In the end, being able to play quarterback in college was not the end-all for C.J. Uzomah.
North Gwinnett’s star signalcaller committed to Auburn on Saturday as a wide receiver, but with a twist. Offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn promises a package of plays for Uzomah as the “wildcat” in the Wildcat formation.
But Uzomah said that was a secondary consideration.
“They want to use me kind of as a wideout/slot receiver but they also want me to be a quarterback in their Wildcat package,” said Uzomah, who committed to the Tigers before Saturday’s workouts with his North Gwinnett team. “They showed me some film of how they would use me and that was pretty cool. Coach Malzahn is an innovative offensive mind and they have a great offense.
“But that wasn’t the main thing. Really it was just the feel of the campus and the community and the whole thing. There’s no place like it to me. Forty years down there road I know I’ll say I made the right decision.”
It’s not like Uzomah didn’t look around. In fact, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound athlete with more than a dozen offers gave LSU an extra hard look. Uzomah spent Tuesday in Baton Rouge touring the campus and facilities with his family. And Les Miles gave him a hard pitch. They offered Uzomah as a quarterback with the caveat of moving him to wide receiver if things didn’t work out under center.
“I guess in the back of my head I always knew Auburn was the best fit for me, but I wanted to be sure,” said Uzomah, who gets a four-star rating from Scout, three stars from Rivals. “That’s why took some visits and went to LSU. But with Auburn, I just got a feel for the place and got to know some of the guys that are going there. I talk to Kiehl Frazier a lot and we’ve gotten to be good friends.”
Frazier is a highly-touted quarterback from Arkansas, who is already committed to Auburn.
Uzomah threw for more than 1,700 yards and 14 TDs as a junior and led North Gwinnett to a one-loss season. So does it bother him that some teams had doubts about him as a quarterback on the next level?
“I take it as a compliment that they believe I’m a good enough athlete I could play positions other than quarterback,” said Uzomah, who played wideout for the Bulldogs as a sophomore.
As for the local teams, Uzomah just couldn’t make a connection.
Of Georgia Tech, he said: “It really wasn’t that big of a recruitment. I think some of that was on my end just because I don’t think I communicated well with them. We just never got anything going.”
Of Georgia, he said: “I think they had a good idea that Christian LeMay was going to be coming as their quarterback. After he committed it just kind of dissipated after that. They offered me as a wide receiver as a sophomore but I think they got some commitments they wanted there, too.”
Uzomah said he’s thrilled to have the decision behind him just as preseason practices get under way.
“We’ve got a countdown clock in the lockerroom to the Grayson exhibition game,” he said. “I kept looking at it and it was winding down fast. We have a tough schedule and I really wanted to get this out of the way so I could focus the season.”