By Mike Moguin
GTR Sports Writer
Gavin Potter came in a Kansas State hoodie to Broken Arrow’s signing ceremony early last month. He had made a verbal commitment to the Wildcats last fall.
But when he sat down to pose for a picture, he peeled off the purple hoodie to reveal a Texas Tech T-shirt, indicating, at the moment, he was bound for Lubbock. Then, he immediately removed the shirt and revealed with his chest painted blue and the letters KU in red. His back had the Number 12, his jersey number with the Tigers, painted with Jayhawks written above. It was his way to tell everyone he flipped to Kansas, where he will play for new Head Coach Les Miles.
When Potter announced he was going to Kansas State last fall, the Wildcats were the only D-I school to offer. But the legendary Bill Snyder retired from the helm after the season ended, which factored into Potter’s decision. Around the same time, Miles was hired to be the new Jayhawks head coach.
“It’s close to home,” Potter said of Kansas. “So, I feel a lot better. And there were a couple of coaching changes at K-State, and for there to be coaching changes both ways, it just seems like KU was the right mesh for me.”
Potter made a big impact in Broken Arrow’s state championship football season that also came with a perfect 13-0 record. As a linebacker, he recorded 92 tackles — 52 solo and 40 assists — with 23 of those stops for negative yardage, three fumble recoveries, two blocked kicks and an interception.
As a standout wrestler, Potter won state titles his sophomore (182 pounds) and junior (195) seasons before finishing third as a senior, while helping the Tigers to the dual and team state championships in both duals last month.
The new Kansas coach flew down to visit him in December, Potter told reporters on signing day. He later posted on his Twitter feed a picture of him with Miles, announcing he had been offered by the Jayhawks. He later announced receiving offers from Colorado State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
But in the end, Kansas won the battle for his services.
“He’s a funny dude,” Potter said of Miles. “It just kind of seemed like our personalities matched, like we went together real well. He actually came in and was wearing his big national championship ring (which he won as coach at LSU in 2007) and that was a cool thing to see. That is something that is a pretty good recruiting tool, to get other kids to see a big ring like that. I think he is ready to change that program around.
“I like the fact that (Miles) likes to win,” Potter added. “You can get a vibe from a person, you can feel them out and really feel if they’re wanting to win or not. You can feel if they’re the right coach for you. So, I just got that feeling about him and I feel like I’m going to have a good time when I go up there,” Potter said.
The Jayhawks are expecting Potter to come in and play imediately. He’ll likely be rotating between linebacker and safety, he said.
Potter said he’ll look forward to the encounters against the encampments in Norman and Stillwater.
“OU and OSU made the worst decision they have ever made letting me leave Oklahoma,” Potter said. “I’m going to look forward to playing them. That’s what I love to do. I love to prove people wrong. That’s going to be two games I’m going to have a lot of fun playing.”
Recognizing the basketball tradition KU has, Potter looks forward to going to a lot of games at Allen Fieldhouse in the upcoming winters.
“I actually got to go to one when I was up there and it was great. I’m hoping the KU fans up there realize what Les (Miles) is doing and they start supporting football the same way as they do basketball, because I’ve seen how crazy those (basketball) games get, and it’s something that is different. It is something that you’ll never see.”
12 Other Tigers Sign
While Potter was in attendance revealing his choice to attend KU, 12 other Tigers were in attendance to sign with their respective schools.
Colton Collier and Noah Cortes signed with Northeastern Oklahoma A&M while a vast majority of the other Broken Arrow football players are headed north of the state line to play at small colleges in Kansas. Matt Kaiser, Kaizer Newell and Aaron “Trickey” Stokes penned letters of intent with Pittsburg State, Quintevin Cherry is bound for Independence Community College, Trevon Klint and Kalen Scott are headed for Fort Scott Community College, and Demeco Roland signed with Hutchinson Community College.
Tate Robards is going to Morningside (Sioux City, Iowa) College and Daxton Wilson will be playing at Evangel University (Springfield, Mo.).
Zach Marcheselli, who became BA’s second four-time state champion wrestler on Feb. 23, was the only other Division-I signee. He attended the event although he had a ceremony in December announcing his signing with TCU.