Tulsa got up early and stayed there all game. UTEP made it interesting with a 100-yard kickoff return for a score from Autrey Golden to open up the second half, and Jordan Leslie caught a 71-yard touchdown pass late in the third to pull within seven, but that was as close as it got.
- Did Tulsa ever need this. Cody Green was on, completing 14-of-17 passes for 226 yards and two scores, and Trey Watts steadied the offense with 142 yards on 27 carries. The defense came up with a terrific effort against the high-powered UTEP passing game, and while there was a lot of bending, there wasn’t much breaking. This needs to be the start of a big run for the Golden Hurricane to get the season going, but it’s not going to be easy with a road game at Tulane up next.
- UTEP couldn’t get Jamiell Showers on track. After bombing away over the last several games, he completed 12-of-30 passes for 166 yards with a touchdown and two picks. He ran well, but almost all of his big passing yards came on the 71-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leslie. Autrey Golden proved once again that he’s a dangerous weapon who needs the ball in his hands after returning yet another kickoff for a score, but the coaching staff will have to get creative. This was a devastating loss with three road games up next and five on the road in the final six.

Rice 30, at Tulsa 27 OT
Basically … Tulsa got a 36-yard Carl Salazar field goal in overtime, but Rice answered with a 25-yard touchdown catch from Darik Dillard to come up with the win and avoid a collapse. The Owls took a 24-10 lead into halftime with four-yard touchdown runs from Jeremy Eddington and Darrion Pollard, along with a nine-yard Turner Peterson scoring catch, but it was all Tulsa in the second half with two of Salazar’s four field goals – hitting a 36-yarder for force overtime with just over a minute to play – and Trey Watts’ second touchdown run.
- Rice sprinted to the bus after getting out alive. It had the game well in hand, but 11 penalties, two turnovers, and breakdowns on defense allowed Tulsa to get back into the game. However, the D stiffened up enough to force four field goal attempts, even if it couldn’t contain the Golden Hurricane ground game. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.
- Tulsa should be able to rebound in a hurry after a rocky start – the consistency has to be there. The offense found a groove in the second half, and Trey Watts ran for 165 yards and two scores, but the four field goals came because of way too many stalls, and the team was put behind the eight ball with three turnovers.

Iowa State 38, at Tulsa 21
Basically … Down 14-7, Iowa State took control with a defense that forced four turnovers and an Sam B. Richardson’s big night for the offense. The Cyclones got two Richardson touchdown passes, and Jeff Woody added three one-yard touchdown runs. Tulsa got two touchdown catches from Thomas Roberson, and pulled within ten in the fourth quarter, but the Cyclones were able to grind things out with Woody’s final scoring run putting thing away.
- He might not have gotten into the end zone, but Iowa State’s Aaron Wimberly came up with a really nice day, running for 137 yards on 19 carries and gashing the golden Hurricane on good run after good run.
- Tulsa’s mistakes were devastating. A Cody Green fumble led to key Cyclone points, and while he threw for 237 yards and a score, it wasn’t enough to offset the team’s four turnovers. The ground game wasn’t there to take back control.
- Sam B. Richardson ran well enough to overcome the Tulsa pass rush, and while he wasn’t always accurate, he threw for 255 yards and kept the offense moving when the Golden Hurricane couldn’t.
- The Golden Hurricane line had to do more against the run, but linebacker Shawn Jackson came up with 14 tackles and a pick, doing his part to keep the Cyclone ground game in check. Tulsa came up with four sacks, but it was Jackson who made play after play on his own.

at Oklahoma 51, Tulsa 20, Sept. 14
Basically … Blake Bell took the Oklahoma starting quarterback job by the horns with four touchdown passes including two to Sterling Shepard. The Sooners took a 34-7 lead in the third on Shepard’s 35-yard pass play, and Bell put it away in the fourth on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders. Tulsa got touchdown runs from Trey Watts and Ja’Terian Douglas to make it interesting at times, but the defense couldn’t stop Bell.
- The Sooner offense was unstoppable. Bell led the way to 607 yards of total offense as he connected on third down play after third down play. Bell completed 27-of-37 passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran ten times for 24 yards.
- The Tulsa passing game wasn’t bad. Cody Green pressed a bit, and he wasn’t accurate, but he kept pushing the ball down the field throwing for 226 yards with a pick. He couldn’t keep up the pace with Bell and the OU offense.
- Tulsa’s Shawn Jackson tried to be a one-man wrecking crew against the run, making 15 tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss.
- Bell did a terrific job of spreading the ball around to all of his weapons. Ten different Sooners caught a pass with Jaz Reynolds and Sterling Shepard the most explosive. Roy Finch led the team with 68 rushing yards.

at Tulsa 30, Colorado State 27, Sept. 7
Basically … Tulsa got a 34-yard field goal from Carl Salazar as time expired to escape Colorado State and pick up its first win of the year. The Golden Hurricane trailed for most of the game, needing to register the final 13 points to hold serve at Chapman Stadium. QB Cody Green threw three touchdown passes, the final one tying the score with seven minutes left in the game.
- Green needed a bounce back game in the worst way after playing poorly in the opening week loss to Bowling Green. He was hardly prolific, but the staff will take his 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
- Colorado State had major issues all night on offense, picking up just nine first downs. Chris Nwoke ran well in place of injured Donnell Alexander, but the passing attack has no pulse.
- Trey Watts was, well, Trey Watts for the Golden Hurricane. He rushed for 152 yards on 22 carries, adding a team-best eight catches for 58 yards.
- S Michael Mudoh has been one of Tulsa's most active defenders in each of the first two games. On Saturday, he had a team-high eight tackles and a pick.

