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Morning Sun
  • PSU recruiting focuses on interior linemen

  • National Signing Day brings the future of college football every year and on Wednesday, Pittsburg State inked 35 high school seniors and transfers.



    The leading high school tackler last year in the state of Oklahoma. A two-year player at Oklahoma State University. Two players who thought Pitt State coaches made a right turn at Albuquerque.

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  • National Signing Day brings the future of college football every year and on Wednesday, Pittsburg State inked 35 high school seniors and transfers.
    The leading high school tackler last year in the state of Oklahoma. A two-year player at Oklahoma State University. Two players who thought Pitt State coaches made a right turn at Albuquerque.
    “We spread our area out a little bit more than we normally have,” Pitt State head coach Tim Beck said. “I felt like our coaches did a tremendous job of getting out there and finding some good players. With the availability of all the video you have online nowadays, it allows you to maybe cover a little bit more territory as far as watching video. Again, there’s a lot of organizational things that go into the recruiting process and Coach Pierce (John Pierce) does a tremendous job of keeping everybody on task as far as paperwork.”
    The 2012 Gorillas struggled with short-yardage and goalline situations — like, for example, being stuffed on a 4th-and-1 last year against Northwest Missouri in the Fall Classic.
    “We felt like offensive line and defensive line were areas that we needed to address and we signed seven offensive linemen and several defensive linemen,” Beck said. “I think everybody agrees that’s a place where you want to start with your football team, in the O-line and the D-line. I felt like we got some good players in that area.”
    Pitt State landed a pair of All-Jayhawk Conference offensive linemen who transferred from junior college powerhouse Butler. No doubt, both linemen will be expected to contribute immediately onfield.
    “Again, offensive line, we wanted to get some help and both Zach Burkhart (6-3, 292 — Mulvane) and Jesse Ingle (6-3, 285 — Valley Center) played on a really good Butler County team,” Beck said. “I actually played junior college ball (at Dodge City) with Zach’s dad and we knew about him out of high school and recruited him a little bit. He went and did a good job at Butler.”
    Last offseason, former KU safety Keeston Terry transferred to Pitt State. Now, the Gorillas have a safety who spent two years at Oklahoma State in their program.
    “Isaac Maselera is a nice pickup for us being a transfer from Oklahoma State,” Beck said. “He will give us some depth in the secondary.”
    Maselera, a native of Glenpool, Okla., recorded eight tackles in 14 career games in Stillwater. Maselera was ranked the No. 20 prospect in Oklahoma his senior year. His brother, Israel, plays on the Gorillas and recorded seven tackles in nine games.
    Two prolific tacklers at the high school level signed with Pitt State.
    “We’re really excited about both linebackers,” Beck said. “I think both Demetrius Bernard and Jaxon Uhles were really good high school players and it was time for us to make a commitment to that position again knowing that we’re going to lose Nate (Dreiling), Joe (Windscheffel) and Taylor Counts next year. We need to sign a couple good high school players and that’s exactly what they are.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Bernard (5-11, 225) established a school career record of 329 total tackles at Fort Zumwalt West High in O’Fallon, Mo. Uhles (6-0, 235) led the state of Oklahoma with 166 tackles his senior year at Norman North.
    Pitt State also signed two area products, Spencer Bernhardt of Pittsburg and Ethan Spore of Oswego. Bernhardt played a little bit of everything in high school and Spore excelled at both quarterback and linebacker.
    “We always need to try and recruit locally first,” Beck said. “Both of them were definitely good high school football players. Spencer was a quarterback but will probably be either a receiver or a defensive back when he gets here. It’s important to continue to make sure that we continue to work in this area as well as the other areas that we did.”
    Columbus High graduate and former Fort Scott Community College starting quarterback Owen Jordan also signed with Pitt State.
    The Gorillas are two seasons removed from a National Championship and the brand name Pitt State undoubtedly appeals to young football players.
    “With what’s happened the last couple years and the way that we’re supported here at Pittsburg State, the excitement of the upcoming event center, the tradition we already have here, a great group of coaches and it’s a great place to get an education, all those things combined make it a very attractive place,” Beck said.
    Are football talent evaluators ever truly done evaluating football talent?
    “We would like to say that we are done because we have signed a solid group here but things change a lot in Division II,” Beck said. “This is definitely a good starting point for us. On the other hand, it’s a time where you’ve got to get juniors on your radar and after spring ball and into spring recruiting, that’s another thing which needs to be done looking at kids on video and getting out and seeing some coaches about their upcoming seniors for next year.”
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