Posted: 2:56 pm Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
By Jeff Greer
WELLINGTON — Kc McDermott isn’t even 17 years old yet, but the entire college football world was watching Tuesday when the Palm Beach Central High junior offensive tackle announced his college choice.
With close to 100 media members, coaches, friends and family on hand and two rabid fan bases following the ceremony on the Internet, the 6-foot-6, 285-pound McDermott publicly committed to Miami, confirming a week’s worth of rumors surrounding his recruiting process. McDermott chose Miami over Notre Dame.
Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State and several other major BCS programs chased him.
McDermott plans to enroll at Miami in January after playing in the Under Armour All-American game and participate in the Hurricanes’ 2014 spring practices. He told Miami coach Al Golden of his commitment last Thursday at a Miami practice.
“I get to stay close to home with my family, get to see my girlfriend whenever I want to,” McDermott said after his announcement ceremony. “It’s a great experience, great time, and I’m staying home.”
Tuesday’s announcement ends McDermott’s long recruiting process, which began before ninth grade when Kc, the youngest of three McDermott brothers, was 6-foot-4, 280 pounds and dominating 17- and 18-year-olds at summer camps. His middle brother, Shane, is the starting center on Miami’s offensive line, and his oldest brother Tyler is a graduate assistant at Notre Dame. Tyler was a lineman at Colorado State, and all three have played their high school ball at Central.
Kc’s grown into one of the top offensive tackles in the Class of 2014, and is widely considered one of the best rising high school seniors in the nation. Al Golden, Brian Kelly, Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Will Muschamp and several other big-name head coaches came to Palm Beach Central in recent months to visit McDermott, who projects to be 6-7 and close to 320 pounds.
“He’s the total package,” said Palm Beach Central coach Rod Harris, who added McDermott bench presses 385 pounds and squats more than 450 and compared him to former Dolphins tackle Jake Long. “When you get size, speed, his knowledge of football, his feet separate him from other linemen … he knows his blocking assignment along with the other four guys on the line. He makes some calls for the line. And then he’s a great kid.”
Such a tantalizing makeup for a 16-year-old prospect means his recruitment process isn’t over, though he and his family say they will no longer listen to recruiters. Notre Dame coaches told McDermott they would still visit Palm Beach Central’s spring practices and continue recruiting him until he literally steps onto Miami’s campus.
“I’m not changing my decision. Nothing can change it,” McDermott said. “I very seriously considered Notre Dame. It’s a great school as I’ve always said, but I couldn’t leave my friends and family. It just wasn’t going to happen.”McDermott, who was a Post Super 11 selection before the 2012 season, toured several campuses last summer and fall, from Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State up north to Miami, Florida and Alabama down south. Last week, during his school’s spring break, he and his father Randy visited Notre Dame for two days before stopping by Miami’s practice on Thursday.
That’s when McDermott informed Golden he planned to play for him. Golden, Randy McDermott said, lost it with excitement. That reaction set off a buzz on the Internet, with several Miami-specific recruiting sites reporting McDermott’s commitment. His family would neither confirm nor deny those rumors, hoping instead to let Kc “have his day” on Tuesday.
The public confirmation of what the Hurricanes’ coaching staff has known since last week set off a few celebratory tweets from recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll and offensive coordinator James Coley.
“Welcome to the U!” Carroll tweeted. A few hours later, Coley, in his first year at Miami, tweeted, “My-ami!!! It’s back!!!”
Palm Beach Central’s cafeteria was a bit tamer than social media. Four Palm Beach Central seniors had their own signing ceremony first. Offensive lineman Nickedel Pierre (Edward Waters), linebackers Wilky Orelien (St. Joseph’s) and Conor Chavez (Mississippi College) and kicker Cameron Golob (Faulker) officially inked their college futures.
Randy arrived at Palm Beach Central for Kc’s ceremony in a white dress shirt and Hurricane-orange tie. Sources close to the family said Randy wanted Kc to pick Miami, but also wanted his son to experience the recruiting process, do his due diligence and see campuses. But, Randy said two weeks ago, once Kc picks a school he will stick to that commitment.
“It’s a huge relief,” Kc McDermott said. “This is the place for me. This was a decision for me, not anyone else. Miami’s been on my radar since I was 8.”
Central seniors sign: McDermott’s teammates had their own signing just before his announcement. Kicker Cameron Golob, this season’s Lou Groza High School Kicker of the Year, signed with Faulkner. Offensive tackle Nickedel Pierre inked with Edward Waters. And linebackers Conor Chavez (Mississippi College) and Wilky Orelien (St. Joseph’s) also signed.