Posted: 3:36 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013
By Mike Rutherford
Running back has been a point of focus all offseason for the Louisville football team, but most of luck that focus has been on the five-headed monster at tailback. But as Jody Demling points out, some of that national attention might eventually shift to the guy clearing the path for Brown, Perry, Dyer and company.
The story of Griffin Uhl first started to make its way around the sports world during the winter of 2012. He was the athletic freak whose high school didn't have a football team, but who still wanted to play the sport at the college level.
Schuman understood. But he made sure the Uhl family internalized one unmistakable fact. Although Griffin was in the top one percent of players that Schuman scouted, he only saw Uhl in shorts and a T-shirt, not pads and a uniform. While there was no denying his potential, there was no way of confirming it, either.
"Top one percent in shorts and T-shirts usually translates into being top one percent on the field," Schuman said. "But not always. That's the issue."
Despite wowing coaches at a number of camps, Uhl never wound up receiving a college scholarship (not playing high school football makes for a pretty difficult sell), but was told by the staff at U of L that he could join the team as a preferred walk-on. He accepted the offer.
Uhl then virtually disappeared from the news, spending last season as a redshirt defensive lineman, hoping to learn and improve enough to see the field at some point down the line in his Cardinal career.
That chance may come sooner than anyone thought, and at a position no one was expecting.
The recent move of B.J. Buter, who started fall camp as Louisville's No. 1 fullback, to tight end left a number of Cardinal fans scratching their heads. U of L already had depth and talent at the tight end, something which couldn't be said for the spot Butler was leaving.
Apparently at least part of the answer lies with Uhl.
Called perhaps the "surprise of the whole season," by U of L offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, Uhl is currently running No. 1 on the depth chart at fullback for the Cardinals.
"We'll see how the story unfolds, but he could be the surprise of the whole season," Watson said. "He's a 265-pound fullback. We didn't know exactly where to play him. He's a willing soul, who is very physical."
The 6-foot-2, 267-pound Uhl was forced to walk-on at U of L after his high school - Henryville, Ind., - didn't offer the sport of football. He played in a nearby community league and went to camps to try and get notices.
"I just don't quite understand what that is," Watson said with a chuckle. "He's told me about it and I still can't quite get it. He didn't have a whole lot of football background. But let me tell you, when he blocks you, he finishes you."
Just another thing to be really excited about.