Tyler Uselton, a Great Bend High School product, has been forced into double duty.
Uselton, an offensive guard on the West squad, will also be seeing action on the defensive line for Saturday night’s 39th annual Shrine Bowl — pitting the East vs. the West — in Emporia.
Kickoff for the annual charity game is set for 7:08 at Welch Stadium on the Emporia State University campus. It will be televised on Cox Kansas 22.
“One of our defensive linemen left camp, so I have to move over and play some on defense,” said Uselton, a 6-foot-4, 327-pounder, in a cellular phone interview from the West camp in Emporia on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s pretty much the same position on defense I played at Great Bend.”
Uselton, a signee at NJCAA and Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference powerhouse Butler Community College in El Dorado, says the talent cart in the West camp is loaded.
“I think we’re going to score a lot of points,” Uselton said. “I think we’re going to run up-and-down the field.”
Two of Uselton’s 33 West teammates are from Class 5A state-champion Hutchinson in defensive lineman Najahaun Tipton-Wylie and running back Ja’Mon Cotton.
“Najahaun Tipton-Wiley is a monster,” Uselton said of the 5-6, 230-pound defensive tackle, who has signed to play for Hutchinson Community College.
Perhaps Tipton-Wiley can be compared to a Tasmanian Devil on a football field.
“He never stops moving,” Uselton said of the stumpy Tipton-Wiley. “He gets so low that no one can block him.”
Only one player from any one school can be selected to the Shrine Bowl, although Cotton was named after another player dropped off the West squad. Cotton, a stocky 5-6, 180-pound fullback, rushed for 2,098 yards and 34 touchdowns last season for the Salthawks. He is headed for NCAA Division-II Pittsburg State University.
Speaking of standout athletes, there are plenty in this game. Uselton includes Louisburg tight end Garrett Griffin and quarterback/defensive back Derrick Decker, who led Rose Hill to a Class 4A state championship in 2011.
Griffin (6-4, 210), who will be playing for the East squad, has signed to play for Air Force, and Decker (6-5, 210), who will play for the West, has signed to play for Pittsburg State, although it hasn’t been determined whether he will play quarterback.
Wichita Heights’ Matt Reed, who has signed to wrestle at the University of Oklahoma, figures to be the starting quarterback for the West.
“He’s the most patient runner I have ever seen, I think,” Uselton said of Reed, who rushed for 1,240 yards and 19 touchdowns and passed for 824 yards and 12 scores last season for Heights.
Reed was 30-2 as a starter, his only losses coming in the 2009 and 2011 Class 6A state championship games. Heights, which won the state crown in 2010, lost to Olathe South in the title game last season and lost to Olathe North two years ago.
Also expected to see action at quarterback will be Decker and Sedgwick’s Trent Stucky.
West teammates joining Uselton from the Western Athletic Conference are Garden City defensive tackle Gabe Luna (6-2, 245); Dodge City defensive back/kick returner Trey Hallman (5-10, 175); and Hays defensive end Zach Binder (6-2, 242), who has signed with hometown Fort Hays State.
“Gabe Luna is probably the best player in the camp,” Uselton said. He’s playing defensive end out here in camp.”
Luna and Hallman have also signed to play for Butler, which has won six national championships since 1981, including three under Grizzlies head coach Troy Morrell, who will be entering his 13th year this fall.
Luna enrolled at Butler in January after graduating at semester at Garden, where he played under West head coach Brian Hill.
Another defensive lineman for the West is Beloit’s Jacob English (6-5, 295), who has signed to play for Wyoming.
2012 KANSAS SHRINE BOWL
Broc Bennett, Pittsburg; Jayden Bowen, Crest; Zach Callahan, Mill Valley; Garrett Fugate, Blue Valley Northwest; Justin Fulks, Blue Valley Stilwell; Peter Gallo, Blue Valley North; Derek Gifford, Emporia; Michael Glatczak, Centralia; Brandon Goodman, Paola; Zach Gougler, Galena; Scot Gourley, Olathe South; Garrett Griffin, Louisburg; Cody Heiman, B&B; Tyson Holmes, Shawnee Heights; Austin Mendenhal, Neodesha; Connor Middleton, Olathe Northwest; Timmy Miller, Riverside; Logan Minor, Rock Creek; Colin Murphy, Basehor-Linwood; Logan O’Dea, Wellsville; Mason Perez, Shawnee Mission North; Jerrik Sigg, Iola; Christian Smith, St. Marys-Colgan; Greg Snell, Eudora; Gage Steckel, Rossville; Jeddy Tuiloma, Washburn Rural; Austin Veach, Doniphan West; Nick Walsh, Lyndon; Marcus Williams, Gardner-Edgerton; Michael Williams, Olathe East; Thomas Wittman, Hayden.
Luke Bean, Kapaun Mount Carmel; Zach Binder, Hays; Deante Burton, Manhattan; Bradyn Butcher, Bishop Carroll; Dillon Call, Derby; Joey Capul, Garden Plain; Andrew Casey, Plainville; Trace Clark, Wichita Collegiate; Colborn Couchmen, Scott Community; Jacob Davis, Wichita Northwest; Derrick Decker, Rose Hill; Jacob English, Beloit; Tanner Fisher, Buhler; Trey Hallman, Dodge City; Jordan Hart, McPherson; Jared Herl, Ellis; Josh Jarnagin, Ulysses; Truitt Kuhlmann, Smith Center; Colten Lissolo, Hugoton; Gabe Luna, Garden City; Jarrod Nickelson, Clearwater; Matt Reed, Wichita Heights; Kole Schankie, Madison; Joe Schrock, Trinity Catholic; Matt Seiwert, Conway Springs; Collin Sexton, Abilene; Brandon Smith, Wichita Southeast; Joel Struckhoff, Thunder Ridge; Trent Stucky, Sedgwick, Tayler Stull, LaCrosse; Najahaun Tipton-Wylie, Hutchinson; Tyler Uselton, Great Bend; Cody Weston, Maize South; Dominik White, Junction City. Coaches: Greg Slade, Rose Hill; Matt Biehler, Conway Springs; Jon Webster, La Crosse; Ja’Mon Cotton, Hutchinson.