Shaker Reisig as TU’s next Shea Seals? It could happen

“It was refreshing,” says Kirk Fridrich of Kevin Wilson, the University of Tulsa’s new soccer coach, who immediately aggressively recruited athletes from the Tulsa area.

At Union, Fridrich leads a program that produces a high volume of major college talent.

“We obviously have proud programs in this area. We’re all proud of the work we’ve done and the (developed athletes) we’re providing to the colleges,” said Fridrich, whose interest in TU football extends beyond recruiting its Redhawk players. In 1986, as a Shawnee senior, he signed with TU and became a Hurricane defensive lineman.

Video of February 1, 2023. National Signing Day allowed the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to complete Coach Wilson’s first class. Video courtesy of TU Athletics

On Wednesday, 24 TU Football freshmen were discussed during Wilson’s National Signing Day press conference. Nine of the newcomers are Oklahomans. Three of them — safety Devin Robinson, wide receiver Grayson Tempest and offensive lineman Bennett Ringleb — are Union seniors.

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Two weeks ago, Union second quarterback Shaker Reisig announced on Twitter that he had received an offer from the University of Tulsa. Having been the ninth-grade QB for 2021 6A champion Jenks Trojans and then making a stunning move to archrival Union in May, Reisig is Tulsa County’s most famous player.

As a Union student, Reisig completed 73% of his passes. There were 27 touchdown passes against just three interceptions. In terms of position mechanics, I’ve never seen a more polished and lithe high school quarterback.

The early brushwood offer is a brilliant play from TU. At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Reisig already has several FBS offers and will receive several more. Wilson coordinated major offenses at OU and Ohio State. Ultimately, if his Tulsa offensive works at a brilliant level, Reisig could decide that Wilson and the Hurricane are his best option.

And when Reisig eventually joins TU as a member of the Recruiting Class of 2025, it could influence other Oklahoma stars to give the Hurricane program more consideration.

Thirty years ago, then-TU coach Tubby Smith signed a local superstar—McLain’s Shea Seals—in one of the most impressive recruiting successes in TU basketball history. For a 1993-94 Hurricane team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, Seals was an excellent freshman. By the end of his TU run in 1997, Seals was the program’s career leader in scoring. He still holds that distinction.

After signing Seals, TU seemed to become a trending destination for state recruits. Ray Poindexter, Rod Thompson, Zac Bennett, Eric Coley, Tony Heard and Dante Swanson were Oklahoma athletes who followed Seals’ lead – signing with the University of Tulsa and becoming difference makers during the basketball program’s top 10 years.

Could sticks one day have a Shea Seals impact on Tulsa football? You never know. With the scholarship offer, Wilson has taken the necessary first step in this direction.

For eight years, in both football and men’s basketball, there was a persistent and confusing narrative about TU: Why aren’t Golden Hurricane coaches recruiting more aggressively in Tulsa County?

The Tulsa area is home to the top five Oklahoma 6AI football high schools: Jenks, Bixby, Owasso, Broken Arrow, and Union. Booker T. Washington always has high-end athletes.

Holland Hall and the Christian schools – Lincoln, Metro and Rejoice – have become private schools. How did this happen? Good coaching and really good players.

Wagoner and Coweta have young players who will develop into major college recruits.

It often turned out that the two- or three-star kid from Texas would get a TU scholarship offer instead of the two- or three-star kid from Tulsa, whose measurements and talent matched the Texas kid’s.

No one suggested that TU should choose a Tulsa player over a more qualified Texan, but there were so many examples of local athletes who could have thrived with the hurricane but didn’t get the opportunity.

So they flourished elsewhere. The most glaring examples of football stars ignored by TU: Locust Grove QB Mason Fine (a record-breaking passer in North Texas) and Bixby wide receiver Brennan Presley (leading receiver at Oklahoma State during the 2022 season).

Wilson was hired at TU on December 5 and has been to the Union High campus four times. He and his staff got to know coaches and athletes from the region.

“Some of the best coaches and programs in this country are in this area and county. You can compete with anyone,” Wilson said on Wednesday. “And every once in a while there’s a guy at Kingfisher and a guy down at Idabel or a guy at Weatherford or Clinton. There is good football in this state.

“If you do your job, you can find some tough, local, fast guys who can play the game.”

The new Tulsa coaches were not only introduced to readily available high-level prospects, but also to underclassmen like Shaker Reisig.

“The backyard is going to be the hardest part for us to recruit,” Wilson said Wednesday. “It’s over-recruited. Everyone goes to Bixby. Everyone goes to Jenks. In these schools, sometimes it becomes a scuffle.”

Fridrich was the tour guide as Wilson and new Hurricane staff gave a look at Union’s new stadium and incredible strength and conditioning facility.

“(Wilson) was impressed,” reports Fridrich. “Every time a college coach comes here, they get the tour.

“We want college programs to know that a child from Union will be college ready. They have been educated and will not turn a blind eye when they arrive on a college campus and see what is expected.”

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