September 27, 2010

Big OL has Army number one on his list

With four of the five starters on the offensive line wearing the designation of senior, there is a need to continue to fill the pipeline with talented offensive linemen. Don't get it wrong, the system already has some quality young talent in players like Frank Allen, who is the only underclassman to start up front. You can add up and coming Matt Villanti and Shelby Jackson … sophomore and freshman respectively.

Although the Black Knights already with two offensive line commits under the belt, with Nick Bennett and David Evans … they continue their recruiting quest for the big guys up front.

One such player that has hit the Army radar and picked up an offer from the Black Knights is Rafe Kiely.

The 6-foot-3, 300 pound Kiely is out of Wheaton (Ill.) Wheaton North High School.

The powerful lineman, who is being recruited at Army by Joe Ross took a few moments out of his day to speak to about his interest in Army and his overall recruiting.

"I spoke to Coach Ross on Tuesday and we were just talking about different aspects of attending West Point," says Kiely, who plans on taking an official visit to Army at the conclusion of his football season. "He talked about rigors of the dual life of being a cadet and a Division I football player."

"It is such a unique opportunity … there are so many people that apply to West Point and they only let about 10% of the people in, it is so selective. To have them to reach out to me and say they want me there is a big honor."

Even inside Kiely's high school football program, the Army/West Point roots run somewhat deep. "I have a coach that's a very big fan of Army and he said that it's so unique that if you have an opportunity to go visit it you better go, because you never see anything like it again," declares Kiely.

So, what is his interest in Army? I want to play football at the highest level and right now, it's Army," the Illinois native says.

Although he is high on the Black Knights, there several other schools that are reaching out to the big offensive lineman on a daily basis. "I talk to Illinois a lot, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Wisconsin and a few others are still showing strong interest," Kiely affirms.

At Wheaton North, Kiely plays strictly on offense side, but trying his best to work his way onto the defense. "My head coach likes the idea of having players just go one way," says a laughing Kiely, whose style of play has been described as a violent player who plays with a mean strict.

Part of that mindset comes from the mentoring relationship that he has with Akim Millington, whose college career started at Oklahoma and ended with Illinois, along with a stint in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints prior to suffering a career ending injury.

"I trained with him the whole offseason … I'm blessed to work with him," Kiely proclaims. "He went to my high school and I met him through my track coach and he's been a friend every since. He comes to our house for dinner every Sunday and he showed me how to finish someone on a pass block, drive them into ground. If you watch my game film you'll see that D-linemen will stop rushing me … they rush me by first quarter they just start standing up after that. And when it comes to run blocking they just seem to be defeated before we start."

Clearly Kiely has the mentality, size and talent that would fit well into Ellerson's attack style triple option offense. will continue to follow Bennett throughout his recruiting.

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