Gartner checks out Tulsa

It was a big weekend in Lincoln for Nebraska's junior day, but one of the top players in the state of Nebraska was absent. Recruiting is a game that until you sign on the line that is dotted is about your word. Dillon Gartner had given his for that weekend to another school. Gartner visited Tulsa this past weekend. What were his thoughts?

Dylan Gartner, a 6-foot-4 and 280-pound offensive lineman from the state of Nebraska wasn't at junior day in Lincoln this past weekend. Instead, Gartner was in Tulsa checking out the junior day there. He got in extremely early that morning after getting a later jump that night.

"We got in Saturday at 3:00 in the morning," Gartner said. "We stopped off to see Giltner to play basketball before hitting the room. That delayed us a few hours.

"We walked into their fine arts building and waited for everyone else to get there. We got a chance to watch a highlight tape of Tulsa. Their fine arts building was nice. It was brand new."

The early sights of Tulsa really impressed Gartner, but it was when the head coach at Tulsa took the stage and talked about what you will get at Tulsa and what you won't that it really started to impress him.

"Their head coach just told all of the players that were there straight up that if you want to go to a big school then you won't like Tulsa. He said they won't get 50,000 people in the stands, but they play hard. It was awesome to hear him talk."

Nebraska fans might remember some names from out of the past when it comes to the Tulsa staff. Scott Downing who was an assistant coach at Nebraska is now at Tulsa. The head coach at Tulsa is Bill Blankenship. His ties to Nebraska are through his son, Adam, who signed with Nebraska to play football under Coach Bill Callahan. Adam is the defensive ends coach under his father at Tulsa.

"On Saturday we hung out at the field and then we moved inside to see the trophies that they had. They had the trophy there from when they beat Hawaii. They had the rings out and everything. They had all of their uniforms out and they had some pretty sweet uniforms too.

"They took us around the facilities to the locker room and the weight room. They had some pretty good facilities. It was small. It's not like Oklahoma State or Nebraska, but I could deal with it. I also saw all of the coaches' offices. It was raining so we took a virtual tour."

Gartner has seen Oklahoma State before, as well as other schools like Nebraska, but he had never been to see Tulsa. Considering everywhere else he has been the visit to Tulsa got some pretty high marks.

"I would rate it a "9". It's really what I am looking for in a lot of ways. It's not too big. The classes are small. It's like a 9:1 or 10:1 ratio from students to teachers. Their facilities are nice. I really liked the university."

What didn't happen this past weekend for Gartner was an offer. However, according to Gartner there wasn't an offer extended by the Tulsa staff to any of the players that attended their junior day.

"No, I don't think that they offered anyone there this weekend. There was over 200 kids there this weekend and they said that they weren't going to offer anyone unless they saw them at camp or at spring practice.

"They said that once they offer you as a player that the offer isn't going to get pulled. They are going to offer guys that they think are going to take it. I understand what they are doing and I want to get back down there again too. I totally understand the business."

What is curious about this visit by Gartner to Tulsa is that the Nebraska junior day was the same weekend. Not to mention that Oklahoma State's junior day that Gartner was also invited to was the same weekend as well. So why Tulsa? They asked him first.

"I like Nebraska and I like the program. Oklahoma State is one of my top schools too, but I turned them down to get to Tulsa too. It was a busy weekend. I told Tulsa first that I was coming and I wanted to keep my word.

"My options are open like I have told everybody. I am open to any school. Nebraska is one of the top schools on my list and it would be hard to deny an offer from Nebraska since I have watched them my whole life. But, I am keeping my options open."

Bryan Munson has worked with Big Red Report for nine years covering recruiting and football and has covered Nebraska recruiting for 11 years. His work can also be seen in Scout.com's SuperPrep Magazine.
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