February 10, 2010

UC target LB Kyle Kennedy Big Ten visit today

In the week preceding Valentine's Day junior LB Kyle Kennedy is showing the love to Big Ten schools. A visit to Indiana today will be followed up with a visit to Purdue on Saturday. Kennedy will also attend UC's junior day February 21st. All three schools have connections to the 100-lb linebacker.

High school teammate Camaron Beard of the Cathedral Irish just signed with Cincinnati for the fall. QB Kofi Hughes, the senior offensive leader of CHS will be a Hoosier. Purdue already has a couple of Irish alumni on their roster in Robert Maci and Sean Collins.

All those attendees pale in relevance to Kennedy's own mother.

"My mom went to Indiana," said Kennedy. "My dad went to Wabash College."

Rarely does a high school running back get the edge on Kennedy. He possesses exceptional lateral mobility coupled with startling endurance.

In Cathedral's 2008 Indiana state title victory Kennedy completed five tackles during one eight play possession. With his help the defense of Cathedral won that game, holding a 14-0 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger squad to just 7 points.

"I love getting to the ball carrier," said Kennedy. "Very aggressive, very quick," are attributes of his game he acknowledges.

The aggressiveness never stops either until the whistle halts the play. When his teammate Wes Vasillo snatched an INT out of the air Kennedy completely dislodged a pursuer. The hit was both clean and startlingly violent. The LB hits hard and uses good technique up top, shoulders square.

Learning the football craft the Cathedral way gives young men an uncommon edge. Few high schools in the entire nation have a better record of sending players into the NFL.

In the last 15 years, Blaine Bishop, Darrick Brownlow, Moe Gardner, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Jeremy Trueblood have all made the long trek from Cathedral to the NFL. Kiwanuka just finished 2009 as the fourth leading tackler for the New York Giants. Four of the five aforementioned players play defense, which remains Kennedy's aspiration.

Every player being recruited Cincinnati wonders about the coaching transition and whether the outstanding trajectory will continue under Butch Jones. Several recruits mentioned personal unease concerning the unfamiliar staff.

Kennedy has a different perspective altogether.

"The way I see it you pick a school for the school," said Kennedy. "Not the coaching staff. You are going to school to get an education. The coaching staff doesn't really matter. They could be there for one year or 100 years."

Coming from the most successful high school football program in Indiana history, Kennedy knows about success and the demanding, rigorous effort required to maintain. He will be a starter for his third year in 2010. Even though he reads defenses with an unusual swiftness expect his college decision to take some time.

"I am open to everybody," said Kennedy. "No preferences. Just looking around."

Purdue and Indiana are hoping he falls in love this week, the week of lovers.

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