The beat just keeps going on for Tyree Kinnel. The Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne star is playing his best football in his final season as a prep, and his team is again living up to its reputation as a perennial Buckeye State power.
“We’re 8-0, doing really good going into our last two regular season games before we hit the playoffs,” said Kinnel. “I’ve had two interceptions, one for a pick six. I’ve got a kickoff return, two punt returns. I’m not sure where I’m at on tackles, but I know I’m around thirty or forty.”
“I think I’ve improved, a lot of it is just experience at the high school level and my fourth year of playing varsity. The game has slowed down for me this year, so I can tell where I’ve improved a lot.”
“I’ve had a pretty good season. It’s going really well.”
His future team hasn’t fared as well so far, but with a victory over Penn State under the lights two weeks ago gave Michigan some semblance of positive momentum. Kinnel was on hand for the festivities and was wowed by the experience.
“It was great,” Kinnel said. “The energy was great. The fans were great. It was a great game. I’m glad we got the win. Overall, it was great visit.”
“It was different than the last time I was there at the BBQ, which was a really good thing to get to meet each other,” stated Kinnel. “This time it was more of a like (we couldn’t) wait to watch the game and see the fans. When you walk out the tunnel and all the fans call your names, it was pretty special. It was a great feeling. It was good.”
They even spent some time trying to lure the lone official visitor that weekend, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran DE/LB Keisean Lucier-South into the fold.
“He said he loved it,” said Kinnel. “I know Darrin and Alex stayed the night with him. The time I spent with him, he liked it and it was a great. It was a great visit for him.”
When not focused on recruiting Lucier-South and simply taking in the experience, the potential future Wolverines in attendance did take time out to discuss their respective commitment statuses. Kirkland is taking visits as part of his contingency plan in case a change is made to the coaching staff. Kinnel and Malzone haven’t gone the visit yet, but they are certainly keeping a keen eye on things.
“It’s kind of hard to speak for them, but in my opinion, we just deal with what’s going on,” said Kinnel. “A lot of us want him to keep his job. The Shane Morris situation, we didn’t really think it was Coach Hoke’s fault. He handled it the correct way. Last week’s win was really good to get him away from all the distractions.”
At this point Kinnel is doing his part not to add to Hoke distractions. A deluge of attention from other suitors hasn’t yet swayed him from the Maize & Blue.
“Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State, they’ve been picking up,.. (and so too has) Kentucky ever since Michigan started to struggle,” he said. “The big (catalyst) was Coach Hoke and Shane Morris playing, and that stuff. My recruiting has picked up. A lot of schools are coming after me now.”
“I give those other schools respect. Schools like Notre Dame, Michigan State, Ohio State… those are big time schools and I’ve got to give them respect that they’re looking at me. I tell them, I’m not sure what I’ll do if Hoke doesn’t keep his job, but as of now he has his job, and I’m still solid.”