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Sam Webb: You’ve guys have been a lot of different places. Is distance from home going to factor into the equation at all?
Ken Kareem: “No it’s not going to factor. Personally, yeah I like him within driving distance. I would like him to be somewhere I can make sure I’m there even if it is for a practice a game, or just for a weekend trip. As a father I’ve got two hats, I want him to make his decision, get ready to put his own footprints in this world. If he tells me that he wants to go over to Penn State or he wants to go down to Alabama, I’m going to let him go and I’m going to make a way to get there. We’ve already talked about that. We really talked about that when those offers came in. When Stanford offered, Alabama offered, Oregon. Oregon offered early on in the process, so those conversations have been going on in our house for probably the last four or five months.”
Sam Webb: One of the things I was hearing from David Reese’s dad early on is that these kids are all friends and they’re trying to talk to one another, trying to see if they can do something together. Is that talk still going on?
Ken Kareem: “We never really had those conversations. We probably joked, played around even before Reese had the offer. Joking and playing around, I think Khalid is making his own path. If he ends up at one of those schools, I wouldn’t be mad. I wouldn’t be mad at all, but wherever he goes I wouldn’t be mad. If he ends up at Alabama I won’t be mad. From a dad’s perspective, I’m excited to see where his road is going to lead him. If he decides he wants to go play with guys that he’s been going through the recruitment with, so be it. If he decides he wants to make his own path, then so be it. Everybody has been kind of on the same board as far as our family. Our family has been supporting this from afar any way. It has been me and him going through this process together. From offer number one it was me and him together, and when he makes a decision it’ll be me and him. So everybody else has been supporting us from afar, including his mom. Just letting us do our thing. Distance won’t play a role, and friendship I don’t think plays that much of a role (either). Oddly enough everywhere we go, that camaraderie as recruits (and) as ballplayers… there’s that fraternity with guys anyways everywhere we go. You name it, Tennessee and those players are grabbing him, and saying, ‘hey come sit with us. Where are you thinking of going?’ So that fraternity can’t be broken. I think those guys will always try to stick together. For one, you’ve got players that already play at these schools that have been through what he’s going through. They are always trying to pull him. I remember we were at Michigan State the day he committed, one of the things that got him excited was Shilique Calhoun came and grabbed and tapped him on the shoulder and said come on, and took him to the student section and they’re over there rocking. Khalid is more of a reserved type of kid, but I just saw him get out of his shell and rock and rock. That being said, he’ll get new brothers wherever he goes and if he ends up (in-state) he’ll be playing with old friends. At this point right now today, I don’t really know where he is going. That’s being totally honest with you.”
Sam Webb: There is a new defense at Michigan. Where are they talking about playing Khalid? How are they talking about using him if he were to go there?
Ken Kareem: “I had a good conversation… l I live and work literally a mile from Harrison High School. I went up to Harrison, and when I got there Michigan was there. Michigan was there, Illinois was there and Oregon was there. Coaches from those respective schools, so you had Coach Phair from Illinois, Coach Durkin from Michigan. When Coach Durkin was there he was not really allowed to talk to me. I spoke to him, ‘hey how you doing coach?’ (He said), ‘I’m good… I can’t talk to you, just call me’… like that, real quick, just as you’re supposed to. You don’t want to break any rules or anything like that. In fact, I wasn’t trying to talk to him. We can bump into each other, that’s part of the rules but that’s about it. I called him when I got back into the car. One of the things that we talked about was that very question. You saw my son, you’ve watched him for however long you were there. My son said (Durkin) was there about 30 minute just watching him work out. When I got back to the car, he said ‘I love your son’s body, his size, his arms, his legs… he is exactly what we are looking for and he can play a number of positions for us.’ I said, ‘where are you really recruiting him at?” (Durkin said), ‘I’m recruiting him at defensive end, but he’s so versatile I can probably put him inside, I can probably stand him up.’ The same thing you were saying earlier is exactly what Coach Durkin said. He didn’t give me a specific position, but from a recruiting standpoint, they are definitely recruiting him as a defensive end.”
Sam Webb: Once you get those last few offers and the evaluation period is over, do you guys plan on getting out to more campus before he narrows things down or is it time to just sit back and reflect and compare the schools?
Ken Kareem: “First, we not waiting on the offers. You know how that goes, schools show interest, they offer, they get to know us and we’re welcoming it. So we’re not just, let’s shut it down. We’re not in shut it down mode. God has blessed us with enough offers, so we’re not waiting, but if they come, we’re welcoming them. The other side of it, after the evaluation period is over, we’ll probably go visit a couple more schools, not many, but a couple more schools before he makes a decision. We’ve been toying around with making a decision over the summer. We’ve toyed around with making a decision before the season sometime. It has been a situation where we wanted to wait and see what some of these schools do during the season. We’ve been almost, I don’t want to say confused, but just trying to decide what’s going to be the best way to do it. I want him to commit before the season, but at the same time I do want to see what some of these schools do during their opening games in their season. We want to see what Michigan is going to do. We want to see what Alabama is going to do. We want to see what those positions are going to do that he’s going to be playing in. We want to see what Michigan State is going to do without Narduzzi. We’re curious about those things. We want to see what Notre Dame is going to do with Gilmore as opposed to Elston running the D-line. We want to see a lot of things. We want to see what Coach Phair’s going to do with Illinois and those D-lineman. There are a number of schools. I can go on and on. South Carolina, we want to see what Coach Adams is going to do. You name it, we just want to see what some of those guys are going to do, so we’ve just been kind of between waiting to see and diving in and committing.”