Tulsa waited longer than usual to pick up its first football commitment of the recruiting cycle, but the wait was worth it when one of the nation's top quarterbacks picked the Golden Hurricane.
Greenwood (Ark.) quarterback Jabe Burgess recently made several unofficial visits to Tulsa and came away impressed. It caused him to end his recruitment early, despite offers from Illinois and Louisiana Tech, as well as strong interest from Arkansas and several other SEC schools.
"I just got off the phone with the (Tulsa) head coach, Coach (Bill) Blankenship, and I'm very excited for the opportunity," he told Inside Tulsa Sports on Thursday evening. "The coaches, overall, trust in me. I wanted a place that wanted me as bad as I want to play college football. I felt comfortable on every visit I've taken there, and I'm really excited to be a Tulsa Golden Hurricane."
The 6-foot-3 and 220 pound signal caller expects to graduate a semester early from high school and enroll at Tulsa in January.
"Coach Blankenship and the staff have told me they are all for my early graduation," he explained. "I will be enrolled after Christmas and will be working out with the team for the spring semester."
Enrolling at mid-term will allow Burgess to compete for the starting quarterback spot at Tulsa, as senior Cody Green will have just completed his senior season.
"Yes, I feel very comfortable with the offense that Coach Blankenship is running, and I'm looking forward to competing for the job," he added.
Burgess is related to former Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, who once was committed to TU for a short time. The two cousins stay in close contact, and Burgess leaned on Wilson for advice on the recruiting process.
"I've called (Wilson) almost every night this week asking him for help," he described. "Between my family, (Greenwood) Coach (Rick) Jones and Tyler, I've been extremely blessed with people that truly care about me and my future, and they were all for my commitment to Tulsa."
The 3-star prospect led Greenwood to a state title and an undefeated 15-0 season in 2012. When asked about his individual performance, he gave credit to the entire team.
"Our motto was 'do what we do' or DWWD," he said. "We are very team oriented, and we simply went out and accomplished what we've been doing for years."
Completing an impressive 74-percent of his passes last season, Burgess connected on 219-of-296 throws for 3,128 yards and 36 touchdowns with only five interceptions.
"I take pride in my release time and work every day on getting the ball out as fast as I can," he concluded. "A quick release and being able to stand in the pocket under pressure are some of my strengths. I want to become stronger and faster, and I also want to work on my footwork as much as I can. We are a primarily shotgun team and rarely take snaps from under the center, so I would like to improve on that."
Burgess is rated as the nation's No. 24 pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com.