Quarterback Talks About His Decision

One of the South's best prospects discusses why he wants to be an Auburn Tiger football player.

Phenix City, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers picked up their 14th commitment for the Class of 2003 with the addition of quarterback Kelcy McKissic-Luke from Central High School on Wednesday afternoon.

With brothers Triandos and Nic by his side, both currently players at Alabama, the two-time Bi-City Player of the Year and the finalist for the Class 6A Offensive Back of the Year announced that Auburn was the school he would attend for the next four or five years.

"For me I feel that Auburn has been the place for me since the season started," McKissic-Luke said following his press conference at Central High. "I knew it was Auburn, but people kept thinking I was going somewhere else. It was Auburn all the way."

Kelcy (center) is surrounded by his parents and brothers Nick (left) and Triandos (right). Both brothers were wearing Alabama sweats for their brother's announcement.

Despite the fact that both brothers are attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the quarterback said that he never really considered going to Alabama this season. After meeting with Coach Bobby Petrino at an Auburn summer camp and already knowing Coach Joe Whitt through his brothers, McKissic-Luke said he's known where he wanted to go for a while but decided to wait until after the season to announce.

"My brothers just told me to do what was best for me," he said. "They told me that and it took the pressure off me.

"I knew at the beginning of the season," McKissic-Luke added. "It was mostly because of the coaches. I've known Coach Whitt since I was in the 9th grade when he was recruiting my brothers. We talked a lot then. I met Coach Petrino at Auburn's camp. He was nice to me and I felt comfortable around Coach Petrino just talking to him about different things."

McKissic-Luke is shown at a game earlier this season at Smiths Station.

A three-year starter at quarterback for the Red Devils, Luke finished his career with a record of 29-7 and led his team to the playoffs all three years. With 3,456 career yards passing and 31 touchdowns with just 12 interceptions, it's easy to see why Auburn coveted him at the quarterback position. His senior season put him on the map with other schools around the region when he passed for 1,636 yards and 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Throw in 376 yards rushing and four more scores and you have one of the top dual-threat passing/running quarterbacks in the South.

Ron Nelson, the head coach at Central, said he believes Auburn landed a good one when they got a commitment from his quarterback.

Kelcy smiles with an Auburn hat on after bluffing the crowd with Georgia Tech and Alabama hats.

"He's the best quarterback I've coached in 23 years," Nelson said. "Not only is he an outstanding athlete, but he's an outstanding person also. He's going to be an asset to Auburn. He's one of those athletic quarterbacks, not only can he throw but he can run.

"A lot of people in the recruiting process said ‘Are they just signing him as an athlete?' They are signing him as a quarterback--he just happens to also be an athlete. I think you see more of that in the pro and college ranks looking for that type of athlete. I think he can fill that bill."

With a grade point average of 3.52 and expected to have no trouble being an academic qualifier, McKissic-Luke is the all-around student-athlete that the Auburn coaching staff has been recruiting in recent years. After watching him grow from a quarterback who didn't take many chances his first year as a starter into a seasoned-veteran as a senior, Nelson said his leadership is a part of the game that can't be overlooked.

"It's been so valuable for us," Nelson said. "He started three seasons for us and led us to some great wins. To be honest with you we took it slow with him. By the time his senior year hit this year the whole offense was his. He checked everything. Not only did he check us into a good play, but the best thing he did was check us out of a bad play. As far as understanding coverages he's so much farther along (than anyone he's coached). I know it's going to be different in college because it's more complicated, but he has the willingness to learn and adapt quick. I think that will help him at Auburn."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Auburn's previous commitment was from 6-5, 275 offensive lineman Jarrod Britt from McEachern High in Powder Springs, Ga. In addition the Tigers have commitments from some of the top players in the South already. Before Britt> Auburn's previous commitment was from offensive lineman King Dunlap Jr. from Brentwood, Tenn., Academy. Auburn's other commitments are from: 6-3, 250, defensive end Tony McClain from Coffeyville, Kan., Communty College; 6-1, 170 kicker John Vaughn from Brentwood, Tenn., Academy; 5-11, 170 punter Kody Bliss from Brentwood, Tenn., Academy; 6-5, 230 tight end Cole Bennett from Dalton, Ga., High; 5-10, 165 wide receiver Bruce Edwards from Columbus, Miss., High; 6-4 1/2, 257 tailback Brandon Jacobs from Coffeyville, Kan., Community College; 6-4, 225 defensive end Viciente DeLoach from Columbus, Miss., High; 6-4, 225 defensive end Lloyd Blevins from Wenonah High, Birmingham; 6-2, 205 running back Carl Stewart from Maryville, Tenn., High; 6-1, 218 running back Jason Jude from Athens, Ala., High and 6-1, 289 defensive lineman Josh Thompson from Statesboro, Ga., High.

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