The Oklahoman's Super 30: OU football commit Jayden Rowe is gaining some overdue attention

TULSA — Jayden Rowe knows how to make up ground.

There's no sugarcoating needed when it comes to the Tulsa Union defensive back's 6-foot-4, 220-pound description. Rowe is a three-star prospect in the Class of 2022 who committed to Oklahoma on April 30, but that hasn’t stopped him from also dominating on the track field.

And that’s despite a disadvantage.

In order to account for his freakish frame, Rowe moves his starting blocks back about two feet behind the starting line. The setback doesn’t seem to hurt him. In fact, it helps.

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With the extra room to take off, Rowe placed sixth in the OSSAA Class 6A State Track & Field Championships’ 100 Meters on May 15 by recording a time of 10.61.

“I’m just too tall,” Rowe said. “I had them closer to the line, but I was very uncomfortable. I just put them back a little bit more, and my start was better… Everything was better.”

Much like his starting position on the track, Rowe began his football recruitment journey behind the pack.

Talent has never been an issue for Rowe, who is even considering doing track at Oklahoma.

But football has always been where the Tulsa native shines brightest. Rowe boasts elite size and speed, making him capable of thriving at multiple positions. The senior defensive back at Tulsa Union is No. 6 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 rankings of the state’s top high school recruits in the 2022 class.

Although Rowe initially wanted to play wide receiver, Tulsa Union head coach Kirk Fridrich had bigger plans for the promising prospect.

“As a coach, you bring in your ninth-grade class and try to figure out what they can do,” Fridrich said. “The easiest thing to see is if someone can play running back or receiver. To me, the hardest thing is having the skill set that it takes to play a defensive position.”

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Union's Jayden Rowe poses for a portrait at Tulsa Union High School in Tulsa, Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

Fridrich placed Rowe at the cornerback spot and watched as he flourished.

The biggest notch under his belt last season proved to be his coverage on Edmond Santa Fe’s Talyn Shettron, a four-star Oklahoma State commit who is ranked by as the top recruit in the state. 

In their two meetings, Rowe held Shettron to zero touchdowns.

“The speed that he has as a skill player is just outstanding,” Fridrich said. “He’s a very aggressive and physical player… He has done a really good job at corner.”

Despite the pair of impressive outings, Rowe didn’t have a scholarship offer to his name when he concluded his junior season on Nov. 28.

But that was about to change.

Kansas got the ball rolling by offering Rowe on Dec. 18, and Kansas State followed suit on Dec. 21. Arkansas then threw its hat in the ring on Jan. 8, and that kicked off a month that saw eight other offers pour in.

By the time the dust settled, Rowe held around 18 scholarship offers.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” Rowe said. “I didn’t expect (the offers), but when they came in I was like ‘OK, I must be good at this corner position.’ I want to thank (Fridrich) for moving me to corner… I’m really grateful that he did that for me.”

Despite the wave of incoming offers, Rowe hasn’t strayed away from his initial commitment to Oklahoma.

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With his parents still living in Tulsa, Rowe is looking forward to having his support system nearby as opposed to playing out of state.

“I talked it through with my family, and I think it’s just best for me to stay close,” Rowe said. “I want to see my parents all the time… I need my parents.”

While Rowe still has another year of high school football ahead of him, it’s becoming quite clear that the defensive back boasts a promising future at the next level.

It just took a while for people to catch on, but Rowe is quickly making up ground.

“It pushed me to another level,” Rowe said when asked about the recent recognition. “I’m working harder on every rep and being consistent on my craft.”

The Oklahoman’s 2022 Super 30

Name: Jayden Rowe

School: Tulsa Union

Super 30 ranking: No. 6

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 220 pounds

Position: Defensive back

Committed to: Oklahoma

About the series

The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series will spotlight each high school football player on the Super 30 recruit rankings for the 2022 class. The series continued Wednesday with No. 6, Tulsa Union's Jayden Rowe. See No. 5 on the list in Thursday's editions of The Oklahoman. Here are the last five players we’ve featured: 

No. 10: Andre Dollar, TE, Mustang

No. 9: CJ Brown, RB, Beggs

No. 8: Braylin Presley, WR, Bixby

No. 7: Robert Spears-Jennings, WR/DB, Broken Arrow

No. 6: Jayden Rowe, DB, Tulsa Union