Top Oklahoma talent headed to Big 12 powerhouses

By Ken MacLeod

The Big 12 Conference may be the nation’s best golf conference, and Oklahoma talent is one reason why. The top three seniors in the state each signed with a different conference power on Wednesday, the first day players could sign national letters of intent.

Oklahoma and Texas Tech, currently virtually tied at the top of the Golfweek and Golfstat collegiate rankings, landed Jaxon Dowell of Edmond and James Roller of Jenks, respectively. Baylor coach Mike McGraw, meanwhile, signed his first Oklahoma player since taking the job there five years back in defending Class 5A champion Luke Morgan of Guthrie.

“I really think the Big 12 is the best golf league in the country and it’s great that these young Oklahoma players are coming in,” McGraw said. “It speaks well for the talent in Oklahoma junior golf.”

Morgan may be the most unheralded of the three but proved his mettle not only in winning the Class 5A state championship, but in qualifying for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship this summer, where he survived the cut into match play and then took the top-ranked junior in the country, Ashkay Bhatia of Wake Forest, N.C., to the 16th hole before losing 4 and 2.

Luke Morgan of Guthrie surrounded by friends and family after signing with Baylor.

That was McGraw’s first chance to watch Morgan play extensively and he came away impressed.

“He’s an athlete, which I really like,” McGraw said. “He’s played basketball his entire life. He played great in the U.S. Junior and that’s when I was convinced he was going to be a really good college player.”

There wasn’t any doubt where Dowell, who has won the past two Class 3A state championships for Oklahoma Christian, was going to sign. He has been a Sooner fan since his father started taking him to OU football games as a youngster and committed to the Sooners as a sophomore.

“It was a school I have always wanted to attend, but to see the high quality golf they are playing now and to see them ranked No. 1 in the country is definitely encouraging,” said Dowell, who is also thrilled by the success fellow Oklahomans such as Quade Cummins, Thomas Johnson and his friend Logan McAllister are having on the current OU team.

Jaxon Dowell of Oklahoma Christian School is now a proud Sooner. From left is mom Christy, Jaxon, father Dr. Matt Dowell and sister Eden, who signed to play volleyball at Oklahoma Christian.

Tosh Hays, the head coach at Oklahoma Christian, said Dowell is unique in that he has never coached a player capable of shaking off a bad shot as quickly as Dowell, and also one who decisively makes up his mind and commits to the next shot.

“His ability to put bad things behind him is the best I’ve ever seen,” said Hays, who is the lead instructor for PGA Tour veteran Robert Streb of Edmond. “He’s super competitive but also has an inner peace and is able to not let bad shots, which we all make, have any lasting effect.”

Dowell, whose swing coach is Ryan Rody, the director of instruction at Southern Hills Country Club, said he’s working hard on his short game and excited for the chance to three-peat in Class 3A. To do that, he’ll have to again get past junior Andrew Goodman, who is also an OU commit, and his buddy Roller, who will soon be a Big 12 rival as well.

Maggie, James and Bill Roller after signing with Texas Tech.

Roller, who has helped lead Regent Prep to the state tea title two years ago in Class 2A and last year in Class 3A, chose the rising power Texas Tech, which has won four of five tournaments this fall. He hit if off on his recruiting visit with coach Greg Sands.

“He’s very energetic and really fun, but I also feel like he’ll try to make me grow as both a man and a golfer,” Roller said. “He’s a good Christian guy, really outgoing and cares a lot about others, But he also really cares about winning and he knows how to train and get guys motivated.”

Following is a chart of the players who have competed on the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour who have signed or committed. It will be updated as further signings are announced.

Bosten Benn of Oklahoma Christian School signed today with Oklahoma City University. Pictured here left to right, his sister Brooklyn, mother Kerri, Bosten and and father Brent.

 

  • James Roller
  • Jaxon Dowell
  • Luke Morgan

OJGT 2020 Signees/Commits

(as of 11/13/19)

BOYS

Bosten Benn

Edmond, OK

Oklahoma City University

NAIA

Jaxon Dowell

Edmond, OK

University of Oklahoma

NCAA DI

Charlie Jackson

Norman, OK

Abeline Christian University

NCAA DI

Luke Morgan

Guthrie, OK

Baylor, University

NCAA DI

James Roller

Jenks, OK

Texas Tech University

NCAA DI

Bo Robbins

Guthrie, OK

US Air Force Academy

NCAA DI

Craig Sanders

Edmond, OK

Samford University

NCAA DI

Brayden Strickland

Broken Arrow, OK

Northeastern Oklahoma State University

NCAA DII

Ben Thionnet

Edmond, OK

Oklahoma City University

NAIA

Brett Wilcoxen

Tulsa, OK

Northeastern Oklahoma State University

NCAA DII

GIRLS

Jordan Clayborn

Tahlequah, OK

Oklahoma City University

NAIA

Bailey Dunstan

Little Rock, AR

Samford University

NCAA

Rylei Gunter

Edmond, OK

Oklahoma Baptist University

NCAA DII

Hawks, Hannah

Wellington, KS

University of Kansas

NCAA DI

Wriley Hiebert

Springfield, MO

Missouri State University

NCAA DI

Morgan Landes

Shawnee, OK

Oklahoma Baptist University

NCAA DII

Emily Miller

Edmond, OK

University of Central Oklahoma

NCAA DII

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

GOLF OKLAHOMA