PORT ARTHUR —
Matthew Romar has had a whirlwind senior season. He moved to defensive tackle, dominated up front for the Titans defense and has been in the midst of a recruiting struggle between some big time schools.
That struggle seems to have ended, as Romar committed to the University of Oklahoma on Monday, after a visit from Sooners head coach Bob Stoops. The 6-foot-3, 275 pound defender was in Norman, Okla. last weekend visiting the Sooners and the visit seems to have won him over.
The news of Romar’s commitment comes after a heated battle for his services picked up after the season. Romar’s top three schools heading into this week were Oklahoma, Texas Christian and Cincinnati. TCU was interested enough in the defensive tackle for head coach Gary Patterson to visit Memorial last week.
Romar was named to the Port Arthur News Super Team, was selected defensive MVP for District 21-5A and earned an honorable mention nod on the AP Class 5A All-State football team.
The bruising athlete had 48 tackles, including nine for a loss, with five sacks, one interception, one pass breakup and a forced fumble last season. He also scored eight rushing touchdowns on 12 carries and 55 yards. For his Titan career, Romar had 12 rushing touchdowns, which ties him for sixth all-time in school history.
Romar becomes the 21st member of Oklahoma’s 2013 recruiting class. That includes nine other players from Texas and six defensive linemen. Romar played against one of his future teammates in Austin Bennett, a wide receiver from Memorial’s bidistrict opponent Manvel.
In going to Oklahoma, Romar follows in the footsteps of a couple of high profile Port Arthurans — Lincoln’s Joe Washington and Anthony Bryant — who starred for the Sooners during the Barry Switzer era.
Kingsbury, Tech visit Titans
In addition to Patterson and Stoops, another Big 12 head coach has made an appearance at Memorial recently. New Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury has already visited the campus once and is scheduled to do so again this week in his pursuit of recently de-committed safety Jalen Barnes.
Barnes indicated shortly after he de-committed from Iowa State that he was going to commit to the Red Raiders and is listed as verbally committed on Rivals.com.
Kingsbury was hired at Tech on Dec. 12 of last year after spending the 2012 season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M. Kingsbury has already landed a few recruits since taking over the Red Raiders job, including Navarro College running back Tyler Middleton.
Freshman running back Kameron Martin talked with Kingsbury, cornerbacks coach Kevin Curtis and safeties coach Trey Haverty.
Washington talks recruiting with website
In an interview at InsideTexas.com, a Longhorns recruiting site, Nederland junior defensive end De Shawn Washington talked about his recruiting experience this year. Washington answered a number of questions, including talking about the teams he’s heard from so far.
Those schools include Texas, Texas Tech, UTSA and Texas A&M, where he attended at least one game last season. Washington also revealed that Texas defensive tackles coach Bo Davis visited Nederland twice last season to check in and to compliment Washington on the progress he made from the beginning of the season to the end.
Washington will be at three “junior days,” where teams bring in promising juniors for workouts, at Texas Tech, UTSA and Texas.
NCAA changing academic requirements for 2016
There’s been a growing movement in the NCAA to raise the requirements for a freshman to gain immediate access to competition, and it’s set to go into effect in 2016. Why does that matter now?
Because freshmen in this school year, like Kameron Martin, will be subject to tougher standards and required to successfully complete 10 of the 16 total core courses before the start of their senior year.
These new requirements were the subject of a series of meetings that NFL vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent had over the weekend with top high school football players from Louisiana. Vincent invited the players in for multiple reasons, but also talked to them about the changing requirements and what that will mean to eligibility.
Students will be required to achieve at least a 2.3 GPA and the sliding scale for SAT scores have also increased. If a student-athlete has an SAT score of 1,000, they would need a GPA of 2.5 to be eligible in the core courses to participate in competition and a 2.0 to be eligible for a scholarship for redshirting purposes.
The increased standards were set to go into effect in 2015, but were pushed back a year to allow students and parents extra time to familiarize themselves with the requirements.
David Coleman covers high school sports for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com