2008 star OL puts Louisville on short list

Charlottesville (Va.) St. Anne's-Belfield School junior Kyle Long is one of the nation's top offensive line prospects in the Class of 2008. The 6'7, 290 pound Long, son of former NFL star Howie Long, reflects on his recent Big Ten visit and also discusses some of his other top schools.

To say that the recruiting process began early for Kyle Long would be an understament.

The 6-7 ½, 290-pound Long, son of NFL Hall of Famer and Fox broadcaster Howie Long, was in just the eighth grade when his father's alma mater, Division I-AA Villanova, offered him a scholarship.

That was one of the neat aspects Long, a junior offensive lineman at Charlottesville (Va.) St. Anne's-Belfield School, has seen in being the son of one of football's most recognizable faces.

"There are two sides to it," Kyle Long told Bucknuts.com. "Sometimes, you do get a lot of crap for it. People are always gunning for you. There is nothing than being a guy everybody is trying to beat. Then, when you're able to beat them, that's even better.

"As far as my dad, he is a normal guy. He sits off to the side at all of the games. He just wants to watch his boys play ball. He handles it really well. He wants to stay out of the recruiting process. He wants me to make my own decision."

Long joined a pair of highly coveted junior offensive linemen in attending Ohio State's game this past Saturday against Penn State. He was also at the game with Dublin (Ohio) Coffman's Mike Adams and Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater's Michael Brewster.

"I came up Saturday with my little brother and my mom," Long said. "We met up with Mike Adams and the Brewster family. We spent the whole day together and we were checking out everything, like all of the traditions. We walked together with the team to the stadium."

Long said OSU offensive coordinator Jim Bollman told him about the other linemen the Buckeyes were recruiting.

"I found out from Coach Bollman when I asked about some of the other 2008 guys," Long said. "He mentioned two or three other names – (Texas') J.B. Shugarts, Adams and Brewster. I got on the Internet and looked at their video. I decided I wanted to get to know some of these other guys who could be my teammates.

"I got on myspace.com and started talking to some of them and we really hit it off."

Long laughed when asked about his friendship with Adams and Brewster.

"We are always keeping each other up to date on how it's going," Long said. "I think I am the only one left without a loss. We're just having fun with it. It's fun to talk to guys who are also going through this. And it's three different areas of high school ball with Ohio, Virginia and Florida."

Long said he first became interested in Ohio State in 2000, when he came to Canton to attend his father's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

"We got to spend some time in Ohio and everybody there is an Ohio State fan," Long said. "I had no idea what the block O with the leaf was. I got to taste some of those buckeye candies as well. Then, I watched them beat Miami (Fla.) in the national championship. This year, they've beaten Texas and Penn State.

"Last year, they had that big game with Texas. They play Michigan every year with the BCS bowl on the line. They're just fun to watch and it makes you want to be a part of something like that."

Long, who has been timed at 4.9 seconds in the 40 and holds a 2.7 GPA, listed some of his top schools. They include OSU, Virginia, Notre Dame, USC, Georgia and Louisville. He has early offers from OSU, Virginia, Louisville, Boston College, North Carolina and Kansas State.

Long's brother, Chris, is a junior captain at Virginia, where he plays defensive end.

"Well, that is my hometown team," Long said. "It is a five-minute drive from my home to the stadium. We live pretty much on campus. I know I would spend a lot of time at my mom's house if I go there."

As for the other favorites besides Ohio State, he said:

* Notre Dame -- "You just look at the history and the prestige. You have to like the direction they are going with Charlie Weis. You know you would have great coaching."

* USC -- "They offensive linemen that they pump out there are really good. You look at the way they train and they get guys ready for the NFL. You can just see the number of guys they have put at the next level."

* Louisville -- "The Louisville offensive linemen are just very athletic. They really utilize the athleticism of their linemen and allow them to move around. I like that style of play."

* Georgia -- "They had some coaching changes with some coaches coming from Virginia Tech. I love the way Virginia Tech plays football, but I can't say Virginia Tech in my family. But Georgia has been recruiting me pretty hard."

Long has helped his high school team post an early 3-0 record.

"I feel I can move really well," he said. "I think I'm a good knee bender. I think the way I get to the next level (of the defense) is good. I can finish a block on the line of scrimmage and then go out and get a linebacker in space.

"I think I can pull really well for someone my size. I stay low when I run and that helps me to block the guys downfield, like the linebackers and into the secondary."

Long said he is no hurry to choose a college. He said it could come sometime during his senior year. And there is a wrinkle to his story.

"I want to see how the baseball draft goes," Long said. "I will make a decision then whether I want to play college football or professional baseball."

Long is a left-handed pitcher, who has topped out at 92 mph. He also batted .480 as a sophomore.

"That does make things more confusing," he said. "I have always been a baseball player. I played varsity football for the first time last year. I did not play as a freshman because I was rehabbing my knee from some growth problems. We'll just have to see how it goes."


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