Not much in the mercurial life of Cordale Scott is unchanged from four years ago.
A top 10 prospect in Ohio at powerhouse Cleveland Glenville, he had prodigious talent heading into his freshman football season in the Big Ten, and potential that seemed boundless.
Four unremarkable seasons later, with his career having been rerouted by a transfer, a position change, and the birth of his son, Scott has never scored a touchdown and has caught only five passes.
Expectations realized? Maybe not. Scott, now a fifth-year senior at University of Toledo, is not scarred.
"I don't complain much," Scott said this week. "My career is what it is. It's not over. Your career's not set in your past. It's set in your future."
Scott is setting up himself for a thunderous ending, or at least his best season to date. His offseason transition from receiver to tight end has spurred effusive praise from his coach, who used "special" to describe the fusion of Scott's stoutness as a blocker and his skills as a pass catcher.
Scott, who played in all 13 games last year, is a near lock to start Sept. 1 when UT opens at Arizona.
"I think he's ready to shine," Matt Campbell said.
That would bring a firm ending to an inconstant five years. Scott emigrated from Illinois after two seasons, not because his time on the field had been limited to special teams, or because he was stuck on zero catches, but because he became a father. Cordale Scott, Jr., now 3, lives in Cleveland and visits his father twice a month and on home games.
"I'm blessed to have a healthy son," Scott said. "He looks up to me and that's my main thing, being a great example for him."
Scott bulked up 20 pounds since last season, aiding in his effectiveness to exchange blows with hulking defensive linemen. Campbell lauds his blocking craft, noting many big plays last season were made possible by Scott creating space for ball carriers. Scott (6 feet, 4 inches and 230 pounds) said he was receptive to the position switch, which came about in bowl game practices, and that blocking "is a pride thing."
"Sometimes when you get a transfer, people instantly think those guys are big name guys," Campbell said. "Cordale came in here and instead of maybe catching all the balls, he did a great job of blocking and being a great role player for us."
That understated impact could become more apparent. Campbell said Scott has done a "heck of a job" catching balls in the preseason, a continuation of his summer efforts.
Scott's five receptions in 2011 were more than the team's other returners at tight end had combined, a reflection of the inexperience at that position in the wake of the departures to seniors Danny Noble and Jerome Jones. Colby Kratch (two catches), Jared Strait (one catch), and former defensive end Zac Rosenbauer are battling for playing time along with freshman Alex Zmolik.
UT's spread offense, unlike variations employed by some other teams, does not de-emphasize tight ends. Noble, who spent the past three years in it, caught 48 passes for 555 yards and seven touchdowns despite only four receptions coming in an injury-plagued senior season.
Piling up gaudy statistics, Scott said, is unimportant. He's gone his whole career without them, so he won't be discouraged if they don't come now. His success can be measured in other ways.
"I'm not looking for individual goals," he said. "I'm looking at being a great leader and to lead this team to a [Mid-American Conference] championship."
SCHEDULE NOTE: The Sept. 29 game at Western Michigan will be available to watch online on ESPN3. Game time is 7 p.m.
Contact Ryan Autullo at: email@example.com, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @AutulloBlade.
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