at Bowling Green 34, Tulsa 7, Aug. 29
Basically … It took a little while to get rolling, up just 6-0 at halftime, but Bowling Green roared in the second half on the way to a 34-0 lead with William Houston running for three short scores and Ryan Burbrink taking a punt 67 yards for a touchdown. Tulsa managed to finally get on the board with a 27-yard Derek Patterson touchdown catch late in the fourth.
- Lost in the blowout win was a problem at quarterback for Bowling Green. Matt Schilz stunk out of the gate, giving way to Matt Johnson, who only completed 11-of-23 passes for 151 yards with a pick.
- The Falcon defense was stifling allowing just 51 yards of Tulsa rushing. The defensive backs did a great job against the run, while there was constant pressure behind the line.
- Tulsa’s defense didn’t get any help from the offense. Michael Mudoh came up with 17 tackles, but the D was on the field way too often. Bowling Green had the ball for 38:47.
- How was life without Anthon Samuel? Bowling Green ran for 233 yards and spread the work around, while Tulsa couldn’t overcome its woeful ground game through the air. Cody Green completed just 17-of-34 passes for 172 yards.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … the Golden Hurricane is the defending league champ, winning not only the Conference USA title, but also wearing the Liberty Bowl crown. Tulsa in on the right track under third-year head coach Bill Blankenship, a trend that a senior-led backfield is determined to further. QB Cody Green is looking to improve in his second season since transferring from Nebraska, and the stellar running duo of Trey Watts and Ja’Terian Douglas combined for more than 2,000 yards in 2012.

Why To Be Grouchy … a whopping 18 seniors are gone from last year’s title team; many of them were terrific players. How do you adequately replace seven All-Conference USA performers in a few months? Usually, you don’t. The Golden Hurricane is being especially hard hit at the line of scrimmage, where three all-league blockers and all four starting D-linemen have exhausted their eligibility. The staff better be prepared to do a lot of teaching this offseason.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … building depth and retooling the offensive line. The offense will have a very different look now that C Trent Dupy and both tackles, Jared Grigg and Brian DeShane, have graduated. Three new starters are needed to join Jake Alexander and Stetson Burnett. Tulsa isn’t Tulsa unless Watts and Douglas are able navigate opposing defenses on the ground and as receivers. And neither will enjoy his usual space if the front wall isn’t properly patched up.

Non-Conference Games: at Bowling Green, Colorado State, at Oklahoma, Iowa State
Games Against the East: at East Carolina, Marshall
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 5-7
Likely Finish: 8-4

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Colorado State, Rice, at UTEP, at Tulane, UTSA, Marshall, at Louisiana Tech, North Texas

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Bowling Green, at Oklahoma, Iowa State, at East Carolina

Schedule Analysis: The potential is there for a special season, but there are just enough tough road games to keep the record in check including the opener at Bowling Green – the Falcons should have the MAC’s best defense – and with trips to Oklahoma early and East Carolina and Louisiana Tech late. The defending Conference USA champs get the league’s worst break by having to face both the Pirates and Marshall from the East, and it won’t help to play three road games in four before having to deal with the Thundering Herd. However, if the Golden Hurricane can win the games they’re supposed to, and pull out a home win over an Iowa State, Rice and/or Colorado State, the record will be solid.

Team Concerns For 2013: After winning the Conference USA title and rolling over Iowa State in the bowl, there are big problems on a defense that has to replace eight starters after leading the league in most major categories. The offense has to find a deep passing game after relying mostly on the ground attack to carry the attack. Quarterback Cody Green has to be more efficient considering he'll get plenty of time to work behind a terrific line. The punting game has to improve after Cole Way averaged just 39 yards per boot.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Receivers. The Golden Hurricane went heavy on targets last year, but there's always room for more. Keevan Lucas has the speed and talent to become a No. 1 target, while Khalid Kornegay and tight end Jesse Brubaker have excellent upside. Quarterback Ben Oberste and Ryan Rubley will one day fight it out for the starting job with Oberste a little more talented but Rubley a bit bigger. Devin Rolan is going to one day be a leading tackler at linebacker, and Joe Bean is soon going to be a starting safety.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 81. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. It’s not a glaring need after loading up with talent in 2009, but the coaching staff will be looking for down the road with options to keep the high-octane attack going. There isn’t any one major issue for this year’s class to address, so it’ll be about trying to upgrade the talent level across the board. Defensively, the back seven will get the most attention. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 71. That Class Was Heavy On ... Cornerback. The offense should keep on rolling under new head coach Bill Blankenship, but the nation’s worst pass defense has to stop someone for the team to make a big step toward a Conference USA title. While the defensive line got the most bodies, and Gus Johnson and Zack Langer are interesting running backs, the focus is on cornerback with Kwame Sexton a potential No. 1, shutdown defender and Dwight Dobbins a good prospect. JUCO transfer J.D. Ratliff will be used immediately.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 93. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front. RB Ja'Terian Douglas is the star of the class and Thomas Roberson should be a No. 1 wide receiver early on, but the key is the defensive front. JUCO transfers Tyrunn Walker and Darrell Zellars will be in the rotation right away, and Durrell Finch, another JUCO transfer, has the speed to be a dangerous pass rusher. With a little bit of time, DT Alec Henry could be the best of the bunch.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 77. That Class Was Heavy On ... wide receivers. The resignation of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn does not signal a change in philosophy at Tulsa, which still plans to wing it around out of no-huddle sets. With that in mind, the Hurricane is bringing in a bunch of receivers, most of whom are undersized flyers in the mold of current flanker Damaris Johnson. The gem of the newcomers is Ricky Johnson, who could have gone to any number of SEC schools.

 

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