EDMOND — Heath Newland carries a reminder of his trip to the U.S. Army All-American Combine right on his face.
During a pass protection drill, Newland was blocking a defender — and blocking him well — when he pulled a last-second swim move, coming right across Newland’s face.
Newland, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, got some high-fives for his strong play before blood began pouring down his face from the cut above his eye.
“It was a good rep for me, and the next thing I know there’s blood all over me,” remembered Newland, who needed five stitches for the wound.
“I was the only person who got injured in the whole thing. Everyone was talking about the guy who was bleeding.”
Newland still awaits his first offer, but the senior-to-be Edmond North center has earned lots of interest and is No. 15 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30.
Newland (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) has started at center for Edmond North since his freshman year.
“He’s got all the physical tools,” said Edmond North coach Jeremy Dombek. “He’s so strong and athletic, but because he’s going to be a four-year starter, he knows the game.”
Edmond North was 9-3 last season, losing by just one point to eventual state champion Tulsa Union in the Class 6A quarterfinals.
But gone is one of the more talented senior classes in school history, which included two full-time starters on the offensive line and one occasional starter.
“There’s no front that he hasn’t seen,” Dombek said. “It’s good to have an experienced guy up there that can tell the guys beside him what to expect.”
Newland is on a big camp tour this summer, hoping to pick up some scholarship offers along the way. He said he thinks New Mexico is probably the closest school to offering.
One goal of his is to return to San Antonio next January, this time as a U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant.
“Right now it’s just a matter of time,” Newland said.
“They are waiting and evaluating everyone.
“But that would be a great goal of mine, to be able to compete against those defensive linemen. What’s fun about stuff like that is seeing all of what’s out there.”
• School: Edmond North
• Height: 6-foot-2
• Weight: 285
• Position: Center
• Offers: No Division I offers yet, but interest from schools including New Mexico and Tulsa.