2010 Intro: Kewitt Koonce

KINSTON, N.C. --- Kewitt Koonce followed up a solid sophomore season with a junior campaign that landed him on the Associated Press' All-State Team.

"Defensively, he makes things happen," Kinston head football coach Battle Holley said. "Whether we're playing zone, whether we're playing man, or whether we're playing man-free, he's a guy that can change what an offense does. He sees the whole field. He's got great hands."

Koonce, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound cornerback, had ten interceptions last season and was part of the reason Kinston High won a school-record ten games.

"One of my friends would always telling me ‘Kewi, get one for me,'" Koonce said. "It was motivating to me to make sure I get them [an interception]."

During his freshman season, Koonce emerged as a starter at cornerback as Kinston entered into the conference portion of its schedule.

"I didn't really do too much [my freshman season]," Koonce said. "I was still learning out there."

The following season with a year of experience, it all clicked for Koonce. He collected seven interceptions, returning one of those picks for a touchdown.

Kinston runs a 4-3 defense that utilizes cover-three, cover-two, and man-free zones, as well as man coverage. Koonce served as Kinston's shutdown cornerback always lining up against the opponents top receiver.

Koonce's defensive role called for him to match up against Erik Highsmith last September.

"My coaches were telling me that he is a D1 prospect and if I want to play D1, I need to shut him down," Koonce said. "I was excited to get someone who was going to be thrown to."

Kinston primarily employs a variation of the wing-t offense. But the Vikings will spread it out and line up in a four-wide, shotgun formation.

During the course of a game, Koonce saw some time at receiver as a split end and slot receiver.

"We just try to get him the ball out in space and let him make guys miss," Holley said.

"We try to use him sparingly on offense, because he's so important to us on defense. We run plays in with the split end, so he's probably [coming in] one every three [plays]. But if it's a definite throw situation, [he's in] 100-percent."

Additionally, Koonce has returned kicks and punts for Kinston since his freshman season. He has three career touchdown returns.

Several colleges have inquired about Koonce. East Carolina and NC State have expressed the most interest.

"Once schools see the improvement he has made [academically], more schools will become interested," Holley said. "He's working harder. I don't think grades were important to him during his freshman and sophomore years.

"As far as character, he's going to be a guy that when he gets into college, he's going to be successful and he's going to graduate, because he has that character, he has that it."

To boost his stock, Koonce plans to attend several camps this summer, with an emphasis on location. East Carolina, North Carolina, and NC State are locks for Koonce's attendance.

Koonce doesn't have a firm list of favorites, but numerous schools have struck his curiosity.

"I grew up liking NC State, but ECU has come in strong lately so they're up there," Koonce said. "I also like Miami, because Devin Hester, that's who I look up to. I like the ACC and West Virginia, too"

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