Yes, we acknowledge that we are not professional coaches, but in my case I have been covering and evaluating college football recruiting for 30 years, so I think I can tell a stud from a dud. My track record is pretty good and you can ask a number of coaches ranging from Dan McCarney to Mike Leach to Mike Gundy over the years.
I started pushing the talents of Jace Sternberger and his teammate in defensive tackle and offensive guard Kaden Jackson during the Kingfisher Yellow Jackets run last season to a state championship. The shorter 6-1, 270-pound Jackson is committed to and heading to Wyoming and very happy about it.
The 6-4, 230-pound Sternberger is a tight end/defensive end with multiple talents. He is an outstanding student that is the son of the school superintendent in Kingfisher.
Friday night his defensive exploits and two touchdowns were instrumental in the Yellow Jackets 35-6 quarterfinal win over talented Roland. With starting running back Nick Smith out with injury, Kingfisher head coach Jeff Myers let Sternberger run the ball some and for the second week in a row the big guy had a rushing touchdown.
Last week it was long range and last night he TD run was from 13 yards. He also caught a 27-yard touchdown pass in the second half, and Sternberger outplayed his counterpart on the Roland side in Arkansas commit and more publicized prep standout Austin Cantrell.
"At the end of the day, we just want to win state again," Sternberger told The Oklahoman after the game. "And whatever we have to do to play for each other to help get to that goal, that's what we're going to do."
Sternberger is a team-first guy and that may be the reason his recruiting attention has been way too slim. He has heard from New Mexico (offer), Sam Houston State (offer), and South Dakota (offer), and Arkansas had him over for an unofficial visit. He has been to Stillwater for an unofficial as recent as the Texas game. I don't get it. I would take him and three more like him if I could get them. He is a player and a student that will raise your APR and team GPA.
On the field, which is so important, he has 66 tackles this season and a whopping 20 sacks. He is a terror to opposing quarterbacks. On offense, he has three runs for 95 yards and two touchdowns. His receiving numbers are 27 receptions for 350 yards and five touchdowns. Career numbers are even better with 39 catches for 573 yards and nine touchdowns and on defense 26.5 sacks, two interceptions, and five fumbles caused.
Sternberger and his Kingfisher teammates will be back in action this week against Cushing and that game could be played at Stillwater High School's Pioneer Stadium making it pretty convenient for Oklahoma State fans. Either way, Sternberger is screaming to be found.