By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Twenty-five wins in three seasons. Back-to-back district titles. Norman North’s first-ever state championship game appearance.
That’s the legacy the senior class of 2014 leaves to North’s football program, and on Wednesday at a National Signing Day event five of those players took the biggest step to continuing their careers.
With David Cornwell already graduated and enrolled at Alabama, the rest of North’s 2014 class made their decisions official. One player — All-State wide receiver Nick Basquine — will stay in Norman as an invited walk-on at Oklahoma, while tight end Payton Prince will continue his career at Tulsa. Three others — Adim Chukwurah, Trey Wormington and Tyler Sipe — signed with the University of Central Oklahoma on Wednesday.
The six were a major part of a history-making group at North. They won more games in three years than any other class. They earned back-to-back district crowns in the final season of the current Class 6A district alignment. They made an improbable run to the state final two years ago and overachieved last season after a season-ending injury to Cornwell.
“If there’s one word for this group, it’s resilient,” coach Wade Standley said after the season ended. “They’ve battled through everything that could possibly happen this season.”
For the seniors, it’s a legacy that the third-year coach, who developed the group from the start, said can’t be replaced.
“They were a great class, and showed tremendous leadership,” Standley said after watching his former players sign binding letters of intent. “From day one when I came here they had great work ethic. It’s an exciting day and I’m so proud of them. You hate to see them go, but I’m excited for their future.”
For all six, that’s a future that looks bright. Cornwell transferred into North last season and made the immediate impact expected of the highly touted prospect. After his ACLinjury, the Timberwolves rallied around junior John Kolar and thanks largely in part to the senior class, still secured a second straight district title.
Prince, a two-sport star who also starts for the 10th-ranked basketball team, became interested in Tulsa early and made his decision weeks ago. He’s a fan of the way the Golden Hurricane program is run and the focus they place on academics.
“I had a fun ride here, and I’m ready to be a part of the Golden Hurricane program,” he said. “We made North history, and that’s something we’re proud of.”
Chukwurah, Sipe and Wormington will be teammates at UCO, and the three will be roommates when they begin their freshman year for the Bronchos.
UCO coach Nick Bobeck praised all three signees, and said they will make an impact on the team next season.
“We’re excited about the student-athletes that we were able to add to the Broncho family today,” he said. “The group as a whole is very deep and we were able to meet all of our needs.”
Wormington, who played several positions in high school and expects to slot in at defensive end for the Bronchos, said leaving North will be hard but remaining teammates with Chukwurah and Sipe will make the transition easier.
“It’s sad leaving and I’m going to miss being here, but we left a good legacy,” he said. “It was a fun ride. We put in the work to get where we got, and I appreciate everything the coaches have done for us. We’re looking forward to next year.”
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