During Tournament of Champions weekend for Springfield (Mo.) Kickapoo, Travis Vokolek's teammates are not the only people he intends on impressing.
Rutgers tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Vince Okruch heads to the area for the first weekend of January's live recruiting period. An offer in hand, Vokolek looks forward to the meeting.
“He's coming down this weekend to watch me play in the TOC and then we're going to sit down and talk after the game,” Vokolek said. “Anything can happen. Recruiting is about to get really crazy.”
Vokolek put himself on the Rutgers radar with his senior film and a per-existing relationship on the staff.
“My high-school coach knows coach Jerry Kill, the new offensive coordinator,” Vokolek said. “He was at K State a while ago. On my visit to K State during the season, we talked to coach Kill there. When we found out he was going to go to Rutgers, he brought me up in a meeting and the staff really liked me. Coach [Okruch] gave me a call and he offered me a scholarship. My dad knows coach [Chris] Ash a little bit because he used to coach up in Buffalo. He knew a little bit about Rutgers. There's a little family connection right there.”
Vokolek's plans remain fluid for the final weeks into National Signing Day. Unable to visit anywhere this weekend because of a commitment to his basketball team, Vokolek wants to visit Rutgers or Minnesota Jan. 20 and Wyoming the following week.
“Depending on how the 20th goes and what [new Minnesota coach PJ] Fleck think of me, I could go there and visit or another school,” Vokolek said. “I only have two weekends for visits, so I have to star making some big-time decisions here pretty soon.”
The 6-foot-6 Vokolek put himself on the map as a senior during his transition from wide receiver to tight end. Vokolek is also open to defense.
“When it comes to tight end, I have great hands,” Vokolek said. “I love being physical. This is my first year actually playing tight end. I played receiver the past couple of years and my speed didn't do me that well for the wide receiver position. On the line, it's a lot better to where I can get a quick release and go out. I feel that if I'm put out in space, I can make guys miss and catch a lot of balls.”
Understanding of the chaos that ensues on the road to Signing Day, Vokolek wants schools to know he is open to all opportunities.
“Of course I'm looking for a great education,” he said. “I'm going to get a degree as well as play football for a great program. [I like] winning tradition in a football program, but if they've had a couple of bad years, I'm trying to go in there and be the class and compete and turn a program around if that's the case. The community is important and how they support the school with their fans and how involved they are with the school.”null