"Hitman" eyed by the big red

George Uko already finds himself back in the weight room, getting ready for Spring ball in sunny California. Hard to believe it's high school. But that's where Uko wants to be. He wouldn't be any place else. Well, except on the field, and Nebraska is one of those schools who have offered him a written offer to do what he likes best, for them.

Some defensive linemen will tell you about the subtle things they like about playing the position. It's the hands, the feet, the pad level. It's the techniques you can use to turn perhaps a bigger guy around, upside down and back again.

Not George Uko

He keeps it simple.

"What's better than a game where I can knock the hell out of people all day and not get in trouble," he asked, rhetorically. "That's what I love to do – hit people."

Nothing subtle about this guy. But then again his numbers from last year weren't all that subtle either as Uko, playing both on the interior and on the edge, averaging almost nine tackles a game with Uko stating that he notched five sacks on the year as well.

For a guy 6-3 and around 280 pounds you might think that when it comes to playing inside or the edge, this "biggun" would feel more at home in the middle.

Not quite

"I like the edge. My coach put me out there on the edge last year, and I will probably be playing there this year, too," he said. "I think I have the quickness to get around most of those guys, and being on the edge means I don't have to deal with all the double-teams."

As any self-respecting football can tell you, if a football team has a dominant lineman on the defensive interior, he's going to get all kind of attention. He'll get blocked from the left, the right, guards collapsing down on the nose or even tackles collapsing down to help the guards. There doesn't seem to be an end to all the combinations an offensive line can throw at you, and Uko think s he's probably seen them all. "Just when you think you got single blocking, a guy comes over from my left or right and it's another double-team. That's all I ever see when I am inside," he said. "I get on the edge, they might try to chip me, but they can't double me out there like that or they open everything else up the middle.

"That's when I get to have some fun."

While Uko has been having fun, he's been getting noticed, now to the tune of three offers, his first from the University of Nebraska and his most recent coming from Arizona State, an offer he received last week. The other is from Oregon.

When it comes to the letters he's getting from other schools interested, you might need some time. "USC, UCLA, Colorado, Oregon State, Washington…a lot of schools," Uko said.

The recruiting has heated up the last few weeks, and Uko thinks that this is probably just the beginning. But he's not waiting around for teams to come to him. He doesn't know about unofficial visits, but over the next couple of months he said he's got a few camps in mind. "I'm probably going to go to the USC and UCLA team camps, and then I think I am going to do a Nike camp and a Scout.com combine," he said. "I haven ‘t thought about any others right now. I think that might be it for the off-season."

Some off-season, eh?

Nebraska didn't wait long to figure out if they wanted Uko, the Chino, California (Don Lugo HS) standout saying that when they were in California to offer another kid last May. "They stopped by our school when they were heading to offer the Martinez quarterback from Centennial High School," Uko said of Husker Defensive Line Coach Carl Pelini, who offered eventual Husker commit and signee, Taylor Martinez. "But I haven't really talked to them too much at all."

With camps scheduled to USC and UCLA, one might think that Uko is simply waiting for an offer from either one, as he no doubt grew up with one of them as his dream school of the future.

Try again

"Nahh, I'm not like that. I'm not like most of these crazy California kids," he said. "No school sits above another with me."

Because of that mind-set which has manifested itself the more attention he's gotten, Uko says now is not the time to think about it too much, because there's too much time between now and when he thinks he'll even grapple with the idea of picking a school. "Yeah, I'm not making my decision anytime soon. I want to take my visits and see just what place fits me best," he said. "I want to go to a school that has good academics, and they have to have a good tradition of winning."

That's one thing Uko said he knew all too well about Nebraska. "They have a lot of titles. I know that. I heard they have six. I'm not sure, but it's a lot," he said. "I can tell you that I'm not going to a place that can't beat anybody. They better be able to win."

What's probably the most refreshing to fans, at least those who follow schools not necessarily in the warmest of climates, Uko said he could care less about the weather. Uko said he also could care less about where the school is located. It doesn't matter, he said, because as long as it fits his criteria of academics, tradition and, of course, good relationships with the coaches and players, then he'll be quite content to get down to doing what he likes best.

"Hit. Give me a chance, and I will hit anyone on the field. It's great, because you can get away with it," he said. "How can you not like a sport that lets you do that?

"That's what I plan to do."


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