First of all, credit due to pistolsfiringblog.com for the idea for this article, they always have great stuff.
Last season Tulsa freshman safety McKinley Whitfield became a key part of the Golden Hurricane defense, appearing in all 13 games and tallying 13 tackles. In the team’s third game, the freshman from Spiro laid a huge hit on Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard. The hit caused TU fans to raise their eyebrows and ask “Who is that guy?!”
In 2016, some of these players have a chance to make an impact similar to Whitfield’s. For the fans reading this article, you’ll be able to give an answer when the inevitable “Who is that guy?” question arises.
1. OT Deya Mhiesen – The 6 foot 7, 305 pound tackle from Arizona Western definitely has D1 size. Deya has loads of talent and potential. It is worth noting he also held an offer from Oklahoma State. The Golden Hurricane lost both their starting guards, Garrett Stafford & Chris Wallace, last May to graduation. Although Deya projects as a tackle, I still expect him to appear in every game next season. If he proves to be a quality lineman, I wouldn’t be surprised if they slid Willie Wright over to guard and placed Deya in the starting lineup. Willie’s size makes him fit better as a guard, and he will have experience over the other projected guards Tristan Wyatt, and Rowdy Frederick.
2. S Manny Bunch – Manny enrolled early and played in the 2016 Spring Game. Bunch has talent, ball skills, and the coaching staff seems excited to have him on the team. Similar to Whitfield, Bunch came in as an athlete from the small city of Roland, OK. Enrolling early allows him to have edge on the rest of the 2016 class, and last season Bill Young showed that he isn’t afraid to run many players on and off the field in the secondary. After the transfer of corner JR Reed the Golden Hurricane will be looking for someone to step up. Look for Manny to make an impact early.
3. WR Josh Stewart – Admittedly, I am reaching a little here. Tulsa is already really strong at wide-out, and Stewart isn’t necessarily a blue-chip recruit, but I watch his tape and I see a mature playmaker. Josh has speed, he seems to run crisp routes, and he catches the ball with his hands. Although Josh won’t necessarily fill a need in the offense, I could see him inserted into the return game with Bishop Louie.
4. LB Robert Rebels III – Linebacker is another position that Tulsa has depth in, but Revels’ talent may allow him to see the field as a freshman. Revels held 7 offers, including Texas Tech and Indiana. The 6 foot 3, 235 pound prospect from Houston plays hard, and has a nose for the football. Unless they want to keep him under redshirt, he will be an instant contributor to special teams.