NORMAN — A little less than five years ago, Charles Tapper was with a friend at a Maryland McDonald’s when the topic turned to his future. Tapper, then barely old enough to drive, always saw himself as a basketball player. The friend saw a different path and laid it out with a vivid analogy.
“He told me, ‘You can either drive a Honda Accord or a Lamborghini,’” Tapper said.
At the moment, he wasn’t sure what his friend meant. But the meaning was simple: Continuing to pour his heart and soul into basketball had limits. A future in football had limitless possibilities.
“I said, ‘Shoot, I wanna drive a Lamborghini,’” Tapper said.
He doesn’t have the car of his dreams yet, but anything seems possible when it comes to Tapper’s future.
The Oklahoma sophomore defensive end is projected to start when the season kicks off Aug. 31 against Louisiana-Monroe. That part is no surprise for a 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end. Tapper looks the part in every sense.
But when Tapper had that conversation with his friend back home, he’d just started playing the game as a junior in high school. Tapper spent his summers on the AAU basketball circuit and was a standout post player with the athletic ability to score and bang with bigger players.
The weight room was foreign to him; so were swim moves, bull rushes and twists. But everything else was there and easy to see for everyone except Tapper.
He was still tepid about his football future when the same friend who convinced him football was his career path got him into a scouting combine. OU assistant Bobby Jack Wright saw him there.
Two years later, he was wearing an OU uniform. Three years later, he’s likely starting his first game.