Without looking at the final statistics from the 2012 season, it was hard for the impact of Union High School wide receiver Jeff Mead to go unnoticed. Listed at 6'7" with an apparently wide wing span and an above average vertical, Mead got a hand on seemingly every ball thrown his way.
They were the kind of plays which usually ended up Tulsa Channel 8's Touchdown Friday Night high school football show. This is on top of being a standout forward for the basketball team and ultimately a finalist for the 2013 Elite 8 Ford Award.
To the surprise of no one, Mead has collected several NCAA Division-I scholarship offers but already committed to play for OU beginning in the fall of 2014. With that "distraction" out of the way, Mead can focus on helping his team get back to where it finished the past four seasons prior to 2012: winners of the 6A state title.
"Our junior class (now seniors) had leaders," Mead said before the team's first practice of fall camp Monday. "But when you know it's your team, and everything depends on you, it's completely different. So there are things you're going to do different. So now we have more players stepping up for us this year."
Mead, widely considered one of the top wide receivers in the state, has gained the respect of his teammates over the last year. But it isn't just because of what Mead brings physically.
"Being committed to Oklahoma, does that give him some credibility? Absolutely, I think it does," head coach Kirk Fridrich explained. "But it has to be backed up by your character and your work ethic. And he has that as well."
The Union Redskins open the regular season September 7th against Desoto High School in Desoto, Texas.