Arm strength, decision-making, field vision, frame, footwork/feet, intelligence, and pocket awareness.
Those are attributes that any quarterback in the nation could hope to have. When they all describe the strengths already possessed by a current high school junior, the expectations are off the charts. Those qualities describe Kevin Doyle, and with 14 scholarship offers already in-hand, including one from Michigan State, he’s viewed as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation for the 2018 recruiting class.
“I would just say it comes from film work and the coaching I’ve received, and just being confident in my abilities to make plays with my feet and my arm, and knowing what I see and trusting my eyes and making the plays,” Doyle told Spartan Nation of where his poise under center originates.
Doyle (6’4”, 200 pounds) is originally from Pennsylvania, and attended Malvern Prep, but recently transferred to St. John’s College High School in Washington, DC to focus more on football, and be around a different level of football talent.
“Just understanding that these guys [receivers at Malvern Prep] are not always football-focused or have football as a top priority,” he explained. “A lot of them at my old school…they were lacrosse players or baseball players and going to play in college for their respective sports – they’re great athletes, in general, and I was happy to have them on the team. But now that I go to St. John’s College High School in Washington, DC, we have a lot of Division 1 players for football, and they’re great football players, so I don’t think that’ll be an issue next year. I’m really looking forward to that.”
Kevin wasn’t slighting his teammates at Malvern Prep. He was simply stating that, at St. John’s College H.S., he’s surrounded by like-minded people who put football first, while at Malvern Prep, he played with great athletes that just happened to focus their attention on other sports.
Between the white lines, according to Scout National Recruiting Analyst, Brian Dohn, here is the overall analysis of Kevin Doyle:
“Doyle stands tall in the pocket and gets through his progressions. He uses his size well and throws the ball from the top. The ball spins well coming out of his hand and he is quick to set his feet, turn his hips and throw the ball effortlessly. He feels pressure well and moves around the pocket. He can throw the ball to the numbers and he shows nice touch down the field. Doyle needs to continue to get stronger, which will also increase his already strong arm. Doyle has the ability to make yards with his feet, but that is not the strength of his game.”
Not a bad rundown for a guy that still has a year of high school football left to play.
He’s viewed as a “Pro-Style Quarterback.” If you have to draw a comparison, just for visual sake, think of Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, as opposed to Cam Newton or Michael Vick. By NO means am I saying he’s comparable to any of those quarterbacks, but in terms of pocket presence, it’s a similar look – his first instinct is to stay in the pocket and throw, as opposed to looking to scramble right off the snap.
But with high praise comes high expectations, especially when he transferred to a school to be with a higher talent level of football players.
“There’s a set of expectations that I hold for myself, and I’m sure my coaches hold accountable for me, as well,” Doyle admitted. “Coming in mid-year – I came in last month to St. John’s – I’ve been hitting the ground running, working with my teammates, getting the playbook and working through it with most of the receivers.”
“We’re playing arguably the number one schedule in the country,” he continued. “We’re going out to California playing De La Salle, going down to IMG [Bradenton, FL], having St. John Bosco from California come to see us – so we’re playing some top-flight teams. We’ve gotta be able to compete with them. To be the best, you’ve gotta play with the best – that’s the way I think of it – and I think we’re doing that.”
Shifting the focus back to recruiting, let’s hone in on those 14 offers I mentioned earlier. Included in that group are five schools from the Big Ten (Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska), three from the ACC (Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Boston College), two from the SEC (Ole Miss and Kentucky) and one from the Big 12 (West Virginia). The remaining schools that have already made an offer to Doyle are Western Michigan, Temple and Toledo.
“I really enjoyed University of Pittsburgh. Obviously being from Pennsylvania and having my uncle go to University of Pittsburgh, it’s been in the family. They just hired a new coach, Coach Shawn Watson, who came from Indiana, who had previously offered me [a scholarship], so it’s not like I’m new to him. And the Head Coach, Coach [Pat] Narduzzi, who obviously was at Michigan State…he has a great relationship with me and really enjoys and likes my game, so I’ve talked to him a bunch and been to campus a few times,” Doyle said of the Panthers.
“And then a few other schools I have an interest in are Ole Miss, who I have an offer from, and then Purdue, who just recently offered me over the weekend. I really have a strong interest in them, as well,” he explained.
As for Michigan State, Kevin Doyle is no stranger to East Lansing.
“I was on campus last summer when I did a camp there, and I worked out for Coach [Mark] Dantonio and Coach [Dave] Warner and Coach [Brad] Salem,” he explained. “And I was also on campus when I went to the Michigan State vs. Wisconsin game this previous year. And then, also, I was just there on Thursday for a visit.”
“My thoughts are great…very high, positive thoughts on campus and the coaching staff,” Doyle said. “I love East Lansing, it’s a great place. Honestly, it’s [Michigan State] had great quarterback structure there, and so that’s definitely something I think about every time I’m there.”
With 13 other schools, as of this moment, to compete with to land Kevin, the Spartans are up against stiff competition. But to be spoken of so highly by a recruit in such high demand can only be viewed as a massive positive.
There’s still time before Kevin must make his final decision. But between now and then, a lot can happen – new schools could jump into the pool and make him an offer, or Kevin could decide he’s no longer interested in a particular program. However, Doyle has a plan in his mind.
“I’ve discussed with Coach Dantonio, Coach Narduzzi, and pretty much any school who’s offered me that’s asked me that question…I give them the same answer – I definitely want to see who comes out to see me during spring evaluations, which is when the schools can come out and watch me work out with my teammates and watch me throwing at them and lift,” Kevin said. “Just to see who has an interest and to see if any new schools pick their head up and come and see me or offer me a scholarship. And then I’d love to come out and see a few spring practices at certain schools, Michigan State being one of them…maybe go see a spring game or two, just to get some final thoughts.”
As for a timetable on when he might commit – “I’d love to make a decision sometime this summer, but definitely before the season,” he admitted.
Kevin Doyle isn’t the type of quarterback that comes around every day. He possesses the skill set, as a junior in high school, that most juniors in college would dream of. Is he “perfect” yet? No, he’s not, but “perfect” is a very subjective term. With the attributes he currently has in his arsenal, he’s high on the list of many big name colleges, Michigan State included. And if Kevin’s ambition is true, we may find out sooner, rather than later, where this highly touted QB from Pennsylvania will make his mark in college football.