Staying home to play college football always takes on a special meaning.
It makes it more so when there are other guys in town who are also bound for the local university.
Such has been the case for Lincoln Christian defensive tackle Garrett Flanary and running back Reed Martin, Edison defensive back Marcus Mays and Bishop Kelley defensive end Ryan Patrick. They will be teaming up with Union running back Shamari Brooks, Collinsville quarterback Seth Boomer and Hominy linebacker Zaven Collins at the University of Tulsa later this summer.
All are high-caliber players who accomplished a lot at the prep level and signed letters of intent on national signing day on Feb. 1. The reasons they chose TU are common.
“It was just the closest,” Mays says. “The staff, the players and the whole campus just seems close-knit because it is a small school. Everybody is close. It’s not really a big campus where you can get lost. Everything is close.”
Mays, who chose TU over Memphis and Kansas State, was a two-way starter at wide receiver and defensive back in high school. He will play the latter as a Golden Hurricane.
“I really liked the coaches,” Flanary says. “The whole program seems to be based on family. Family means a lot to me.”
Flanary also says that being in a small environment serves him best. San Diego State, Navy and Tulane are other schools he considered.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Martin says. “I’m glad they recruited heavily from their own city, and it’s going to be fun to play with a few kids I know.
“The coaching staff is what attracted me,” Martin says. “I know a lot of them real well. I appreciate the fact they recruited me. Staying close to home was also a reason for choosing TU.”
Martin chose the Golden Hurricane over SMU, UTSA, New Mexico and Air Force.
“The first thing that came to my mind when they extended a scholarship to me, I was ecstatic,” Patrick says. “They are such a nice program as far as their athletics are concerned. They are on the rise in football with Coach (Phil) Montgomery being there. The thing that opened my eyes about it was how great of an opportunity it was. It’s one of the best schools in the nation. I always looked up to people who went to TU because they’re looked up to as smart and everybody that has graduated from there, at least that I know, has been successful in their career.”
Schools that Patrick chose TU over included Northeastern State in Tahlequah and Pittsburg (Kan.) State. He also drew interest from Kansas State, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Stanford and other FBS schools.
“TU was pretty much the place for me because it is close to home,” Patrick says. “Academically, they are outstanding. Everything about the aspects of their family-oriented environment, it was just no-brainer.”
“I’m very excited,” Mays says. “Shamari and Ryan, I’ve known those guys since I was a little kid, so I’m going in there already knowing some people. I won’t be trying to get to know new people.”
“It’s really good,” Flanary says. “Oklahoma has some really good players this year. It shows that we all like to stay home, stay local. We’re hoping to add what Tulsa put on last year.”
What Tulsa did put on was a 10-3 finish and a dominating win against Central Michigan in the Miami Beach Bowl.
“We talk all the time,” Flanary says. “We actually have a group chat and talk to each other to make sure everyone is on the same page about everything.“It gives a great feeling of comfort because we’ve all known each other for awhile now,” Patrick says. “I’ve known Marcus since I was in the sixth grade. Zaven Collins, I’ve known him for a couple of years now. Seth Boomer, I played against him all four years in my high school career. Shamari, I met about a year ago. We’re all just excited to get up there. We’re all great friends already, and it’s only going to get stronger from there. We text each other every day. We’re all in the same boat together and we’re ready to get started.”
The guys have high hopes for contributing and seeing a solid future for TU football.
“It’s going to be good,” Martin says. “We got Seth Boomer of Collinsville coming, and me and Shamari at running back. It’s going to be fun.”
“We’re going to have a big impact,” Mays says. “With us being from Tulsa, it’s going to help the young generation see us already doing stuff for the city and giving back to the community.
Mays said it’ll influence younger guys to also want to come to TU.
“With the bond we’ve already begun, our options are really limitless,” Patrick says. “As long we set our mind to it, we’re going to succeed. It always begins with a strong foundation and relationship with each other.”