Friday, May 20, 2022
Princeton’s Uzzell Headed To UNC Pembroke

Princeton’s Uzzell Headed To UNC Pembroke

McKinley Uzzell found his new home for the next four years.

The Princeton Bulldog signed a national letter of intent to play football at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke next fall. 

Other schools had contacted Uzzell and offered some options during his recruiting process, but UNC Pembroke just seemed like the right fit for Uzzell.

“We kind of met in the middle. I went to a camp and met the coaches. Eventually, I went on a visit, and coaches made me feel like I was at home, and the place felt like home,” Uzzell said. “It was a family like it is here at Princeton, and I just fell in love with it.”

He played soccer for most of his life, but he got a concussion during his sophomore year. After recovering, an opportunity to become the football team’s kicker opened up.

As a junior, Uzzell made the difficult decision to quit soccer and focus solely on football.

Once he decided to dedicate himself to kicking, Uzzell started to do all the necessary work to become a great kicker and everything he could to perfect his craft.

And with his excellent work ethic, Uzzell established himself as a great kicker and punter on the gridiron this season.

“To come from having no idea what football was, or know how to kick a football, to having the opportunity to kick a football in college for a very quality program is just a testament to his work ethic,” Princeton head coach Travis Gaster said. “He’s an athlete, and his work ethic is what allowed him to be good and not just get by.”

Uzzell converted 89 of 90 extra points. He ended the season by making 86 consecutive extra points, which made Uzzell second in state history in consecutive extra points made.

He was part of a Princeton team that went 13-1, won their third conference title in four years, and reached the regional championship round of the playoffs. 

“This season was mind-blowing, but it was very humbling because we put a lot of work into it,” Uzzell said. “We knew it was going to be our year.

“We did our thing out there.”

Uzzell credited his success to his coaches and teammates, whose confidence and self-esteem grew each time he helped put points on the board.

“Without the six points the offense put on the board, I couldn’t put the seventh on the board, and without them, I wouldn’t have anything,” Uzzell said.

Uzzell is undecided about his major, and he can’t wait to step onto the field and produce at UNC Pembroke.

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