Gulf Coast got an early start on molding its 2016 football season with the addition of three early enrollees.
Heading into the March spring football session, the Bulldogs roster will include former Tulsa quarterback Jabe Burgess, former LSU signee Brandon Martin and Auburn commit Daquan Newkirk.
Burgess is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound drop back quarterback originally from Greenwood, Ark.
A first cousin of former Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, Burgess was considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com after signing with Tulsa's 2014 signing class.
Burgess completed 72 percent of his passes for 5,210 yards and 56 touchdowns in two seasons as a starter at Greenwood High.
"We're excited to have him here for the spring," Gulf Coast coach Chad Huff said to the Sun Herald. "He's a drop-back kid who can run also run around a little bit. His arm strength is exceptional."
Huff said he expects Burgess to compete for the chance to replace starter A.J. Erdely, who recently signed with UAB.
Burgess redshirted in 2014 and was expected to compete as Dane Evans' backup last season.
He was suspended indefinitely, however, in November 2014 after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge following a burglary at an on-campus apartment, the Tulsa World reported.
Although he did not appear on Tulsa's depth chart this season, Burgess remained on the team's online roster.
Huff called the arrest a "minor mistake" and said that, after talking with Burgess' high school coaches, Tulsa coaches, and the Burgess family, he feels comfortable adding the quarterback to the program.
The Bulldogs' receiver depth will be bolstered by the addition of Martin. A 6-foot-4, 225-pound receiver, Huff said the 2015 LSU signee will add a degree of versatility to Gulf Coast's passing attack.
"I think he's a big kid who can stretch the field. Long with good speed," Huff said. "We're looking for good things out of him. He'll definitely allow us to do some things down the field as well as with his ability to block on the perimeter."
Martin, a Prime Prep Academy product, originally tried to enroll at Gulf Coast in the fall but was deemed academically ineligible.
The Bulldogs' third early enrollee is Newkirk, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end from Orlando, Fla. The three-star recruit is committed to Auburn but will begin his college career at Gulf Coast for academic reasons.
For the Bulldogs, Newkirk will be a good bookend on the defensive line along with rising sophomore Isaiah Buggs.
"(Newkirk) is an explosive and athletic kid who actually played some running back and can run," Huff said. "He'll allow us to mix up what we do defensively. Knowing you have two guys who can rush the passer and hold the ends, it gives you a chance to be a little more versatile."
The Bulldogs open spring camp the last week of March.