BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - A funny reality of Steve Spavital's, one of the more respected defensive minds in Oklahoma high school football, is that in spite of loads of defensive talent, it's his offensive stars that have gained a lot of the early notoriety. Spavital built his reputation at Tulsa Union before heading to Broken Arrow to help build the Tigers into the state power many have felt they always should have been.
And though the Tigers have three offensive players that are drawing loads of early attention, they've got two senior defenders already holding offers, another nearing in on offers, and two juniors that make up half of a foursome of 2014 prospects to rival most any school in the country.
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Though their more experienced teammates may be more well known two prospects who have caught the attention of the numerous coaches who've come through, 2014 defenders; cornerback Damian Howard and linebacker Gyasi Akem.
Howard spent much of the 2011 season fighting for playing time in a secondary that included 2012 Missouri signee Levi Copelin and numerous other experienced players. Howard, at 5-foot-10 and 175-pounds, isn't the biggest cornerback prospect but his backpedal is natural and he shows good ability to change direction. More than anything Howard shows great versatility, he is willing to come up against the run as well as faring well in pass defense against both receivers and tight ends.
Meanwhile Akem, who has made himself well known for similar pass coverage skills got a chance to show his ability to attack the line of scrimmage and some natural feel for the game. He is still learning to read proper keys and make quick adjustments but when a play presents itself few in-state linebackers in recent memory have the athleticism to close distance so quickly. After seeing him last year Akem has grown in his use of hands and fighting off blockers, though he is still a work in progress in engaging offensive players.
Meanwhile the class of 2013 has plenty of stars with cornerback Cre Moore and defensive end Frankie Davis already holding FBS scholarships and safety Ryan Alger seems to be closing in on some of his own.
Moore is a cornerback with the length to get his arms into passing lanes and unlike many long-legged guys does a solid job of quickly breaking on the ball once he reads the route. Though Moore is still thin he is willing to come up in run support and make a tackle. Through the day he wasn't often challenged deep but through the spring he has shown ability to turn and run at several off-campus events.
In recruiting circles Davis isn't quite as well known as his classmate Moore but already holds offers from Arkansas State, Colorado State, New Mexico with several other programs expressing interest. Davis seems like a guy who may not be done growing, at 6-foot-3 and 230-pounds Davis has the length of a player much bigger than himself. That length makes him a difficult defender for blockers to get their hands on. He is a bit of an upright defensive end but can turn the corner and shows off real closing speed.
Alger, at safety, is the last line of defense for the Tigers but can come up in run support and displayed his toughness on the day by playing through a nasty injury and not shying away from contact during the workout.
No matter what type of attention their getting currently, it should come as no surprise that Spavital's Broken Arrow Tigers boast loads of defensive talent.
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