Back in 2006, Bo Black vividly recollects driving down a street in Great Bend and noticing a football prospect, perhaps an offensive lineman, someone he had never seen before.
“I see this kid walking down the street and he’s such a good-looking, big kid that I stopped my car and jumped out and said, ‘Son, what’s your name?’ and he said, ‘Tyler Uselton.’ ”
Black had a pointed question for the big kid.
“I said, ‘So how come someone as big as you is not playing football for Great Bend High School?’ and he goes, ‘What are you talking about?’
“I said, ‘You’d be a great football player, we need to get you out. He replied, ‘Coach Black, sir, I’m in seventh grade.’ And I said, ‘Oh, we’re going to look forward to seeing you in a couple years.’ ”
As it turned out, Uselton, a 6-foot-3½, 327-pounder, didn’t disappoint. All he did was become a pillar on the Panthers’ offensive line, the first player in the Black era to log playing time as a freshman on varsity.
By the time he graduated this past spring, he was perhaps the most feared offensive lineman in the Western Athletic Conference, a two-time, first-team all-conference selection.
In the words of Black, Uselton, who signed in February to play for powerhouse Butler Community College in El Dorado, is the best lineman he has coached at GBHS. He will be playing in the Kansas Shrine Bowl on Saturday, July 28, in Emporia.
“We have had a handful of good ones on the offensive line,” said Black, who is entering his 12th season with the Panthers this fall, “and he’d be at the top. He’s just a really special kid to coach. You can put it a lot of ways. He’s either got great feet for a big guy or a big guy with great feet. He’s the total package. He’s tall enough and big enough, and he’s strong and powerful.
“More than anything, he wants to be a real good football player. You find somebody that wants to be and has the physical attributes in the end, then you really have something special. He doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. He’s a really good football player. It will be really interesting to see what happens. We’re going to really enjoy following him over the next two years.”
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. Coaches: Steve Buhler (head), Rossville; Todd Dain, Olathe Northwest; Jason Swift, Shawnee Heights; Mike Dumpert, Paola; Mike Beam, Rock Creek; Scot Koranda, Riverside.
Luke Bean, Kapaun Mountt 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.