Jabe Burgess had his eye on the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane well before his senior season as a Bulldog quarterback began. Everything from Head Coach Bill Blankenship to the size of the school reminds him of Greenwood.
"Just how similar things are to here," Burgess explained. "The coaches’ attitudes are similar and the feel for the place. They’ve won a lot of games. I wanted to go somewhere that’s won, and someplace that wanted me as bad as I wanted to play for them. I could tell that from the beginning. That was a big part of it."
Coaching and recruiting staff from the Golden Hurricane had their eye on Burgess as well, beginning early in the Bulldog football season with their first visit to watch Burgess play. Burgess led the Bulldogs to a 24-1 record as a starting quarterback, including a perfect 14-0 season and a State Championship. He completed 72% of his passes for 5,297 yards and 57 TDs in his Bulldog career.
Burgess graduated from high school early and is already enrolled at Tulsa. He signed his National Letter of Intent last Wednesday.
"He’s been a quarterback his whole life, since the third grade, maybe even before," Bulldog Coach Rick Jones said about Burgess’ chances in Tulsa. "He’s prepared for this moment. He’s in a position to go in and play as much as he’s ready to play. That’s a really good thing. It won’t take three years to get acclimated. They need a guy to come through there for them."
Despite last year’s poor showing, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane have become know for their potent passing attack and high octane offense. Last year, they were ranked 103rd in passing yardage out of the 123 Division-I schools. They finished 3-9 and 2-6 in Conference USA.
"They struggled at quarterback," Jones explained. "He has a great opportunity there. He’s going in early, so he will have a semester under his belt before the fall camp starts. I think that will be a huge advantage for him. It’s a great opportunity."
Cody Green, the starting Tulsa quarterback, has graduated, leaving a wide open run for the position this year. Burgess will have to compete with Joseph Calcagni, an incoming junior from Springdale and sophomores Ryan Rubley and Dane Evans.
"When spring ball comes around we’ll be competing for the spot," Burgess said. "We’re going to change the playbook up a lot and there’s a lot of new things coming. We’ll have a new quarterback. We’re all going to compete hard."