Hillsboro (OR) Liberty linebacker Kaelin Himphill is one of the more versatile athletes on the defensive side of the ball on the West Coast. At his high school, he serves as an edge rusher, a man coverage option or does it all from the inside linebacker position.
He even picked up track last spring as a way to improve his skills on the football field - he just so happened to make it to state as a javelin thrower and also competed in the 100, 200 and 4x1.
“I’ve definitely improved my instincts and speed,” Himphill said. “To get to the next level of football you have to have that elite speed, so last year I joined track. I got my 40 down, my shuttle, my verticle - everything… My strengths are definitely I can lay down the big hit or lay the wood. I’m fast, flexible, I have good hips and I have really good instincts. I can get to the ball, I have a nose for the ball.
“I usually play right in the middle, inside linebacker. Lately, we’ve been playing a lot of teams that pass so I’ve been playing either man-to-man coverage or blitzing off the edge.”
Himphill has landed seven offers, in a large part due to his hustle to get on some coaches’ radars. Hawaii was one school in particular that Himphill hoped to land an offer to and was sure to be in the right place at the right time to get noticed.
“Spring last year, I sent in a lot of film (to schools) and I was trying to contact all of Hawaii,” Himphill said. “Hawaii has been one of my dream schools to get an offer from. I found out that one of the coaches, Don Bailey, was going to a camp in Washington. I went to that camp so he can see me play and perform. He saw me, he liked me, he gave me his card. He kept keeping in contact with me and when he saw my film this year, he and his staff liked what they saw and they offered me.”
His connection to Hawaii is no coincidence. His family is actually from Hawaii and he visits the islands every few years.
“My whole family is from Hawaii,” Himphill said. “They’re from the big island and some are in Oahu too. My dad was born in Samoa, but he grew up in Hawaii his whole life. I moved from Hawaii to Oregon when I was three or four.”
Himphill likes Hawaii, but is also considering several other schools. Healso holds offers from Oregon State, San Diego State, Utah State , Army West Point, Portland State and Eastern Washington. He has also gained interest from Kansas, Oregon, Washington, Washington State and Wyoming.
“Every single offer is really just a blessing and I’m really appreciative for every school that believes in me,” Himphill said. “Every school that’s interested in me, I’m equally as interested in. I’m not close to a decision or anything I still have to take my visits. Once I take my visits I’ll be able to take a visit.”
He plans to visits as many of the schools that have shown interest in him as possible and said he would “definitely” take one of his officials to Hawaii given the opportunity.
“I’m going to show whatever school believes in me that they offered the right person,” Himphill added. “I’m going to go out there 100 percent each day.”
Himphill has taken an unofficial to Oregon State. The Beavers are a program that is certainly close to him as he lives within two hours from the program and attends games often.
“I grew up going to Oregon State games a lot,” Himphill said. “Last year I went to a couple, this year I’ve been to two. A lot of my friends are Oregon State fans and they really want me to go there. I know I’ll be able to make my decision better once I make my visits to other schools and see what school feels the best and has the best environment that I’ll feel comfortable in for the next four years.”