NORMAN — Norman High's Zac Uhles wasn't sure he had much of a football future after moving from center to tackle before last season.
He was confident at center, but that confidence was lost with the move.
“It really took a toll on me,” Uhles said. “I didn't really know the position. I was playing all right, but things weren't going great.”
Slowly, though, Uhles grew into the spot. The schemes came to him. The footwork came to him. And suddenly, he saw more than just two more years of football in his future.
“Once I got that stuff down, I started thinking I could play in college,” Uhles said.
That wasn't much of a surprise. His cousin, Lance, played at Norman North and is now at Emporia State. His grandfather, Charley North, was a longtime assistant coach at places like Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas A&M and currently helps out as an assistant with Norman. His uncle, Lance's dad, played at OU under North.
Football is something that came with the family.
“I love it,” Uhles said of the sport. “I wouldn't trade it for anything. Just being able to hit guys every play, opening holes for the running back, everything about it.”
Now, about a year since he felt unsure about himself, Uhles is committed to the University of Tulsa.
He's also one of the latest additions to The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of the state's top recruits for 2013, coming in at No. 29.
“I think probably for him the biggest thing is maturity,” Norman coach Greg Nation said. “He's a great student. He does things right. He's a 4.0 student. If you want to find a direct correlation between the kind of person a kid is and the kind of football player, that's Zac Uhles.”
While most players' biggest offseason gains come in the weight room or on the practice field, Uhles' came from studying tape.
“His knowledge of the game has grown quite a bit since last year,” Nation said. “He's watched a lot more film. He's gone to different camps and things like that and learned some things too, but one of the biggest things is what he's learned from watching film.”
For Uhles it was a simple choice.
“I just wanted to be able to play at the next level,” Uhles said. “I really put my heart to it and decided that I wanted to do that and get out there and learn everything I could.”
That, as Nation said, extends far beyond football.
One of his biggest reasons for choosing TU was the school's academic reputation. Uhles wants to study to become an engineer, something that also runs in the family.
“I really enjoy math and I'm pretty good at it,” Uhles said. “I've got an uncle who's an engineer as well.”