TU newcomers making waves

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TULSA, Okla. -- The second day of fall football camp at Tulsa was a bit more eventful than the first, as players hustled from one drill station to another, while working in a heavy dose of scrimmaging. Head Coach Steve Kragthorpe is impressed with many of his newcomers and feels there is more depth at several positions.
“If you just look at the sheer numbers of it, we’ve got more depth on the offensive line, and we’ve got more depth at quarterback than we had at this point in time last year,” said Kragthorpe. “You’ve got James (Kilian), who’s a proven commodity now, and you’ve got Paul (Smith). I think David (Johnson) is doing a good job, and Jake (Hammond) is doing a good job. So, that’s an impressive area.”
“I think another area where we improved ourselves is in the secondary. I think we’ve got a lot of guys that can compete for playing time there, and the good thing about that is that (defensive backs) are very good special teams players too. I think that will help us in terms of putting more speed on the field defensively and in our special teams.”
Among the newcomers are several freshmen that simply do not look like your typical Tulsa freshman. Safety Ty Page, who had committed early to Kansas State before changing his mind and signing with the Golden Hurricane, has the physique of a college senior. He is strong and athletic, performing well in drills and gaining “wows” from bystanders.
Two freshmen linebackers, 6-foot and 205-pound Jonathan Penelton and 6-foot-1 and 195-pound Corey McMurrian, are also physical specimens. Both are sleek, strong athletes that will add instant depth to the linebacking corps.
This bumper crop of impressive freshmen gives Tulsa football a solid future and is a testament to the excellent recruiting efforts of the staff.
“I was pleased that we were able to garner some attention this year in recruiting and put us in a position to throw our hat in the ring for them and ultimately sign them,” Kragthorpe explained. “I’m even more pleased to have them here, getting a chance to coach them and a chance to work with them. They are better than I expected. I knew they were going to be good players, but I really like their attitude and their work ethic.”
Other impressive freshmen:
• Defensive backs Anthony Germany and Randy Duncan are big and athletic and looked very good in drills. Germany has reportedly had an excellent summer in strength and conditioning.
• Defensive back Billy Greenidge isn’t quite as big as Germany and Duncan, but has a nice frame and good quickness.
• Linebacker Chris Chamberlain is an excellent athlete with good speed. He was very quick to the ball and was swift out of his cuts.
• Wide receiver Damahco Ousley is tall, lean and fast. He ran tight routes, made good adjustments and displayed soft hands.
• Quarterback David Johnson appears to be getting more comfortable. He has very good technique and throws well on the run. Johnson made crisp throws and has a fairly strong arm.
Junior college players add depth
Receiver Ashlan Davis from Tyler Junior College is almost a clone of TU senior wideout Jermaine Landrum. Davis is very quick and speedy with a fantastic set of hands. The pint-sized player was also impressive returning kickoffs and appears to be having fun with his new teammates. Davis should make an immediate impact and will be a handful for the opposition in the open field.
Fresno City College transfer Conner Long is a strong, thick tight end that has performed well in drills. He has excellent blocking skills and doesn’t shy away from contact. Long should be able to provide some relief for Blankenship and Mills.
One more not returning
Walk-on running back Rodney Tucker did not return to the team. The Plano (TX) East graduate and transfer from Southern University had a decent spring and had performed well in the Spring Game.
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