University of Akron football coach Terry Bowden said he’d recruit Western Pennsylvania hard. He didn’t mention Beaver Falls would be ground zero.
UA has six verbal commitments for the 2014 class, according to Scout.com and Rivals.com. Half of them hail from Beaver Falls, Pa.
One in particular, quarterback Chandler Kincade, drew a good amount of attention after he de-committed from hometown Pittsburgh following a coaching change and overlooked two other BCS offers to come to Akron.
Kincade, a three-star recruit according to Rivals and a two-star on Scout’s rankings, profiles as a “big, strong” quarterback who does well in the pocket. The knock against him thus far has been his accuracy when pressured or on the run. But at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, he already has adequate size.
He also still had standing scholarship offers from Rutgers, Temple and Bowling Green. But the successes of past Mid-American Conference quarterbacks benefited Akron.
“I know a lot of kids, once they get a big-name school, that’s where they want to go,” Kincade told the Beacon Journal. “There have been a lot of great quarterbacks in the MAC. Through my recruitment, I was always open to MAC schools. I never thought because they weren’t BCS that I shouldn’t look at them.”
Kincade will enroll early and arrive on campus in January so that he can practice in the spring. He says he’s been told that he’ll have a chance to start as a freshman.
“They said talent wise, I’ll be able to compete,” Kincade said. “I’ll have to learn the playbook and I’ll have to physically get bigger in the weight room. [Offensive coordinator A.J. Milwee] said if I can do those two things, I have a shot to compete. For me, for any quarterback, that’s what you want to hear.”
Kincade goes to Blackhawk High School. The cross-town school, Beaver Falls High School, has two future Zips.
The first is Brock Boxen, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive tackle and guard who registers as a three-star recruit on Rivals and a two-star recruit on Scout. The second is who Kincade might be throwing to in the future, 6-foot-3 wide receiver Elijah Cottrill.
The Beaver Falls trio — Blackhawk and Beaver Falls rarely play each other and aren’t rivals — has been texting and talking since Kincade’s commitment. Cottrill even texted his future quarterback of his UA commitment a day before it was announced. Boxen, like Kincade, had other BCS offers to fall back on aside from Akron.
“I talked to Brock, he had a Pitt offer and a [Connecticut] offer,” Kincade said. “I asked him what he thought and he said all the same stuff as me, there’s just a feel around the program that they’re going to take off.”
The lone Ohio recruit in the 2014 class is two-star wide receiver Blake Dennis, a 6-footer from Rittman. And checking in from Florida are two two-star defensive backs, Bernard Willingham and Kyron Brown.
Kincade said it’s Bowden’s plan for future success that’s drawing recruits outside of Northeast Ohio.
“First you’re going to lose, then you’re going to lose small, then win small and then win big,” Kincade said of Bowden’s road map. “I think when you see that, what you’re seeing, you look at the Michigan game and it comes down to a goal-line stand. Northern Illinois was 27-20 and they had the ball within I think four minutes. You can see what he’s saying and that it’s working.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.