ADA – Considering limited recruiting time, East Central University head football coach Tim McCarty is certainly excited about his 2009 recruiting class.
“We addressed some issues on our roster with the emphasis being on speed, particularly at the skilled positions,” said McCarty, who is entering his second stint as the Tiger head coach this fall.
Among the 22-man, all-freshmen list are seven players out of Muskogee High School. In fact, McCarty and his staff signed 15 players out of the state of Oklahoma and seven more from Texas.
“We wanted to emphasize high school players. We want to build a championship football team and we want to build that foundation with freshmen,” McCarty said.
Speed will be the primary weapon to add to that building process, according to McCarty.
“From a defensive standpoint, we need to be able to run to the ball and make tackles for minimum or no gain, lock up a receiver and run downfield,” said McCarty. “From an offensive standpoint, we need to hit a crease in the line, burst through the line of scrimmage and be able to score in the open field. On special teams, we need to cover down field and be in position to make the tackle while the ball is in the air. I think we will be able to accomplish these things with this recruiting class.”
Among the signees were three players who earned their district’s top awards, including linebackers Erik Howell, of Muskogee, and Amos Cherry, of Coweta, along with the athletic Phillip Pawelek, out of Pleasanton High School (Texas). Also, Tyler McGrew, out of Bixby High School, was the district’s top receiver.
“We’re in this for the long haul and need a great foundation. The players that we recruited will buy into this,” McCarty said. “I’m very pleased with the high quality of athletes we got. They bring toughness and athletic ability which will make our roster better.”
Here are brief sketches of each ECU signee:
KEVAN ANDERSON, DE/OLB, 6-1, 215, Muskogee, Okla. Anderson was a 2008 All-District 6A-4 selection for Muskogee’s Roughers after posting 38 tackles, five sacks and eight tackles for lost yardage in 2008. He was voted Muskogee Rougher Comeback Player of the Year.
JORDAN BROWN, DB, 5-10, 185, Muskogee, Okla. Brown was a 2008 All-District 6A-4 pick as a defensive back for the Roughers as he was also voted Defensive Player of the Year on the squad. He registered 95 tackles (seven for losses), one interception and broke up 10 passes.
D’NICCKO CUBIT, DB, 5-11, 175, Muskogee, Okla. Cubit was also a 2008 All-District 6A-4 honoree as a defensive back as he compiled 42 tackles (four for losses), seven forced passes and six pass breakups for Muskogee.
ERIK HOWELL, LB, 6-2, 230, Muskogee, Okla. Howell was named 2008 District 6A-4 Player of the Year and was a Class 6A Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State selection as well as being voted as the Roughers’ defensive player of the year in 2007 and 2008. He posted 405 career tackles, including 156 last fall with eight for lost yards and four quarterback sacks.
JACK LEWIS, OL, 6-1, 240, Muskogee, Okla. Lewis started as an offensive guard for Muskogee this past season and was chosen as a 2008 All-District 6A-4 as an offensive lineman.
MATT MESSER, DE/OLB, 6-1, 230, Muskogee, Okla. Messer was selected as a 2008 OCA Class 6A All-State performer as well as being named to the 6A-4 all-district team. He compiled 65 tackles, including six for losses, and eight sacks, one interception and scored a defensive touchdown.
ANGELO SHIPP, WR, 6-1, 185, Muskogee, Okla. Shipp was an All-District 6A-4 as a wide receiver as he collected 520 yards in receiving with three touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, he totaled 28 tackles.
AMOS CHERRY, LB, 6-0, 220, Coweta, Okla. Cherry set the school record for unassisted tackles in a career (217) and game (18) for Coweta High School. He was also named District 5A-4 Player of the Year while earning two-time all-district and all-metro honors. Cherry was an all-state selection as a senior after posting 137 tackles and finishing with 527 for his career.
VICTOR COOPER, FS, 6-0, 185, Red Oak, Texas. Cooper was a Second Team All-State selection and a First Team All-District for Red Oak High School.
