BREAKING: SEMO makes coveted list of sought-after OL Connor Tollison
Jacob Wiegand ~ Southeast Missourian
There is no shortage of national collegiate football powers vying for the services of Jackson High School junior offensive lineman Connor Tollison.
The First Team All-State player has been pursued heavily since last summer and on Sunday evening he narrowed down his recruiting list to seven programs.
Topping that list in notoriety was No. 6-ranked Oklahoma, which finished last season 12-2 and won the Big 12 Conference.
The Sooners were one of two nationally-ranked programs to make the coveted list with the other being… Southeast Missouri State.
“I do think we are a legitimate program now,” seventh-year Redhawk coach Tom Matukewicz said earlier this month on National Signing Day. “We’ve finished Top 25 in back-to-back years.
Get your Semoball fix in one daily email
“We are competing against big boys. We are going head-to-head and winning. We’ve never really gone head-to-head with Missouri Valley or OVC (programs) and won.”
Well, for right now at least, the FCS program is in the midst of programs from the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 and no other FCS program in the nation can boast of that.
Tollison included his (pseudo) hometown program along with the Sooners, Kansas State, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas A&M, and Tennessee.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound athlete posted on Twitter that he is “100% open” in his recruitment still. He is coming off a tremendous season in which he helped the Indians finish 13-1 and an MSHSAA Class 5 state runner-up finish.
He was named as the SEMO Conference Lineman of the Year and is also a finalist for the Semoball Awards Player of the Year.
Of the seven programs still in the hunt for Tollison, only Oklahoma won more games last season that Southeast did.
The Redhawks won nine games for the second consecutive season and also advanced to the FCS Playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Southeast, along with Oklahoma, is also the only conference champion in the mix for Tollison.
The Redhawks shared the 2019 OVC championship with Austin Peay, which was the program’s first title since 2010.
“We’ve been able to have success with our recruiting model,” Matukewicz said, “and we’ve stayed consistent with that.
“When I first got here, I was just trying to sign good players. Where now, I’m building a team. I’m looking at each and every kid and what is it that they bring to the locker room, not just the field.”