During his sophomore season at Carl Albert, Caleb Holland walked into football coach Gary Rose's office.
The possibility of playing college football wasn't something that was anywhere near Holland's mind.
He was content to keep playing basketball and baseball and limit football to the times when those sports were out of season.
But a discussion with Rose changed that.
“I told him, ‘I think I want to play basketball,'” Holland said. “And he came back and told me that he thought if I put the work in and made it a priority, he thought I had a chance to play football in college somewhere.
“That's really when it kind of hit me that I needed to buckle down and start working hard on football and make it a priority.”
Holland never played basketball again. He played baseball that year before dropping that sport as well to concentrate on getting better at football.
Now, heading into his senior season with the Titans, Holland is No. 28 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list.
While Holland, an offensive lineman who is likely to play center in college, started working toward the goal of playing college football nearly two years ago, he's still been surprised with the recent attention he's received.
He's attended a flurry of camps and junior days that has included the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio in January, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, TCU and Kansas State.
At each level, Holland has become more and more confident in his abilities.
“If you would've told me that I would've had attention from all these schools at the beginning of the winter, I would've told you you were crazy,” Holland said. “I knew it would probably be a busy few months, but I didn't expect this.”
While center is Holland's likely landing spot in college, he is likely to play primarily offensive tackle for Carl Albert.
He started off at center last year but moved to guard after injuries necessitated the change.
Holland has been helped by the shift, he said.
“I love it,” Holland said. “I love playing offensive line. I love blocking. I know I can be an interior guy at guard but block the quick defensive ends at tackle. I'm comfortable wherever I'm at.”
He's also comfortable in his new role as a leader.
“I learned a lot from the guys who have been here the past few years — guys like J.T. Realmuto and Tre Porter, Kyle Croak, Grant Oliver and RayShawn Cato,” Holland said. “Those guys instilled in me ... nothing less than working as hard as we possibly can all the time is acceptable and to expect nothing less than a state championship.
“Now, it's my place to be in that role.”
The Oklahoman's Super 30
The Oklahoman's Super 30 feature series on the state's top football recruits continues with No. 28, Carl Albert lineman Caleb Holland. Here are the players we've written about so far:
No. 30: Trevan Smith, Edmond Santa Fe
No. 29: Chris Hall, Tulsa Union
No. 28: Caleb Holland
School: Carl Albert