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August 19, 2011

Rival regions: OKC vs. Tulsa

MORE PERRONI: Dallas vs. Houston | Mailbag

In this two-week series, Rivals.com is taking a look at the high school football talent in rival regions - breaking down the best prospects, best teams and giving our vote for which area is superior.

TODAY'S MATCHUP: Oklahoma City vs. Tulsa

The Case for Oklahoma City

One school in Oklahoma City is home to two of the top three prospects in the state.

Heritage Hall features the duo of running back Barry Sanders and wide receiver Sterling Shepard.

Sanders, the nation's No. 121 overall prospect and No. 9 running back, is the son of the NFL Hall-of-Famer of the same name.

Shepard, a Rivals250 prospect, is the son of former Oklahoma Sooner and Dallas Cowboy tight end Derrick Shepard. Three-star defensive end Quintaz Struble rounds out a talented trio of prospects at the school.

All of the talent in the city is not contained to one program though. Norman running back and Arkansas commit Donovan Roberts rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a junior and is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the state. Three-star wide receiver George Kittle also stars for the team.

Other Top 20 prospects in the state from the Oklahoma City area are Guthrie offensive tackle Blake Belcher, Putnam City North offensive tackle Daniel Burton, Southmoore running back Andrew Long and Midwest City running back James Flanders.

The case for Tulsa

Oklahoma City does not have a monopoly on dominant running backs in the state. Oklahoma commit Alex Ross of Jenks was a breakout star a year ago and is ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the state and the No. 183 overall player in the country. Three-star defensive tackle teammate Ashton Henderson is also a Top 20 prospect in the state.

While Oklahoma City does not have any ranked quarterbacks, Tulsa does. Ramsey Hamilton of Beggs and Darrack Harger of Sand Springs Charles Page both have live arms and are among the Top 20 players in the Sooner State.

Other Top 20 prospects from the Tulsa area include Broken Arrow tight end Zac Veatch, East Central tight end Damian Gibson and Cascia Hall linebacker Conner Sherwood. Arkansas has also dipped twice into the area recently for commitments from Booker T. Washington cornerback Jared Collins and Owasso wide receiver Keon Hatcher. In addition, Tulsa has one class of 2013 prospect that already holds offers - East Central wide receiver Stanvon Taylor - while Oklahoma City does not.

Bottom line

While the high school teams from the eastern part of the state may usually fare better in the fall it seems as if the talent from the Oklahoma City area is a bit stronger right now. With Sanders and Shepard headlining it is hard to go against the city that is home to five of the top six prospects in the state.

Team matchup

So long as Tulsa Union and Jenks High are winning state titles at the top level this is an easy question to answer despite that Oklahoma City Heritage Hall has a very strong team this year. The addition of Tulsa Booker T. Washington into the equation continues to tip the scales in favor of the Tulsa area teams. The Tulsa area powers have won the highest class state title every year since 1996 and until that changes this debate is an open and closed case.

- Dallas Jackson

Series Schedule
AUG. 22: Memphis vs. Nashville | Kansas City vs. St. Louis
AUG. 23: North Alabama vs. South Alabama | Arizona/New Mexico vs. Colorado/Utah
AUG. 24: Atlanta vs. New Orleans
AUG. 25: Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati | Chicago vs. Detroit
AUG. 26: Southern California vs. Northern California

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