University of Tulsa football coach Bill Blankenship’s visit to Fort Collins paid off in a big way Sunday when Fort Collins High School linebacker Jake Hanks committed to the Golden Hurricane.
“It was just such a great mixture of academics, football and a family atmosphere,” Hanks said of why he chose Tulsa. “It was too much to pass up.”
Hanks, 6-foot-2, 229 pounds, was instrumental in the Lambkins’ winning its first playoff game since the 2006 season, upsetting Lakewood in the opening round.
Hanks racked up 61 tackles, 6.5 sacks, a blocked punt, interception and three pass breakups this year. He also rushed for 348 yards (4.09 yards per carry) and four touchdowns, which was second on the team behind quarterback Caleb Seeton.
Tulsa is the smallest NCAA FBS school.
Other offers on the table for Hanks were Wyoming, Air Force and Northern Colorado. Even though Colorado State University didn’t extend a scholarship offer, Hanks joked he didn’t grow up a Rams fan, so he wasn’t too heartbroken about it.
He added the plan is for him to start at linebacker in college.
* COACHING VACANCIES FILLED: A pair of high school coaching openings have been filled, one at Fort Collins and another at Fossil Ridge.
Collins has hired Troy Tolar as its baseball coach, while Shannon Clarke has been named the girls soccer coach for the SaberCats.
Tolar, a former player for the Lambkins, replaces Frank Gonzales, who was let go following last season.
Tolar was a junior on a Collins team that went to the Class 5A state semifinals in 2001. The Lambkins made the regional finals in his senior season in 2002.
Tolar went on to play at Otero Junior College and then for Colorado State University’s club team. He also played for the Fort Collins Foxes and in 2011 coached the Triple Crown Bandits, who competed against the Foxes.
Clarke will coach both the boys and girls soccer teams at Fossil Ridge. He replaces Robb Ball.
Clarke helped the SaberCats boys team in the fall to a 13-3 record and into the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Fossil Ridge’s girls soccer team went 14-2-1 last season, reaching the second round of the state playoffs.
* TOURNAMENTS ON TAP: There will be boys and girls basketball tournaments in town once again this week, including the annual Fort Collins-Poudre Tip-Off Invitational on the boys side.
Collins will host Mountain View in a first-round game Wednesday night, while Poudre will host Cheyenne Central that same night. Wasson will face Thompson Valley on the Impalas’ side of the bracket, while Sterling and Cheyenne Mountain play each other on Collins’ side.
The Poudre girls will host a six-team tournament Wednesday through Friday. Windsor also will compete.
* LATEST RANKINGS: Fossil Ridge’s boys basketball team, which started the season eighth, fell out of the Class 5A rankings in the coaches’ poll compiled by The Denver Post. The Windsor boys also fell out of the Class 4A poll.
The Resurrection Christian boys, which fell to 2-1 last week, are No. 5 in Class 2A, while the Heritage Christian boys cracked the poll at No. 10.
On the girls side, Fossil Ridge received votes in the 5A poll, while Windsor remained No. 10 in Class 4A.
* SCORING RECORD FALLS: Windsor’s Brooke Pemberton took down a 35-year-old school record last Friday with her stunning performance in a 43-31 win over Mountain View.
The sophomore scored 34 points, breaking the school record of 32. She reached the mark by shooting a remarkable 88 percent from the field, with 14 2-point field goals and six free throws.
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