By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
In the mind of Deuce Mayberry, he has a one-on-one advantage against every receiver he meets.
Perhaps that is why he is regarded as one of the top defensive backs in the state and has been sought out by Division-I programs.
“When I’m on the field, I feel like my speed is really top-notch and my technique is great,” Mayberry said. “I feel like when I’m in the receiver’s face, that there is no competition in my eyes. I got to be faster than them and jump higher than them, so that my athletic abilities is better than theirs overall.”
Mayberry, a 5-11, 175-pound, cornerback, hopes to translate that attitude onto the football field for the Owasso Rams this fall. Then he intends to take it to Kansas, whom he made a verbal commitment to early last month.
There are many reasons why Mayberry chose the Jayhawks. His older brother, Kyle, who was a standout at Booker T. Washington, is already in Lawrence.
“What drew me to Kansas was my freshman year in high school. My brother went to Kansas and I loved the campus. I loved the feeling of the campus. It just felt like home already,” the younger Mayberry said.
Reuniting with his brother will be special for him.
“I never got to play with my big brother,” Mayberry said. “He is a redshirt junior, so I’ll get to play one year with him.”
Mayberry also felt a connection with cornerbacks coach Chevis Jackson and head coach Les Miles, who coached at Oklahoma State and LSU and plans to turn Kansas, a long-suffering program, into a solid contender.
“I felt a connection with him (Jackson) once. I went on my first visit with him. We text, we hopped on the phone and things clicked,” Mayberry said. “And Les Miles, he’s a real good coach. I know a lot of history about him. He coached a lot of great kids and I feel like saying he is one of the best coaches in college. That’s another reason why I chose the school.”
The Mayberry brothers are not the only Tulsa area athletes that have been sought out by Miles. Gavin Potter, a Broken Arrow graduate who impacted the Tigers’ state championship team last season, is also headed to Kansas.
“I feel like (Miles) is actually making some real good connections. We have two people (Kyle Mayberry and Kameron McQueen of Union) already on the team from Tulsa. So, I feel like he is starting to notice that (area talent). Tulsa was on the down end in talent for awhile, but now we’re coming up on the top end. So, I don’t think we’re underrated anymore.”
Deuce Mayberry chose Kansas over Illinois State, Tulane, South Dakota and Northern Iowa. He sees a lot of potential for Kansas to make a 180 degree-turn.
“They’ve been doing better in past years with their (previous) coach, (David) Beaty, and I feel like with Les there, he’s been recruiting good guys, he’s going to change the offense around and the defense is going to be great. So, I feel like the program is going to change even before I get there. I feel like they only need a year or two, so, I feel like it is going to be great,” Mayberry said.
In the meantime, Mayberry is focused on the upcoming season for the Rams, who finished as a Class 6AI semifinalist last season after winning state the year before.
With nine starters returning, Owasso is hoping to rekindle the fire it had in 2017.
“The majority of our starters are actually on defense,” Mayberry said. “Everyone in our secondary is the exact same as last year. I feel like we’re going to be the exact same as last year and the secondary is going to be even better. We also have Isaiah Jacobs, who is a super star running back. If he stays healthy, we’re going to be great.
“I also feel like our offensive line is getting stronger, getting better, getting bigger in the weight room and doing great outside,” Mayberry said. “ I feel like they’re going to be great. I feel like we’re going to do great on offense.
“I just want everyone in this state to know that we’re going to win state. We’re coming for everybody,” he added.