MAURICE COTTON, RB, 5-9, 185, Tulsa, Okla. Cotton was an honorable mention all-state honoree as a running back for Booker T. Washington High School as he rushed for 500 yards and scored six touchdowns. He also earned first team all-district and all-metro awards. While serving as team captain, he also played defense where he totaled 27 tackles and intercepted three passes.
TERRANCE CRUMLEY, WR, 6-3, 190, Ft. Worth, Texas. Crumley had 27 catches for 472 yards and five touchdowns this past season for North Crowley High School. He also rushed the ball eight times for 75 yards, collected 302 yards in kickoff returns and completed 1-of-2 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
BRANDON DABNEY, DE, 6-2, 220, Norman, Okla. Dabney was an all-district and all-conference pick for the Norman Tigers as he registered 63 tackles (39 solo) with 21 tackles for lost yardage and 11 sacks as a defensive end.
DERRICK DUNCAN, OLB, 6-0, 200, Tulsa, Okla. Duncan was a District 5A-3 honorable mention pick for Booker T. Washington High School as he collected 45 tackles, intercepted two passes, forced one fumble and recovered a fumble.
AIRIUS ERVIN, Athlete, 6-2, 220, Lawton, Okla. Ervin was a Daily Oklahoman and Tulsa Word All-State honorable mention award winner. He also captured all-district honors and was a three-year starter on both sides of the ball for Lawton High School. He also posted 223 career tackles.
CURTIS FORTENBERRY, LB, 6-0, 215, Ft. Worth, Texas. Fortenberry compiled 162 tackles, including 12 for losses for North Crowley High School. He also finished with three quarterback sacks, caused four fumbles, made three fumble recoveries, intercepted three passes and broke up four more.
RONALD GAMBLE, LB, 5-11, 210, Tulsa, Okla. Gamble was All-Metro selection and an honorable mention All-State pick out of Booker T. Washington High School. Gamble, who was also a First Team All-District 5A-3 at linebacker, compiled 130 tackles with six sacks and three interceptions this past season.
TOBYN LARGE, OL, 6-3, 305, Montgomery, Texas. Large was a first team all-district and first team all-county as well as an academic all-district for Montgomery High School. He was also voted as an all-area and all-state by scout.com as well as making the All-State Academic Second Team.
TYLER McGREW, Athlete, 5-11, 185, Broken Arrow, Okla. (Bixby HS). McGrew played several positions for Bixby’s Spartans, including running back, receiver, strong safety, cornerback and linebacker. McGrew was named District 5A-3 Receiver of the Year and an OCA Class 5A All-Star. Offenseively, he had 36 catches for 447 yards and one touchdown, rushed 18 times for 123 yards and was even 2-of-4 passing for 33 yards and one TD. He also had three punt returns for 73 yards. Defensively, he had 85 total tackles (25 unassisted) with seven tackles for lost yards, three sacks, four forced fumbles, 11 pass breakups and two interceptions.
COLBY OGLETREE, Athlete, 6-2, 215, Montgomery, Texas. Ogletree was an honorable mention all-state pick and a first team all-district selection out of Montgomery High School. He made 18 receptions for 252 yards and two touchdowns this past season.
PHILLIP PAWELEK, Athlete, 6-2, 175, Pleasanton, Texas. Pawelek was the district’s most valuable player while competing for Pleasanton High School as a running back, wide receiver, quarterback and free safety. He rushed for 1,814 yards and scored 24 touchdowns (both school records) while carrying the ball 234 times.
ADRIAN WILLIAMS, LB/DE, 5-11, 230, Brazosport, Texas. Williams was a two-time all-district honoree and made the All-Brazoria County Team this past year for Brazosport High School.
NORRIS WRENN, FS, 6-0, 170, Lawton, Okla. Wrenn performed well on both sides of the ball as a wide receiver and defensive back for MacArthur High School as he was a First Team All-District Receiver. He caught 33 passes for 493 yards and five touchdowns on offense and registered 94 tackles and three interceptions as a defensive back.