Dalton Rodriguez grew up wanting to play football for Tulsa Union.
“Football's so big at our school,” Rodriguez said. “I knew that was what I wanted to do since I was little.”
It's been a charmed existence for Rodriguez through his first three years of high school.
The Redskins have won championships in each of those seasons, with Rodriguez being a big part of last year's 13-1 title team.
Since then, the 6-foot-6, 258-pound lineman made a big wave in recruiting, culminating with his commitment to Oklahoma in early May.
Now, Rodriguez comes in at No. 5 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of the state's top recruits.
He's the third Redskins player to make the list, following Chris Hall at No. 29 and Blake Mejia at No. 20.
Although Broken Arrow and Jenks will be strong contenders, Union figures to enter the season as the favorites once again in 6A.
“We've got a lot of guys at new positions,” Rodriguez said. “We've just got to get that all figured out, then we should be really good.”
One of those players in a new spot could be Rodriguez.
Has has played defensive end for the Redskins, and will be there again this season, but he was recruited primarily as an offensive tackle.
Rodriguez spent some time at the spot during the spring, learning the ins and outs of a new position. It's unclear whether he'll see time on the offensive side for Union.
“We'll just see how it goes,” he said. “It depends if they need me on offense.”
Rodriguez has enjoyed his exposure to the offensive side, so far, though said it hasn't been easy adjusting his mindset.
“You've got to think in a completely opposite way,” Rodriguez said. “Run blocking, running up on the linebacker, that stuff is hard. But I like offensive tackle. It's just fun. You get to protect the quarterback and go one-on-one more.
“I won't be disappointed wherever I end up though.”
The key there is how much more weight Rodriguez can add to his frame.
Until his ninth grade year, Rodriguez played basketball for the school. The change in sports kept Rodriguez's weight in flux.
“I was really scrawny until I quit basketball,” Rodriguez said. “All the weight I'd gain in football, I'd lose pretty quickly once basketball season started.
“Being a lineman, I was so skinny, I just had to rely on my speed. Now, I can use my abilities better and they can't just push me around.”
Basketball did have its advantages, though, pairing him up with Tulsa East Central's Stanvon Taylor, who is also a standout defensive back.
Rodriguez and Taylor played AAU basketball together and were each nearing their decisions on where to play college football around the same time.
Rodriguez committed first, pushing Taylor over the edge to make his decision and commit to OU. Taylor's public announcement came a day earlier than Rodriguez's, though.
“I was just ready,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to make the right decision and not hurry it, but when Oklahoma offered me, it just felt right.”
The Oklahoman's Super 30
The Oklahoman's Super 30 feature series on the state's top football recruits continues with No. 5, Tulsa Union lineman Dalton Rodriguez. Here are the last three players we've written about in the series:
No. 8: Devin Rolan, McAlester
No. 7: Maurice Chandler, Lawton
No. 6: Khari Harding, Edmond Santa Fe
Up next: The No. 4 player on the Super 30 list spent the week of July 4 leading America's team — not the Dallas Cowboys, but Team USA's U19 squad — in international competition. Meet him in Thursday's Oklahoman.
No. 5: Dalton Rodriguez
School: Tulsa Union
Position: Offensive tackle
Recruited by: Committed to Oklahoma. Also has offers that include Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State and Tulsa.