John Branham

Bearcats offer in-state Branham brothers

Football and athletics in general, are a family affair for the Branham brothers. The Columbus (Ohio) Northland duo of John (class of 2019) and Kalil (class of 2020) are stars on the track and football field and now have their first scholarship offer to share, but almost certainly not the last.

Kalil Branham and John Branham Jr. do a lot together. The two brothers, John a rising junior and Kalil a rising sophomore at Northland High School in Columbus, grew up playing sports together. They work out together when they are not on the field or track. Last Friday, a day came they have thought about and although many expected would happen eventually, was nonetheless special as the Cincinnati Bearcats offered both of them a scholarship.

"Last year, I came to Cincinnati for a camp and I thought iIhad a great camp," John said. "We sat looking at the field and said it would be cool if we went to the same college. So when our coach called us and said you both have been offered, we thought of that moment. I thought of my granddad who passed and was also a World War II vet."

The Cincinnati offer was Kalil's first and John Jr.'s second (the first was from Ohio).

As talented as the brothers are, they did not expect to be offered by the same school this early, at least not for football, so the topic of playing football at the same college someday had not been discussed.

"We only talked about that one time," John Jr. said. "That is when we played lacrosse because we never thought it would happen. We played and lettered in baseball and track at the same time. If our school had lacrosse, we would have went back to that instead of baseball."

The brothers have also hit the road together and went to many camps last summer and unofficial to colleges during the fall and spring. Cincinnati is one of the schools they have become familiar with through those visits.

"We have been to Cincinnati about four times," John Jr. said. "The fans like their football. It is kind of a cosy stadium with a nice turf.  We came for homecoming and they had a ton of fireworks. I know in two years Cincinnati will look like a different team. Coach Fickel has brought in some heavy hitter coaches. One of my mentors, Percy King who played for coach Fickel, told me he brought in the same staff they had at Ohio State when he played for them. He said Cincinnati won't be the same."

Many schools have stopped by Northland during the spring evaluation period as well. Syracuse was in on Tuesday,  USCToledoIowa and Pittsburgh were in previously.

John Jr. will camp with some of those schools this summer.

"I'm going to camps at Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, then to Louisville and Illinois. USC's running backs coach (Deland McCullough) really wants me to come, but it's not in our budget."

In addition to those camps, John Jr. will be taking an advanced English Lit class this summer to prep for a potential early enrollment opportunity should he decide to do that when the time comes.

Kalil will focus on the Junior Olympics, where he has an opportunity to place highly in the 200 and 400-meter dash events. As a result, he is not certain which camps he will go to yet. He is not planning on enrolling early when he begins college as he wants to finish his baseball and track seasons when he is a senior.

Hence, the brothers may divert a little bit on their summer plans, but for now, they have one overlapping scholarship offer, and it would not be a surprise if that number grew over the next year.

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