One of the most talked about athletes during the early recruiting process for 2007 is quarterback/athlete G.J. Kinne (6-3, 207, 4.6) from Canton, Texas.
G.J. stands for 'Gary Joe III' and his father, who goes by Gary Joe, is now coaching linebackers at Baylor after a stint with Philadelphia in the NFL. Grandpa goes by Gary, by the way.
Kinne is a great athlete who has played quarterback, middle linebacker and free safety, and he is being recruited on both sides of the ball. Kinne, who can bench 280 pounds, has started in baseball and basketball before at Canton, but has decided to give up those sports to concentrate on football. Baseball is another sport that Kinne has collegiate or even pro talent in, earning all-district honors as a freshman and sophomore in the outfield and as a pitcher.
Most like Kinne as a quarterback, who threw for 3,859 yards and 41 touchdown passes and rushed for 847 and 15 touchdowns out of a five-wide, shot-gun, one-back and no-back offense last season.
Last weekend, Kinne, along with his mom (Jocelyne), stepdad (Kyle Carter), brother (McLain Carter) and girlfriend (Alexis) fought the icy conditions and made the trip to Norman for an unofficial visit.
"It was awesome," said Kinne. "It was an unofficial visit, yet it was great. I can't imagine what an official visit is going to be like. I have a routine planned out where I am going to go on my unofficial visits and Oklahoma has always been a school that I have been interested in. I have always loved Oklahoma and loved Bob Stoops and his coaching style. They are a wining team and I have always wanted to go up there, so I called Coach (Brent) Venables and we set it up.
"I was actually going to go the weekend before, but something popped up and I decided to go this weekend. I thought it was going to get ruined again because of the weather, but we toughed it out because we really wanted to see OU."
Kinne was recruited early and received an offer from Venables. Josh Heupel is recruiting him as well, and Kinne is already close to both.
"Coach Venables is a great guy and is very energetic, and I think he has a lot of character," said Kinne. "Coach Heupel was almost identical to my high school coach. My quarterback coach (Blake Yancey) was a quarterback at Tulsa and Sam Houston, and he was a lefthander as well. I have always had a lefthanded quarterback coach in high school. I have never had a righthanded coach work with me. He is down to earth and I know why he is respected so well."
The Sooners have offered Kinne as a quarterback/athlete, and athlete needs to be stressed here. Venables would love to have Kinne on defense, but Kinne would like to work with Coach (Josh) Heupel for a while just to see how it goes. There is no question that Kinne wants a shot at quarterback, but he knows linebacker is in his blood.
"I think my future is at quarterback. If something went wrong, then I will switch to linebacker," said Kinne. "My dad is a college football coach so I know how it works. They recruit you and tell you that you are going to be their quarterback and then a couple of weeks into camp you get moved to linebacker. That is one of my concerns because Oklahoma is one of the schools that are recruiting me to play defense, but we talked about it with Coach Stoops and he told me that I would definitely start off at quarterback.
"I was told that if by my junior year I wasn't playing at quarterback, then I could move to defense. My dad was a college linebacker. He was all-everything as a linebacker at Baylor before going on and playing for the Eagles for a little while. I know that I can play linebacker, but I think my future is at quarterback. I am confident I would get that shot to play quarterback at Oklahoma."
Kinne took an unofficial visit to Alabama during the school year, but he it was the same weekend that Tim Tebow (Florida) was there. And as you might guess, Mr. Tebow grabbed most of the attention. Kinne went to the Tennessee, LSU and Elite 11 football camps. Kinne plans to take unofficials to Texas this weekend, Texas A&M the next and he wants to also check out Miami and Tennessee unofficially.
"I think right now my top five is Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Baylor and Miami," said Kinne. "Texas and Miami have not offered yet, but they indicate they will."
So where do the Sooners stand among those five?
"It would be a dream come true if I played for Oklahoma," said Kinne. "You always have a couple of favorite schools and Oklahoma has definitely been one of them. If I went there I could definitely see myself winning a National Championship there. I know if I go to Oklahoma they would win a National Championship while I was there. It would be a great feeling to play for Coach Stoops. He is a family-oriented guy. Right now Baylor and Oklahoma are my top two schools."
Growing up with a coach is not always easy, especially when dad turns out to be not just a good coach, but a darn good player in his own right.
"It is tough sometimes, especially when he is your head coach at the start of two-a-days," said Kinne. "Starting my freshman year my first day of two-a-days was hard. You come to a small town where you don't know anybody and you start out as the star football player, it is kind of hard. You get ridicuield a little bit, but he is a great coach, great dad and a great person."
Dad coaches at Baylor and you know that has to put the Bears right in the middle of the recruiting chase. So will it be tough to turn down dad?
"It will, but I have to make the best decision for me," said Kinne. "Baylor is a great school and I am really looking at education and athletics, and hiring my dad did not hurt them at all. I am not going to lie to you, Baylor is not Oklahoma right now. They wouldn't be in the running right now if my dad wasn't there.
"It is a great tribute to me that they have offered me, and that dad works there. They are recruiting me as a quarterback and his final decision came down to Oklahoma and Baylor (coming out of high school). That is not why Oklahoma and Baylor are at the top of my choices right now, but it is a great coincidence."
It is still very early in the 2007 recruiting process, but you know Kinne must be talented to have been offered this early by Oklahoma, as well as many other programs. He also understands the recruiting game and what goes on in it but early on it appears the Sooners have a great shot.
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