NORMAN — Norman North's tight end is light on his feet — and his roller skates.
Payton Prince has been skating for longer than he has carried a football. He retired from one, though, to focus on the other.
After working throughout the spring and summer with Alabama commitment and Norman North quarterback David Cornwell, Prince is ready for his favorite game to start: football.
But who is this 6-foot-4, 237 pound senior, who made key plays in clutch situations in big games last season and comes in at No. 11 on The Oklahoman's 2013 Super 30 list?
He's a gamer and a competitor. Give Prince a game or activity and he'll play it — and likely excel. Be it a video game like NBA Live or Call of Duty, a game of hoops or even inline skating.
“I'm a really outgoing person,” Prince said. “I like to have fun but I love my family and building relationships with people. I'm a really loving and caring person.”
He's also really good with wheels on his feet.
He began skating when he was about four thanks to his mother, who also used to roller skate. Prince spent almost every weekend as he got older at Star Skate in Norman. If a session went from 7-10 p.m., Prince would be there from the start and would likely be asked to finally leave at 10:30 p.m.
Prince said the pair of inline skates he wore as a young teenager cost around $300.
“Once I really started playing football when I was younger, I kind of drifted off,” Prince said. “I haven't really picked it back up since.”
He was devoted to it, though. He perfected skating backward and on just two wheels. (Each inline skate has four wheels.) But the last time he put on his skates, before the photo shoot with The Oklahoman, was for an event to raise money for the school in the spring.
“I was still a little rusty and falling down a bit,” he said.
He knows now he has to focus on propelling himself through a different surface without the help of any wheels.
“Both taught me hard work,” Prince said of skating and football. “When I was younger, I didn't used to be that good, but once you practice and practice and practice, you finally get a hold of something.”
Norman North coach Wade Standley knows he has an extreme competitor in Prince.
“Last season, he did a great job at being a playmaker for us,” Standley said. In the offseason, Prince enhanced his 40-yard dash and the weight for all his lifts, while maintaining his size.
In essence, Standley thinks he's a faster, better and stronger version of last year.
“We expect him to make some big-time plays,” Standley said of this fall.
Prince expects the same. It's why the competitor in him — the one who loves to win NCAA Football video games or speed past everyone else on the rink — has toned down everything else away from the field.
“Football is going to get me into college,” Prince said. “I'm trying to put all my focus into that.”
No. 11: Payton Prince
School: Norman North
Weight: 237 pounds
Position: Tight end
Committed to: Tulsa