Perhaps one of Oklahoma's least talked about visitors to the Oklahoma-Missouri game last month was a player in the Sooners own backyard. Edmond (Okla.) North offensive center Heath Newland.
The 6-foot-2, 285-pound class of 2013 prospect has started for the Huskies since his freshman year and is quickly establishing himself as one of the state's top linemen, regardless of class. He and his family made the familiar trip to Norman for the Sooners 38-28 win.
"We got the tickets at the Switzer Center and hung out and I got to talk to some of the other recruits. There were a couple guys in my class that I knew and I got to talk to and that was pretty fun. Then we got to go down on the field for pre-game and all that stuff and were able to see them stretching and it was pretty fun," said Newland.
Article Continues Below
"Getting to hangout and be around guys in the 2012 class like Zach Banner and Mario Edwards is pretty impressive. It was cool seeing the 'A'-list players from the 2012 class."
After turning heads at the Sooners summer camp as well as the National Underclassmen 'Ultimate 100' Newland continues to impress as the anchor on an Edmond North offensive line that has helped the Huskies average nearly 300-yards on the ground per game.
"I talked to coach (James) Patton a little bit. We chit chatted and he was just talking to me about how my season is going so far and just some different o-line stuff. I've gone to their camps for the past two years now so it's always nice to catch up with them. I also was able to talk to coach (Cale) Gundy. He's is mainly who I've been talking to as far as the recruiting side of things," he explained.
The past two years of camping in Norman have also helped build a solid foundation with the Sooners interior offensive line coach, Patton.
"Oh yeah I love how he coaches. He's a real loud guy and he knows what he's talking about. I love the way he coaches and I also love their offensive scheme. They pretty much run zone stretch all day long," he said.
"I'm starting to hear from mainly about four schools: TCU, Missouri, Oklahoma and Oregon. OU looks pretty good to me. Being able to go to the camps and see the coaches and see how they coach and just getting to see how they work I love a lot about it. If they were to offer me it'd be tough to say no because it is the University of Oklahoma."
Newland actually grew up in the Lone Star state and was a fan of the state's flagship program, Texas, but after moving to Oklahoma in middle school he quickly took to the Sooners.
"But moving up here and going to the games and going to the camps and having all of those privileges I've grown to love OU now. It's a great school and I know a lot of people go there and I know how great the program is they're always a top five team," he admitted.
The athletic run blocker also has a trip to Eugene, Ore. scheduled after enjoying his time on campus in the Pacific Northwest during a summer visit where he was named the Ducks cam offensive line MVP.
"I just wanted to go up to their camp so my whole family went with me. That was the first time I had even been to Oregon. I had received a 'common' interest letter and I was pretty excited about it so after the success they had on their season last year and how impressive their offense is I was like, 'ok I'll go up there and see how it is'. I ended up really liking it. Their offensive line coach Steve Greatwood is a really good guy and a great coach," said Newland.
"Being all the way from Oklahoma- I think I was the farthest camper away from home other than a wide receiver from Georgia- but I was going up against all kinds of guys from Utah and California and some really, really good 2012 recruits cause I was with the older class. I did pretty well against them. It was great for me to go up there and show what I have."
"I'm going to try and go up there for the USC-Oregon game in November."
Now Newland will wait for his first offer to roll in.
"Who knows when it will come but it's kind of like what they say after you get that first offer they say they all start rolling in so who knows who will come out of the woods."