Kevin Lopina- of Concord de la Salle High School is one of the latest recruits to commit to Kansas State. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound player is of the mold that Coach Snyder covets for the Wildcat offense- both agile with a 4.6 forty and a strong arm. Kevin's decision to commit to the Cats was imperative to the success of this recruiting class as barring a sudden change, Lopina will be the only QB taken in this class following the de-commit of Zac Robinson to Oklahoma State.
Prior to tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee his junior year, Kevin rushed for 233 yards on 35 carries and seven touchdowns while completing 47 of 85 (55%) passes for 661 yards for four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Lopina, who originally committed to Oregon State over the summer, plans to sign with Kansas State on National Signing Day.
"I kind of was just trying to think about where I would feel most comfortable at. When I came out of the visit (K-State), at that point it was really 50/50 as to where I wanted to go. I took the trip with my Dad and we just really wanted to look and see everything that K-State had to offer and get a feel fro everything there," Kevin told KStateFans.
Making a trip to Manhattan with his father for an official visit in January, Kevin was hosted by current wildcat John Hafferty.
"One thing is John tried to introduce me to pretty much everyone when I was down there so that I could get to meet all the players."
Apparently John did quite a job in hosting Kevin on his official visit. Enough so that Jeannette Lopina, Kevin's mother, who did not make the trip, commented on what an outstanding job John did in making Kevin feel comfortable on the trip. Not sure this played a role in his decision but it certainly did not hurt.
"You know I pretty much bonded with all the players. They were all pretty accepting of me and pretty cool you know. I do not think there was one person but we all got along and they were all pretty cool about everything," said Lopina about his future teammates.
In terms of playing time, the opportunity to earn a starting position is something that appeals to Lopina given the current quarterback depth for K-State. Coming from a well regarded High School in California that is known for producing well coached and polished D1 players; Kevin has already seen the level of commitment needed to be successful at the next level.
"The coaches were very straight up with me. They told me that if I come in and work hard and prove myself then there is an opportunity for me. Of course there is competition wherever you go but I am just going to work as hard as I can and I am used to that."
In terms of offenses, Kevin did mention that although he felt he could play in both the more wide open offense of Oregon State, he felt like his skill set was better suited for the Kansas State offense.
"Well I think both offenses are good first of all but the Kansas State offense would fit me just a little bit better. You know they (K-State) kind of showcase the Quarterback a little bit more and let him run and let him pass. You know at De La Salle we ran the option. It is not the same option but you still have that pass run possibility and that always helps," said Lopina about the K-State offense.
In terms of depth chart issues, Lopina illustrated the outstanding attitude and desire to compete that made him a starter at one of the more storied high school programs in the country.
"Not really, No, not at all. At De La Salle, I competed for 4 years for the job and I was competing with Matt Gutierrez's little brother so I am used to the competition. I am used to working hard and competition. At De La Salle, we are one of the top programs in the country and I have been working and competing since I was a freshman for playing time so I really do not look to heavily at who anyone has or what they have in front of me. I just ant to work hard and compete for the position," said the newest Wildcat commit.
Having made his decision to switch commitments to K-State, Kevin called the Head man for the Wildcats to announce his intentions.
"I called the head coach. I called Coach Snyder to let him know first. And then I called Coach Miller to let him know too and they were excited."
In terms of those deciding factors that will ultimately lead this talented West Coast QB to Manhattan, Kevin had this to say about the decision making process.
"Well, when I got back from my trip, it took me about a week a week and half to really compare the two schools. My parents were asking me where do I feel the most comfortable at, this and that and we were just trying to compare and I kind of had my mind set because of last weekend. Then on Tuesday I called all the coaches to let them know and then on Wednesday that is when all the press started calling," said Kevin chuckling.
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